Bailey Indigo Wholecloth Quilt

Connecticut; United States

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This whole-cloth quilt was created in Connecticut circa 1812 or 1813 by a young couple, Edmund Bailey (1787-1873) and Mary Bigelow (1795-1879), during their courtship.

Together they quilted the designs that Edmund had drawn on the dark blue top. The top, filling, and backing were made from wool that was grown, spun, and woven on the family farm where the courtship took place. The top consists of two large pieces of solid-blue wool and linen fabric, often called linsey-woolsey, and the backing is composed of four pieces of solid-brown wool homespun. The quilting designs include a central flower basket surrounded by scalloped feathers, tulips, daisies, and pineapples against a background of parallel diagonal lines. These motifs and the dark blue color of the top are frequently found in linsey-woolsey quilts.

Edmund and Mary Bailey, who moved from Connecticut to Racine, Wisconsin, had eight children. In 1881 their quilt was brought to Hastings, Michigan, by their granddaughter, Malvina More Lombard, who was the grandmother of the present owner, Marjorie Suzanne Smith of East Lansing, Michigan. The quilt was displayed at the Barry County Fair in 1930.

Marjorie Smith donated the quilt to the Michigan State University Museum in 1987.

Written by MacDowell, Marsha (1987)

MacDowell, Marsha and Fitzgerald, Ruth, ed. Michigan Quilts: 150 Years of a Textile Tradition, Michigan State University Museum, East Lansing, MI, 1987, page 19.

Michigan State University Museum


  • Michigan State University Museum


    Michigan Quilt Project

  • 1811

    Indigo wool whole...

    Bailey, Mary; Baile...

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