Signature Quilts 3: Westward Expansion

While signature quilts were often made in celebration of weddings and milestone birthdays and anniversaries, these quilts mark a different kind of momentous occasion, a woman saying good-bye to her family, friends and community forever to accompany her husband west into the American frontier. Indeed, the signature quilt (as well as the autograph book, a similar concept) was born in this time of westward expansion, as thousands of women left their homes in the nineteenth century as they followed their husbands in search of work, land or gold. All of these quilts date to the 1850s, a decade that saw some of the greatest westward expansion of the century.

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