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Museum Acquires 19th Century Lexington Quilt

Thanks to the generous donation of Hazel W. Moore our museum is now in possession of another local example of a quilt in the wonderful “Crown of Thorns” pattern. The quilt was made by Moore’s great grandmother, Laura Jane Price Snelgrove, who was born in 1849. Our best guess would be that the quilt was made sometime in the last quarter of the 19th century based on fabric choices and the birth date of its maker.

It was donated to our museum in memory of Beverly A. Moore. The quilt had descended through the family for generations which is not surprising considering its beauty. In fact, quilt lovers have long admired quilts made in this pattern which also bears the more widely known name of “New York Beauty.” They are amongst the showiest and most prized quilts in collections across the country. These textiles were fancy quilts often made to cover a guest’s bed or for special occasions and they were a great way for a quilter to show off her skills. There happen to be even more names for this pattern including “Rocky Mountain” and even “President Polk in the White House,” though “New York Beauty” seems to be the one that has stuck. Many would be surprised to learn that the quilt pattern did not originate in New York. In fact, the earliest documented mid-19th century quilts in this pattern have been found to have originated in the South. So how then did it become widely known in the quilting world as “New York Beauty?” Scholars can trace the name change back to the 1930s when pattern instructions which were included with batting material manufactured by the Stearns and Foster Company renamed the popular pattern to something they thought would sell better. The newly donated quilt will be right at home in our museum and will accompany a rich collection of Lexington made quilts of that same time period. It will be on display in the Fox House during the museum’s annual Spring Open House this year. The museum is always on the lookout for additions to our wonderful collection so if you or anyone you know is thinking about donating, please don’t hesitate to call.

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