Textiles and the Triplett Sisters

Professional Quilters in Philadelphia


When we were researching quilters who made BAQ’s we were searching for evidence of who might have made a living creating those quilts or at least supplemented their income. Evidence of women who advertised as quilters or sold quilt blocks was limited, and therefore researchers tended to explore dressmakers or milliners as possibilities. In Philadelphia, the first reference to a quilter in a Philadelphia Business Directory occurs in 1820. Beulah Wilson was listed as a quilter on Poplar Lane near Front. She made a living as a quilter for more than 10 years. In the 1830 edition of the Business Directory, she added mantua maker along with quilter. Also, Mary Hopper and Jas. Strain were listed in later directories as quilters only. Ads in the Philadelphia newspaper seeking quilters for employment appeared in August 1846 to...

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Join the Quilting Fun in 2024!


Happy New Year! I’m having a hard time believing it is almost 2024. However, when I think of the quilting fun to come this year…I’m ready. I hope you are ready to join us too! Don’t forget that our 2023 Triplett Sisters Block of the Month Album Quilt with Half-Blocks was complex enough to continue into the new year. So, that means there is still plenty of time to join us! Everyone works at their own pace so you won’t be behind. If that quilt isn’t your style, The Triplett Sisters BOM for 2024 is just getting started and is very different in size and style. Prussian Blue Star Center Medallion is 40” x 40” and has some piecing making it a change of pace from our previous quilt. There is an option to make it...

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Quilting Supplies in Philadelphia


When I hunted for quilting supplies in Baltimore Maryland, the earliest references in the newspaper ads were 1849 for quilting scissors or Album blocks. (Here is a link to the article.) However, in Philadelphia, we see ads for “quiltings” and “double back quiltings” as early as 1832-33. A hunt for a 19th century dictionary or reference book to define the phrase didn’t magically appear, even after digging. I did find an ad that noted it was quilted fabric with 2 backings for extra warmth. By 1840s Dry Goods stores advertised, quilts and counterpanes for sale, as well as quilting frames. Starting in January 1842, there were ads for wadding and quilting cotton. This cotton batting was available in black or white sometimes for as cheap as 6 cents or 35 cents for a dozen. One reference...

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Quilt Sales in Philadelphia


I promise we will continue to share our BAQs research, however it seems appropriate to show how some of these research topics related to Philadelphia and the inscribed applique quilts that were appearing in that region in the mid-nineteenth century. Philadelphia was one of the oldest cities in the nation and was in the forefront of pivotal events that shaped our country. Would it prove to be in the forefront of quilting as well? In the instance of businesses selling BAQs in Baltimore, we see pawnbrokers and auction houses advertising selling quilts as early as 1843. (Here is a link to the blog article about businesses selling BAQs) In Philadelphia, we see the sales by pawnbrokers and auction houses advertising quilts as early as 1837…more than 5 years earlier. In his ad, G. W. Smith, a...

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BAQ's: Borders


Although we are still gathering photos for our Pinterest page to help us learn more about the Baltimore Album Quilts, it has become apparent that there are quilts with matching borders. In fact, I’ve identified five groups with five or more quilts in the group. Several of the borders are very distinctive, complicated borders that would be difficult and require a lot of time to do one side, let alone four sides. Is this a sign of a professional quilter, a workshop, a church group of ladies working together or simply a pattern being replicated? Does it mean the professional quilter made the whole quilt, or just added borders to a friendship quilt made at a quilting frolic? The rose border, (which has sometimes been credited to Mary Evans because of the style of rose) matches...

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