Textiles and the Triplett Sisters

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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 pawnbroker offers “quilts, counterpains [sic], and blankets…by order of Charles Hepburn, who has declined the pawnbroking business. So, Hepburn's going out of business sale, means he likely had quilts for sale even earlier than 1837.

In Philadelphia, the quilts in the various pawnbroker ads are described as patchwork, chintz, coverlets, comfortables, and counterpanes. Marseilles quilts are usually listed separately which allows us to understand that they recognized and specified the different types of bedding. Philadelphia seemed to have more ads for quilts than the Baltimore area. Additionally, the quantities listed for sale were large groups of quilts. One ad in 1840 listed “40 fine chintz and patchwork quilts” for sale. Another ad in 1842 listed “50 quilts, coverlets, counterpanes, spreads.” However, I was astonished at the 1847 ad which offered for sale “100 fine chintz and patchwork quilts.” (Please I want to go to that sale!) Finally, an 1860 ad offered “50 new quilted patchwork quilts” for sale. This of course means someone was making these quilts, not just left from an estate. So next we’ll examine where to purchase your quilting supplies and even hire someone to do the quilting in Philadelphia.