Collections › MESDA Collection › Album Quilt

Album Quilt

Palmer, Catherine Couturier Marion
Place Made:
Cherry Grove Planation Berkeley County South Carolina
Date Made:
cotton, ink
HOA: 106; WOA: 102
Accession Number:
MAKER: Catherine Couturier Marion Palmer (1807-1895) was one of eight daughters born to Francis Marion (1777-1833) and Harriet Kirk (1782-1856). Her father, Francis Marion, was born Francis Dwight. In 1799 he changed his name, at the request of his great-uncle Francis Marion, known as the Swamp Fox. Catherine lived at Mt. Pleasant Plantation in St. John’s Berkeley, South Carolina where she was married to John Gendron Palmer (1807-1840) in 1830. Catherine and John Palmer lived at neighboring plantation Cherry Grove (1807-1840).

Catherine Palmer is responsible for not only this album quilt, but two other quilts in the MESDA Collection. Made of chintz appliqué, this album quilt was signed by more than twenty different women. These women consist of friends and family of Catherine and her daughter, Harriet Marion Palmer (1830-1896), who was the recipient of this quilt.

DESCRIPTION: This chintz appliqué quilt consists of 25 squares separated by chintz sashing. In each square is an appliquéd design including botanicals, birds, vases, and other motifs cut from various chintz fabrics. Signatures written by the maker of the individual square is written in ink, and many include the date. There is very thin batting between the layers. Cross-hatch quilting is throughout the body of the quilt, however it is not quilted through the chintz designs. The wide border which measures 9 ½-inches, is quilted in an all-over diagonal pattern.

RELATED OBJECTS: In the MESDA Collection are three other quilts that descended in the Palmer and Marion families. Made by Catherine Palmer’s mother, Harriet Kirk Marion, is a crib quilt (acc. 2534.1), and a mosaic quilt (acc. 2534.4). Harriet Kirk Marion also contributed a square to this album quilt (acc.2534.3). Catherine Palmer was responsible for another quilt in the MESDA Collection, a palampore design (acc.2534.2) and is identified as a co-maker with her mother Harriet on the mosaic quilt (acc. 2534.4).

An album quilt made by members of the Palmer and Marion families is in the collection of the International Quilt Study Center at the University of Nebraska (2006.003.0005). Made by Mary Videau Marion Yeadon, the sister of Catherine Couturier Marion Palmer, and given to her niece, who she adopted after the death of her mother. It includes the date 1848 on some of the squares.

Another related chintz album quilt was sold at Christie’s (Lot 319) in New York in January of 1992. There are nine signatures that matched the MESDA quilt including Harriet Marion, Catherine Palmer, and Mary Videau Yeadon. The current location of this quilt is unknown.

HISTORY: The provenance of this quilt is solidly documented. The Album quilt was made by Catherine Couturier Marion Palmer (1807-1895) and given to her daughter Harriet Marion Palmer Dwight (1830-1896). Harriet Dwight had no children so it was then passed to her niece, Kate Palmer Logan (1870-1944). The quilt descended from Kate to her daughter Frances Logan Parker and her sisters before it came to the MESDA collection in 1972.

Credit Line:
MESDA Purchase Fund