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New Jersey ? Sunburst

This is the story, or rather the seeds of a story, of two quilts.

This sunburst quilt is owned by the Meadowlands Museum, Rutherford, Bergen County, New Jersey. The 92" square quilt was probably made between 1830 and 1850. Each round of color is made up of three prints of varying shades separated by white rows. There are two rounds each of red, blue, yellow, and green. The second round of green, at the outside corners,is only a few diamonds.




I recently learned of another quilt with a very similar layout made in New Jersey

The photo was taken by Barbara Hildebrand at the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) at a 2012 exhibit. The museum owns this 94" x 101" quilt. Although the colors are more subdued than the Meadowlands quilt, the arrangement follows the "rule" of three related color prints separated by rows of white. The colors in this case being brown, pink, green, blue, and yellow.


Photo from the Royal Ontario Museum.


The sunburst is bordered at the top and bottom with the popular "pheasant and palm" chintz.

Photo from the Royal Ontario Museum.


The accompanying detail in the exhibit attributes the quilt to Catherine Gulick, who married Peter H. Staats in 1834. The Staats and the Gulicks were, and had been for many generations, from Somerset County, New Jersey. The families were descendants of the 17th century Dutch and Huguenot immigrants to New Amsterdam.


The family that donated the Meadowlands Museum quilt has ancestors who were immigrants during the nineteenth century from England and Germany, ancestors from New England, and ancestors who had for generations lived in Morris County, New Jersey, adjoining Somerset County. The Morris County families were descendants of early 18th century German immigrants. Without any confirming family information about the maker, it is impossible to make an attribution, but identifying a similar quilt made 40 miles away, tips the scale a bit in favor of its being a New Jersey quilt.


Peggy W. Norris

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