The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution was founded in 1890 to honor their ancestors, both men and women, who had supported the cause of liberty during the Revolutionary War. Along with paintings, ceramics, and silver, the DAR collected quilts, coverlets, samplers, clothing, and other domestic items long before most museums recognized their value. Over a century later, the DAR Museum continues to collect, preserve, and research these objects. The DAR Museum's quilt collection includes over 300 quilts, quilt tops, and embroidered counterpanes from the mid-1700s to the early 20th century. Over half the collection dates to before 1850, and at least two-thirds have a maker's name or some family history, making the collection an extraordinary resource for early American quilt history.
Anna Catherine Hummel Markey Garnhart of Frederick, Maryland, was the daughter of German immigrants and lived from 1773 to 1860. She is known to have made a quilt for each of her eleven grandchildren. At least nine of her quilts survive, most still owned by descendants and three in museums. Garnhart used reverse appliqué almost exclusively, and enjoyed combining large floral baskets with her signature green leafy vine borders. She also used variations on a sawtooth edge, a motif often seen in early Maryland and Virginia quilts. Just two of her quilts also use the eagle of the Seal of the United States, including the DAR's eagle medallion quilt that is the basis of this collection. Family history records that Garnhart copied the eagle design from her lusterware jug; this jug has been preserved, and is still owned by descendants. The Eagle Medallion quilt was made for Garnhart's granddaughter Anna Markey, born in 1824, who later stated that it was she who quilted it when she was about to be married in 1846.
Windham Fabrics is proud to work with the DAR museum in Washington DC. We look forward to presenting much more of their illustrious collection so that today's quilter has the opportunity to work with the same fabrics as those who used them during the birth of America.