Saratoga County Historical Society

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I was thrilled to be invited to join the Capital Region Quilt Study Group last Saturday at the Saratoga Co. Historical Society in Ballston Spa, NY to see the quilt collection. The curator is hoping to mount a quilt exhibit and was anxious to get the groups input. Like so many small museums, for years the Historical Society accepted donations without provenance. Very little is known about the origin of most of the quilts, but they are most likely from Saratoga County.

I knew that these New York quilts would be unlike those from Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia which I've been looking at for years. Even though geographically NY is grouped with the Mid-Atlantic states, stylistically it is more closely related to New England. Here's a question. Has anyone seen a fugitive cheddar/orange? There was a Lone Star quilt with stars in the corners made in rather drab colors (blue gray, brown, green) with a center and tips of orange (seen clearly in the seams) faded to beige. None of the group had seen this before; we all thought that orange was very stable. A wool challis Log Cabin (circa 1880) with a scalloped edge is masterfully executed.

An almost pristine Feathered Star (indigo on muslin) was set block to block so that the impact of the stars is diminished. There are a variety of indigo prints, including some with orange. The information that came with the quilt says it was made for an 1851 wedding. We were all intrigued by a very worn Album Block (circa 1850) made for a Saratoga man. In addition to the names there are wonderful drawings of railroad cars, a canon, a book, etc. One of the blocks with an intricate drawing of a rr scene contains the inscription Mitchell v. Orr which we thought might possibly be a legal citation rather than a name. I haven't found anything relevant by Googling. Any ideas? A second Album Block made of a single (difficult to date brown fabric) is a quilting sampler.

A Rose of Sharon made by Sarah Sherwood when she was 15--16 is as fresh and lovely as the day it was made. A more unusual applique is what appears to be an original desigh of a spray of flowers with birds sprouting from a hill. The birds and leaves are in reverse applique; the other elements are in traditional applique. The fine stems are double fold bias.

I'm looking forward to a return visit to see the rest of the collection.

--Cinda in Central NY delighted to have met the CRQSG

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