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The Berger-Miller Family Album Quilt Top
Baltimore, Maryland. c. 1850
Pieced, stuffed, and embroidered cotton and wool, 92 x 80 inches
Although its maker has not been identified, this quilt descended in the family of William Joseph Miller and his wife Evelyn Franes Berger, and recent geneological research by Ronda McAllen has traced Miller’s ancestors to mid-19th century Baltimore. In its use of specific design elements and fabrics, this top belongs to a small group of related Baltimore-style album quilts known to have been made by Jewish women. This unquilted top shares nine blocks in common with two examples in museum collections, one made by Mrs. Josiah Goodman of Baltimore, a member of the city’s Hebrew congregation, in the collection of the Maryland Historical Society, and a second made by Katie Friedman Reiter and her mother Liebe Gross Friedman of McKeesport, Pennsylvania, in the collection of the American Folk Art Museum, All three quilts include a similar elephant block, worked in wool, and a portrait of Mexican War hero Captain Samuel Hamilton Walker on horseback. Although this top is unquilted and smaller than the other two finished quilts, it is the most complex of the three, with more than twice the number of blocks and a more elaborate outer vine and flower border.