Marylou McDonald

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Quilt History

Old Otterbein Church Quilt


One of the Baltimore Album Quilts in the collection of Winterthur Museum is referred to as the Old Otterbein Church Quilt dated 1854. It is called this because some of the makers of the blocks were members of that church. It is thought that the quilt could have been made as a farewell gift for Reverend John Russell, the minister who served the church from 1851 to 1854. The Old Otterbein Church, located on the corner of Sharp and Conway Streets in Baltimore, is the oldest church still standing in the city. The present church structure was erected in 1785 and the 1811 parsonage stands nearby. Philip William Otterbein is buried in the churchyard and a monument was placed over his grave in 1913. The interior of the church has been remodeled at various times, but the Sanctuary remains the oldest in continuous use in Baltimore and the extant 18th century church in the city. This church was the last church to give their services in German - up until the beginning of World War I. The block shown is identical to a block in the Reverend Wilson Quilt, however, the signers differ. The block shown below is signed in red cross stitch by Mary A. Wilt. She was 13 in 1854 and living with Henry Witterkind, a German baker, his wife and three children.

Another block in the quilt is signed by E. M. Numsen. There have been two BAQs which have been referred to as Numsen Quilts, one of which is shown in the 2007 BAQ Calendar (Feb. 12). The two-dimensional flower block (C1) in the Numsen Quilt is very similar to the one made by E. M. Numsen in the Old Otterbein Church Quilt (E1). The Numsen name is related to the Old Otterbein Church as William Numsen, a local preacher in 1827, organized the first German Sunday School in Baltimore and became its first superintendent. Both the Messersmith and Weidner family names also appear on the quilt and had an association with the church.

The quilt was bequeathed to Winterthur Museum in 1969 by Henry Frances DuPont. The patterns for this quilt may be purchased through the Winterthur Museum (1-800-767-0500).

 


Old Otterbein Church Quilt

Winterthur Museum


Old Otterbein Basket Block

Winterthur Museum


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