Q8998 1893 Chicago Exposition Quilt, with Provenance
c.1893
79 x 80 (200.7 x 203.2 cm)
Found in PA
$3,900

An amazing find, this quilt's focus is the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, also known as The World's Columbian Exposition, which was designed to commemorate the landing of Columbus in America. Executed using lengths of printed fabric made specifically for the Exposition for use as bunting, handkerchiefs, and other memorabilia.

The front of the quilt is wholecloth; three vertical lengths of printed fabric hand pieced together to create the quilt's top. The 5¼ inch burgundy striped border is also hand pieced and folds to the back forming a 1/2 inch hand stitched binding. The quilt has a puffy batting that is smooth and without any shifting, lumps or bumps. The quilt is top tied using, of all things, thin hemp-like ties that add to the uniqueness and overall design of the quilt. The backing is a great black and red cotton calico-see detail images. Stitched to the back of the quilt is a hand written note on cotton stating the maker's and recipient's names along with the date of the gift: December 25, 1893.

There is an interesting side note regarding the history of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair itself. The Devil in the White City, by Erik Larsen, is a nonfiction novel published in 2003 that spans the years surrounding the building of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. One plot line centers on Daniel Burnham, the architect who built the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. The other plot line focuses on character H.H. Holmes, the serial killer who exploited the fair to find his victims. Dr. Holmes built a hotel for exposition guests which he named The World's Fair Hotel, and then preyed on his hotel guests, mostly young women. He was convicted of 27 murders, but they expect he had up to 200 victims most of whom were disposed of in the kiln in the basement of the hotel. Good grief.

As mentioned, an interesting side note to the 1893 Exposition and its history! Our lovely quilt remains unmarred by any connection to the more gruesome aspects of a marvelous and historical exposition. We can assume our talented quilt maker, whose name will go to the buyer upon sale, chose other accommodations during her visit to the 1893 Chicago World's Fair.

This unique quilt has been professionally hand washed by Betsey, is in excellent condition, and can be shipped to you on approval for private viewing. Please ask Betsey for more details.