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Maryland Album Quilt Top

Dated 1851

Made by Eliza and Sarah Waring and other family members

104.5 in. W x 120 in. L; 17 in. square blocks

Gift of Betty Anne Swanson and Katherine Arnold Farinholt Averyt in memory of Clemena Shipley Arnold Swanson

Conservation funded by Linda B. Guest and Maryland Daughters


Arnold, Anne Arundel County, Maryland

Arnold, Anne Arundel County,


Four Waring sisters’ names dominate the quilt top, and each sister had a distinct style. Margaret Waring’s dark green designs suggest the plants brought back from Mexico after the Mexican-American War. The Mexican (or Mexican-American) War, 1846-1848, loomed large in the public imagination, and the exotic flora (cacti, poinsettias) brought back from Mexico inspired quiltmakers’ designs.


The significance of the inscribed date 1851 is unknown. Sarah Rebecca Waring (pronounced Warren) married Thomas Arnold (for whom the town of Arnold is named) in 1853. After Sarah’s death, Thomas married her sister Eliza. Thomas’s name is on two squares. Lydia Pumphrey, who signed several blocks, lived near both the Waring and Arnold families.


Printed and solid cottons, cotton cording, wool embroidery, ink and cross-stitch embroidery, cotton stuffing

Yellow accents, and a good deal of wool embroidery, give variety to the red and green palette so common to quilts of this period.