Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

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Mississippi Oak Leaf quilt
  • Maria Rodgers Martin
    born: Tennessee, United States ; died: Missouri, United States
  • Mississippi Oak Leaf quilt, 1850s
  • Where object was made: United States
  • cotton, quilting
  • Object Height/Width: 86 x 82 in
  • Loan from Wayside Rest/J. Carol Prettyman
  • Not on display
  • EL2017.029
  • Loan: Not in the Spencer's collection
Label Text

Exhibition Label:
"Narratives of the Soul", 08-Jul-2017
Mississippi Oak Leaf is one of the earliest quilts on display in this exhibition, and was created before the Civil War by an enslaved woman in Missouri. According to historic documents and research by artist Marla Jackson, Maria Rodgers Martin admired the color turkey red—a deep red made from natural dyes. Martin learned to sew and quilt alongside the children of the Robert Brown family, the owners of a plantation in Missouri. In 1862, Martin was kidnapped by Union soldiers and brought against her will to Lawrence, Kansas. In Lawrence, her enslavement continued and Martin witnessed historical events during the Civil War, including Quantrill’s Raid.