Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

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Star of Bethlehem quilt
  • Maria Rodgers Martin
    born: Tennessee, United States ; died: Missouri, United States
  • Star of Bethlehem quilt, 1842–1850
  • Where object was made: United States
  • cotton, quilting
  • Object Height/Width: 86 x 83 in approximate
  • Loan from Wayside Rest/J. Carol Prettyman
  • Not on display
  • EL2017.030
  • Loan: Not in the Spencer's collection
Label Text

Exhibition Label:
"Narratives of the Soul", 08-Jul-2017
The maker of this quilt, Maria Rodgers Martin, lived as an enslaved person on a plantation in Harrisonville, Missouri, from 1842 to 1862. During that time, she became a highly skilled quilt-maker. This quilt pattern, called Feathered Star, takes a great deal of skill to produce because of the tiny triangular fabric pieces. Like Mississippi Oak Leaf, another quilt by Martin on display, this quilt design derives from pattern-sharing traditions passed down among generations of quilters. A later example of this pattern in the Museum’s collection made by Carrie A. Hall, a white seamstress in Leavenworth, Kansas, dates to the 1930s.