Indian Bay Presentation Album 

Indian Bay Presentation Album 

Artist: Made by women of Indian Bay 
Type: Appliquéd, pieced, and embroidered silk quilt
Year: 1876
Size/Dimensions: 84 x 82 in. 
Origin: Gift of Miss Etheline Mayo
Accession Number: 76.4

In the decade following the Civil War, communities all over the nation rose to participate in the nation’s 100th anniversary celebration. Americans celebrated in a number of ways, but the biggest spectacle was the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, which more than a hundred thousand attended from all over the country and world.

In anticipation of 1876, over three dozen women from the small river port of Indian Bay, Arkansas, gathered to make a Presentation Album quilt for local planter and businessman E. G. Adams. We can only speculate as to the ladies’ original intention—they may have made their quilt to be presented at the exposition in Philadelphia, or they may have made the quilt using silk purchased there. Either way, their work caught the American spirit of that anniversary year. Thousands of displays at the “Great Exhibit” commemorated a century of American industry, of “manufacturers and products of the soil and mine.”

State-of-the-art technologies in farming, milling, logging, and other major industries were on full display for attendees from around the world to see. But it was also a celebration of one hundred years of American arts. The women from Indian Bay, Arkansas, captured that “industrious and creative” American sentiment, in their hand-stitched community quilt. Each uniquely pieced or embroidered silk block carried a style that each woman brought over from her birthplace; Tennessee, Vermont, and Missouri are among the makers’ native states.

The quilt is a cornucopia of flower baskets and lilies, log cabins, hearts, moon and stars, and intricately embroidered flora, as eclectic as the Americans that populated the nation. As if to immortalize the sentiment of the nation that year, one of the makers embroidered onto her block the following verse, “100 years since JONATHON left the old man and sat up for himself,” an allusion to Jonathon Trimble, America’s first patriot during Revolutionary times.

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Indian Bay Presentation Album