Previously featured in our inaugural exhibition, Quilts in Common: Around the Globe & Across the Centuries, it is one of the most well-known and popular in our collection of more than 4,000 quilts.
Created by Lucinda Ward Honstain in 1867 in Brooklyn, NY, The Reconciliation Quilt is considered a premiere example of American Folk Art. The album-style quilt illustrates one quiltmaker's awareness of the lengths necessary for a once-divided nation to reunite in the aftermath of the U.S. Civil War.
"In forty blocks, the maker depicted domestic, political, and social life. Blocks such as the one of a black man announcing "Master, I am free" and one depicting the reconciliation of Jefferson Davis and his daughter document one woman's perceptions of important national news."
- World Quilts, "The American Story"
The quiltmaker also depicts elements of her everyday life in Brooklyn by including a picture of her red brick home. And a young woman riding a black horse, which may represent her daughter, Emma:
Last year, The Reconciliation Quilt was on display at Homestead National Monument as part of its year-long celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Homestead Act. In this video, one of our curators and one of Homestead's historians discuss why the quilt is an important part of American history.
Which block on the quilt most grabs your attention? What do you want to know about it?