Possibly Irena Robinson
Lafayette County, Missouri; 1851-1860
Gift of Charlotte Goodman Hansen 2014.0015

This rare wool quilt descended in the family of its maker, Irena Robinson. The central eagle, worked in satin stitch with crewel yarns, is surrounded by symbols representing the Patriotic Order of the Odd Fellows and unusual genre Berlin needlework pictures. Irena’s husband Anthony, a prosperous farmer, enslaved eleven Black men, women, and children at the time she stitched her quilt. Most likely created at the height of the Compromise of 1850—which attempted to resolve the question of slavery in the new territories added to the United States following the Mexican-American War—Irena’s quilt represents a moment when the nation was in flux.