1903 Signature Quilt

On May 9, 2018 Kathleen O’Dea and Colleen O’Dea Potter gave the Fitchburg Historical Society permission to display their signature quilt in the Fitchburg Room of the Fitchburg library (see description below). The available display only allows about a third of the quilt to be visible at any one time so it has been periodically refolded to show other signatures. To allow more people easy access to this historic quilt, which has signatures of many early Fitchburg residents, we have made a digital copy of the quilt.

Click on the link to the quilt image below to view a low-resolution pdf document that provides a general layout of the quilt. Clicking on any part of the quilt image will bring up that part of the quilt in a new higher resolution image. Use the browser back arrow to return to the quilt image or FHS website.  Because hundreds of photographs with different exposures and quilt area have been stitched together as well as variations in how the quilt was stretched, a few names in the photographs may be slightly displaced from where they are in the quilt. A small number of names may be too small to read. In these cases contact the Fitchburg Historical Society for higher resolution images of these names.

Click to view quilt image

Oct. 17, 1903, Wisconsin State Journal, page 5
A philanthropic venture which is worthy of the highest success is the bazaar to be given by the St. Elizabeth’s Aid society, in Guild hall, on the afternoon and evening of November 15. The proceeds will go towards helping the poor of the city. Fancy articles will be sold and supper may also be had for 25 cents, the admission being free. Contributions to the bazaar are being received from all quarters, both in the city and from out of town. Among the articles offered for sale will be a very unique quilt, planned and sewed by Miss Bessie Purcell. The ground of the quilt is white, and has in the center a picture of St. Raphael’s church, worked out in red. The rest of the quilt is made up of squares, each representing one dollar, and having embroidered on them names. The cost of having one’s name put on is ten cents. Thus a considerable amount of money has already been made on it, and more is expected before it will be put on sale at the bazaar, among many other articles, both useful and ornamental. St. Elizabeth’s Aid is one of the most flourishing societies in the city. It’s members are composed of women from St. Raphael’s, St. Patrick’s and the Holy Redeemer congregations, though originally the members were only from St. Raphael’s. Meetings are held at the homes of the members the first Sunday of every month. Bi—weekly meetings are also held during the winter months. The objects of the society are purely philanthropic, and all classes and denominations of people are aided. However, discretion is used, and other organizations are consulted when some act of charity is to be done. The amount of good the society has done is unbounded. The president is Mrs. Martha McCrossen, but during her absence in St. Paul, Mrs. Matt Lavin has been chosen president pro tem. The other officers are Mrs. Joseph Blied, vice president: Mrs. Henry Casserly, secretary, and Mrs. Arthur Gill, treasurer.