navigation bar Houghton Mifflin Social Studies School and Family
Primary Sources logo Primary Sources

The Quilting Party—Art

Art can be a painting, a sculpture, or a statue. There are many other types of art, too. Works of art show us people's ideas. They can also show us the way people lived long ago. Look at the painting below. It was painted sometime between 1854 and 1875. That is around 150 years ago. What are the people in the painting doing?

Primary Source

There is a painting. The painting shows 18 people. Some are young, some are old. They are gathered together to talk, eat, and make a quilt.

The Quilting Party, artist unidentified, American, 1854–1875. Source: Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Williamsburg, Virginia.


People don't know who painted The Quilting Party. Today it tells us a story about what life was like when it was painted. A quilt is a blanket made of squares of fabric that are sewn together. Long ago, a group of people from a community would have a party to sew all the squares on a quilt. A quilting party was a fun way to get this work done.