Melrose History Quilt : 1898 - 2018

What was Melrose like in 1898?

A quilt with the names of more than 150 Melrose residents helps us understand how things have changed in 120 years...and how things are always the same.

In December 2018, Melrose celebrated the homecoming of the Victorian era quilt inscribed with names of people who lived in Melrose, Massachusetts during the late 1890's. The exhibit 'Stitched Connections' took place at the Beebe Estate in Melrose, which showcased the heritage quilt along with a contemporary fiber arts exhibit. In conjunction with the Beebe Estates' exhibit, the Melrose Public Library displayed a complimentary quilt exhibit called 'Red, White & Words' featuring local quilt makers from the area.

The quilt block used in the quilt was known as 'Snowflake' in the 1800s, and is also now known as 'Old Italian Block'. It has solid red and white fabric on the front, and a red on white polka dot on the back. It is tied with white yarn.

The quilt is inscribed with many names. The names were all written by the same hand, which indicated that it was a fundraising project rather than a friendship or signature quilt. To raise money, people would pay to have their names written on the quilt, and then later on, the quilt would be raffled.

The great majority were residents of Melrose. The quilt had been made in 1898, sometime after the birth of Kenneth Thompson on March 2, 1897, and before J.O. Littlefield's death on May 1, 1898 and Clara Sievwright’s birth on May 3, 1898. Of the 64 families listed on the quilt, 58 lived in Melrose at the time.

Many thanks from the Melrose Public Library to Ann Wasserman for her research and restoration, and to Alanna Nelson for bringing this quilt back to Melrose.


  • Institution: Melrose Public Library


  • Massachusetts--Middlesex (county)--Melrose


Melrose History Signature Quilt : 1897-1898
Self portrait : Janet Dalis
The dotted line : Janet Dalis
Table runner : Betsy Friedberg
A season of change : Sally Hurley
Untitled : Sally Hurley
Flying geese : Diane McLaughlin
Flying geese : Diane McLaughlin
Sally's folly : Sally Nelson
Black, white & read all over : Nita Penfold
Peppermint twist : Penny J. Sander
Names, years, 5 generations : Ann Short
Heritage : Ann Wasserman
Colonial revival house : 38 East Foster Street
Colonial house : 236 East Foster Street
Victorian house : 118 Bellevue Avenue
Colonial house : 95 East Foster Street
Colonial house : 63 East Foster Street
Colonial house : 4 Vine Street
Colonial house : 15 Emerson Place
Colonial house : 16 Vine Street
Mansard house : 19 Lake Avenue
Victorian house : 21 Vine Street
Colonial house : 24 Vine Street
Victorian house : 35 Otis Street
Colonial house : 40 Fairmount Street
Colonial house : 66 Beech Avenue
Colonial house : 105 Beech Avenue
Colonial house : 173 Bellevue Avenue
Victorian house : 180 Bellevue Avenue
Mansard house : 462 Lebanon Street
Colonial house : 481 Lebanon Street
Victorian house : 498 Lebanon Street
Methodist Church Parsonage : 647 Main Street
Melrose First United Methodist Church : 645 Main Street
Document : Hannah Lothrop Mooers
Worth and Jones Families : 456 Porter Street
Worth family canoeing
Walter DeHaven Jones : studio portrait
Stella Worth Jones with two women at the shore
Stella Worth Jones feeding a raccoon
Dettmar Jones and family
Dettmar Jones : hockey
Joel, Mary and Ralph Leonard
Leonard family car
Ray and Florence Leonard
Ray and Ralph Leonard and Marie Leonard
Alice Grady : portraits
Pickles family : Elizabeth, Helen and John D.
Marion Selee Pickles : portrait
Reverend Joel Leonard at pulpit.
Ida Belle Sievwright : portrait
James Beatty Sievwright : portrait
Portrait of Ruth Sievwright and unknown boy
Ruth Sievwright and Dorothy, Ian and Annie sitting by car
Clara Sievwright Harbon : portrait
Melrose History Signature Quilt : 1897-1898

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