Hallowell’s Memory Quilt. Some years back Nancy Bryant of Mechanic Falls donated a memory quilt to the local library. Quilts of this kind were often sewn by members of a church congregation or community group and given as a keepsake to a member who was moving from the area. Nancy said that the quilt was given to her by her mother-in-law Elsie Bryant and was thought to come from a church in Mechanic Falls. It was often used as a couch covering in the Bryant household.

Memory Quilt Inscription Wide shot of Hallowell Memory quilt on display at the Hubbard Free Library.
Example of the names inscribed on the edges of the Hallowell Memory Quilt

Nancy Petersons, the librarian, accepted the quilt. Her husband is president of the local historical society, and the gift would be greatly appreciated. When she unfolded the quilt she realized, much to her surprise, that the quilt wasn’t from Mechanic Falls after all! It came from Hallowell!

The back of the quilt bore the inscription, “Presented to Mrs. W. H. Holmes by the ladies of the M.E. Church Hallowell, Maine March 30, 1899.” The names of 391 members of the congregation are neatly written in longhand around the edges of the red and white quilt. The M.E. or Methodist Episcopal Church was renamed the Cox Memorial Church in 1928.

The quilt, which measures 79” x 81”, is made up of red and white squares so neatly stitched together that it looks like it was sewn by machine. Laurie LeBar, Chief Curator of History and Decorative Arts at the Maine State Museum, examined the quilt and provided guidance for its safe storage as part of the Hubbard Free Library collection.

Nancy Petersons with the Hallowell Memory Quilt.