On this day in 1954, Ellis Island shuts its doors. The immigration gateway that opened in 1892 processed more than 12 million people with a peak occurring from 1892-1924. The island was name for its owner in the 1770’s, Samuel Ellis.

This Navy Signature fundraising quilt was made by the Ladies Auxiliary, Fleet Reserve Association, Unit No. 5 in Norfolk, Virginia between 1941-42. It contains 35 blocks and over 400 embroidered names, including that of NYC Mayor Fiorella Laguardia. From the age of 25-28 Laguardia, whose father was Italian and whose mother was Jewish of Austrian heritage, worked as an interpreter for the U. S. Immigration Services at Ellis Island.

Detail from Quilt Index record.

Detail from Quilt Index record.

Karen Biedler Alexander of Lopez Island, Washington, owns the quilt and contributed her photos and research to the Quilt Index as part of the Signature Quilt Pilot Project.

View this quilt on The Quilt Index to find out! Read more about its history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view or click the “See full record” link to see a larger image and all the data entered about that quilt.


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Posted by Amy E. Milne
Executive Director, Quilt Alliance