On this day in 1814, Francis Scott Key wrote a poem that was later set to music and, in 1931, became America’s national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner. Key’s inspiration was a lone U.S. flag flying over Fort Henry after bombardment by the British during the War of 1812: “And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.”

Mary Tayloe Lloyd Key, wife of Frances Scott Key, hand pieced, hand appliqued and hand embellished this 109” x 109” counterpane titled “Mariner’s Compass and Chips and Whetstones” between 1835-1850. The quilt is now in the permanent collection of the DAR Museum.  The quilt was included in an exhibit titled “Quilts from a Young Country” at the 2008 International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas.

View this quilt on The Quilt Index to read more about its history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view.


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Posted by Amy E. Milne
Executive Director, Quilt Alliance