Best display of seeds &c and all the attractions usual to such occasions, and in one corner there hung a quilt-which 'captured my eye' and after much difficulty I found the owner, a negro woman, who lives in the country on a little farm whereon she and husband make a respectable living . Powers, at the urging of her husband because of hard times, offered to sell the quilt, but Miss Smith's "financial affairs were at a low ebb and I could not purchase." Later Jennie sent word that she would buy the quilt if Harriet still wanted to dispose of it.Harriet "arrived one afternoon in front of my door in an ox-cart with the precious burden in her lap encased in a clean flour sack, which was still further enveloped in a crocus sack.
She notes that most of the quilts in the Folk Art collection were created for and used on special occasions, or they would not have lasted.In her narrative about the quilt, artist Jennie revealed why she was so taken with it: "Her style is bold and rather on the impressionists order while there is a naievete of expression that is delicious." In recent times, historians have compared Harriet's work to textiles of Dahomey, West Africa.April 14, 1861 - "Civil War has finally been declared.She offered it for ten dollars--but--I only had five to give." Harriet went out to consult her husband and reported that he said she had better take the five dollars. Powers regretfully turned over her precious creation, but only after explaining each of the eleven panels of the design, which Jennie Smith recorded.Briefly, the subjects are Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, a continuance of Paradise with Eve and a son, Satan amidst the seven stars, Cain killing his brother Abel, Cain goes into the land of Nod to get a wife, Jacob's dream, the baptism of Christ, the crucifixion, Judas Iscariot and the thirty pieces of silver, the Last Supper, and the Holy Family."Examining a quilt is like reading a historical document," says Stacy C.