Baltimore Album quilts are a unique, regional variation of floral appliqué that developed between 1845 and 1854 in Baltimore, Maryland. Composed of densely layered, printed cotton fabrics, the blocks feature flowers, bouquets, vases, vines, and wreaths, as well as local monuments. Inked inscriptions—signatures, dates, and locations—were often added to individual blocks. Known to their makers as “albums,” these quilts were often created as gifts presented to men and women at meaningful stages of life, and shared at social events like church gatherings or public fairs.
Many of the elaborate designs found in Baltimore Albums appear in multiple quilts, and are made from the same roller-printed cotton fabrics. Such shared elements imply that a particular maker or group may have been responsible for the design and distribution of motifs. Contemporary research supports the attribution of certain designs to Mary [Maria] Heidenroder Simon, a Bavarian immigrant who arrived in Baltimore in 1844. Simon was a member of a Methodist church group, and may have made and sold pre-cut and basted blocks, quilt tops, or quilts as part of a fundraiser to benefit the Methodist church.