Traditionally speaking, "album quilts" were parting quilts made for a minister's wife when the minister accepted another position in a different church, then moved. The ladies of the church would come together and make one block each, from her own material (stash!) and sign with her name. The block usually contained a Bible verse, as well.
Often, men's names can be found on antique album quilts, so not all of the blocks in a quilt were signed by the makers themselves. Men who wished to be remembered by the clergyman and his wife would persuade a female relative to do the work.
Today, album quilts are sometimes called "signature quilts". Although a part of our quilting heritage for a long time, album quilts are now not specifically designated as a parting quilt for a minister's wife, but are seen as a going away gift for someone or to simply leave as a legacy.
There are many variations of the traditional album blocks, but all hold one element in common: A place for a signature. As we step into the future with technology, however, album blocks take on new meaning. Scanned handprints, photo blocks, special graphics... all add to the enrichment of an album block.
One can only imagine the many smiles that an album quilt brought to a minister's wife, long after she had left her husband's flock. These quilts were held in high esteem and she considered herself blessed to have received one!
This article in its entirety is found on Quilting Passion.