Announcing MESDA's 2016 Textile Symposium entitled "Interwoven Georgia: Three Centuries of Textile Traditions" to be held January 14 - 16, 2016 in Athens, GA. Although scheduled to coincide with the sampler exhibition at the Georgia Museum of Art (Georgia's Girlhood Embroidery: "Crowned with Glory and Immortality"), the symposium focus is broader and celebrates 250 years of Georgia's rich textile heritage - from 18th-century silk production to girlhood embroideries, bed furnishings, the contributions of African Americans to textile production, and chenille fashions of the 20th century. The program includes numerous well-known speakers such as Dale Couch, Jenny Garwood, Laurel Horton, Madelyn Shaw, Kathleen Staples, and Lynn Tinley, and will conclude with a catalog signing by Kathleen Staples. Preregistration is required and the cost is $345.
Announcing a sampler exhibition at the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens, GA (Oct. 31, 2015 – Feb. 28, 2016) entitled Georgia’s Girlhood Embroidery: “Crowned with Glory and Immortality”. The exhibition was co-curated by well-known sampler scholar Kathleen Staples and Dale Couch, the museum’s Curator of Decorative Arts. On display are about two-dozen samplers stitched in the state of Georgia or by Georgian schoolgirls from the mid-18th century to about 1860. In addition to samplers from the museum’s own collection, the exhibition showcases samplers on loan from public and private collections, including the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA), the Midway Museum, the Charleston Museum, the Telfair Museums, St. Vincent’s Academy in Savannah, and the President James K. Polk Home and Museum. Each of the samplers is well researched and has a story to tell. For example, the sampler worked by Martha “Patsey” Bonner McKenzie (1775–1851) was used as evidence by its maker to claim a Revolutionary War widow’s pension. The sampler stitched by Eliza S. Blunt showcases an embroidered architectural structure that may illustrate the Eatonton Academy of Putnam County, built around 1807. Accompanying this announcement are images and information for five of the exhibition samplers, representing girls from diverse geographic areas and socio-economic environments. A fully illustrated exhibition catalog published by the museum is on sale.
A new book on Westtown School samplers will be available in January 2016. Threads of Useful Learning: Westtown School Samplers (2015) was written by Westtown School archivist Mary Uhl Brooks. It is an engaging look at the needlework produced by students attending the Quaker Westtown Boarding School from its founding in 1799 until 1843, when sewing was removed from the curriculum. Included are examples of the various types of samplers produced at the school: darning, marking, extract, and medallion, as well as embroidered celestial and terrestrial silk globes. The school’s needlework is discussed in the context of the useful education and spiritual formation envisioned by Quakers for their children. Fully illustrated with pieces from Westtown School’s own extensive textile collection as well as objects from museums and private collections, this book expands our understanding of schoolgirl needlework, as well as the education, religious beliefs, and lives of the teachers and girls who created it. A list of all currently-known Westtown-made samplers and globes is included, along with illustrations of some thirty samplers not made at Westtown but residing in the school’s sampler collection. The book is 346 pages in length and copies can be pre-ordered from the Westtown School store (follow link at top of this posting).
A sampler exhibition (Oct. 14, 2015 – Jan. 17, 2016) at the Museo de Historia Mexicana in Monterrey, Mexico entitled Dechados de virtudes: Mujeres Que Cosen Historias (Samplers of Virtue: Women who Sew Stories). On display are more than 72 Mexican samplers, called “dechados” in Mexico, from the collections of the Franz Mayer Museum and the College of the Vizcaínas Museum (both in Mexico City), the Textile Museum of Oaxaca, the Museum of Mexican History in Monterrey, as well as private collections. Curated by Mayela Alejandra Flores Enriquez, the exhibition is divided into four themes: (a) Rule and Example; (b) Work in Needle and Thread, (c) The Indian Sampler, and (d) The Sampler in Modern Mexico. The oldest sampler in the exhibition dates from 1784 and is similar in composition and format to 18th century Spanish samplers with multiple bands of repeated geometric designs. Later 19th century samplers reveal signs of an emerging Mexican identity (such as the iconic eagle with snake standing on a cactus) and the Mexican preference for plant and animal motifs. The exhibition showcases samplers stitched in various girls’ schools and convents, as well as samplers stitched by members of Mexico’s indigenous populations. The exhibition was opened with an inaugural conference, a video of which is posted at the museum’s website under the description of “Regla y Ejemplo” (Rule and Example).
Reminder that the Whitework Exhibition hosted by the Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court Palace in Surrey, England (May to December 2015) will be ending soon. Co-curated by Dr Clare Rose (RSN Degree Contextual Studies Lecturer) and Dr Susan Kay-Williams (RSN Chief Executive) the exhibition demonstrates how whitework was once part of everyday life. On display are delicate antique collars, sleeves and cuffs; christening robes and baby caps, fine underwear as well as table linen and handkerchiefs, all illustrating how women and young girls spent hours creating intricate works of art for very practical purposes. The exhibition’s whitework embroideries showcase diverse techniques including carrickmacross lace, hollie point, cutwork, pulled thread, hardanger and Ayrshire.
Article in Antiques and the Arts online weekly (date) about an 18th century sampler that was stolen, found, and returned to its original owner. In 1799 nine-year old Matilda Cone stitched a small alphabet sampler in East Haddam, CT and included a simple request – “When this you see remember me”. In 2011, while the sampler was on display at the Welles Shipman Ward House (owned by the Glastonbury Historical Society), it was stolen. An article about its disappearance was posted online, with a photograph and request for information (http://www.antiquesandthearts.com/1799-sampler-stolen-from-glastonbury-conn/). The current article describes how the sampler was recently found at the Brimfield Antique Street Fair in MA by antiques dealer Jeff Pudlinski of Litchfield, CT. While researching the sampler he learned that it had been stolen and set about both finding the owner and returning the sampler to its rightful home. Adding mystery to the sampler’s story is the recorded disappearance of Matilda herself, shortly after completing her childhood needlework.
Announcing a six week exhibition entitled "A Heritage of Needle Art" at the Allen County Public Library's Krull Gallery in Fort Wayne, IN (Aug. 21 - Oct. 02, 2015). On display are more than 50 examples of needle art from the permanent collection of the Embroiderers' Guild of America in Louisville, KY, representing a wide variety of embroidery techniques and needle traditions from around the world. Included are two historic samplers from the EGA's collection - Elizabeth Smith's 1831 silk on linen sampler and an 1817 Spanish sampler by 7 year old Maria de las Angustias. Advertized highlight of the exhibition is the 6' by 6' military insignia designed and embroidered by Master Sergeant Edward Kuhn (1872-1948) using 800 skeins of silk over a period of 14 years.
Article posted by David Benson in the ShoreNewsToday (August 26, 2015) about an exhibition of more than 25 schoolgirl samplers at the Museum of Cape May County, New Jersey. The exhibition is entitled "Or I Shall Be Forgotten," a line taken from the 1826 sampler by Roxana Corson of Cape May. It opened August 25 and will continue through mid-December, 2015. According to Donna Matalucci, the museum's director, the Museum of Cape May County has one of the largest sampler collections in the state and the exhibition is designed to celebrate the opening the museum's new gallery. The exhibition focuses on illuminating the lives of the samplers makers and their families. Gallery tours are available Tuesday through Friday at 11 am, 12:30 pm, and 2:00 pm. The article includes a photograph of a family record sampler by Sarah Dickinson, stitched in 1804.
Exhibition and national tour of folk art from the American Folk Art Museum in New York City. The exhibition opens Oct. 10, 2015 at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, Texas and runs to Jan. 3, 2016. This is the fourth stop on its national tour. Other upcoming locations include the New Orleans Museum of Art (Feb. 26 - May 22, 2016); the Saint Louis Art Museum (June 19 - Sept. 11, 2016) and the Tampa Museum of Art (Oct. 1, 2016 - Jan 8. 2017). Included among the diverse objects on display are three examples of girlhood needlework including: the 1788 sampler by Rebecca Carter of Providence, RI; a c. 1800 needlework picture of Liberty by Lucina Hudson of South Hadley, MA; and an anonymous c. 1805-1810 needlework picture of Newburyport, MA. Also included in the exhibition are pieces of schoolgirl art done in watercolor, pencil, and ink. These include three painted mourning pictures and the spectacular c. 1818-1822 painting entitled Aurora. Other needlework on display include stunning quilt tops, a pictorial table rug, and a CT River Valley bed rug (1790-1810). Images and information for all objects in the exhibition are available at the American Folk Art Museum's exhibition announcement on its website.
Call for papers by the Textile Society of America for its 2016 Biennial Symposium. The symposium is being organized by the Savannah College of Art and Design and will take place in Savannah, Georgia, October 19-23, 2016. Organizers invite TSA members to submit proposals that explore the ways in which textiles shape, and are shaped by historical, geographical, technological and economic aspects of colonialization and/or globalization. Submissions are due October 1, 2015 and can be of different types: individual paper, organized session (3 or 4 papers on a central theme), roundtable, film/media, and poster. The TSA is also collaborating with local venues to host a variety of related exhibitions and proposals will also be accepted for group exhibitions focused on the symposium theme. All proposals are to be submitted online by October 1, 2016.
Article online at Seacoastonline.com, Portsmouth, NH by Barbara Rimkunas, curator of the Exeter Historical Society in NH. The author describes five samplers from the Exeter Historical Society collection that are on display in the Saco Museum exhibition entitled "Industry and Virtue Joined: Schoolgirl Needlework of Northern New England" (5/9/15 - 10/4/15). The author provides descriptions and background information for all five samplers. The oldest of the five Exeter samplers was stitched in 1793 by Fanny Hallett. Three samplers name the town of Exeter and at least two of these were stitched by girls who attended the Exeter Female Academy (established 1826). Both include the opening lines from a popular poem by Scottish poet Jane Simpson (1811-1866) "Go when the morning shineth". A photo of the 1842 sampler by Martha Jane Elliot is included with the article.
"Object of the Day" blog post by Jennifer Johnson for the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum on May 2, 2015. Describes and Illustrates the 1830 sampler from the Cooper Hewitt collection stitched by Lucy Drury Stickney (1818-1902) in Charlestown, NC. A naturalistic garland of roses secured by bows of blue ribbon at its upper corners surrounds alphabets, a verse, and a stately house in a park-like setting with trees next to a body of water. The author presents biographical details about Lucy's life, including info about her parents, husband, and children. Lucy and her husband eventually settled in Malden, MA where she was very active in social and charitable organizations and was one of the original promoters and founders of the city's Old People's Home.
Reminder: Sampler exhibition at the Saco Museum in Saco, ME (May 9 - October 4, 2015). On display are 170 pieces of girlhood needlework from Maine and New Hampshire, with 136 samplers in the museum’s large gallery, 28 marking samplers in the hallway, and another half dozen samplers and silk embroideries in the hall and a smaller gallery. Of the 136 in the large gallery, 41 are from Maine and the rest are from New Hampshire, including 21 samplers stitched in Portsmouth, 8 from the Canterbury area, and 6 from the Pinkerton Academy in Londonderry. Notable Maine needlework in the exhibition includes two almost identical samplers completed by twins Flavilla and Mary Jane Barker in Portland in 1818, reunited for the first time in nearly 190 years. A catalog of the exhibition will be available to purchase in mid to late summer. A series of Thursday evening talks related to the exhibition are also underway. On July 15, Henry Callan, antiques dealer, gave a presentation entitled “American Samplers: Little Masterpieces 1620-1840”. On August 13, curator Tara Raiselis gave a gallery talk focusing on samplers from the coast of New Hampshire, and on September 17, Leslie Rounds will give a gallery talk on some of the exhibition’s Maine samplers. The final talk will be given by Sheryl DeJong on Oct. 1, and is titled “28 New England Samplers and Silk Embroideries in the Smithsonian Institution's Textile Collection.” She will showcase samplers from each of the New England states; describe the genealogical research conducted to learn more about the sampler making girls and their families; and provide a personal history of Anzolette Hussey, Portsmouth NH sampler maker. The Saco Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday.
Article by Scott Bernard in the Dacula Patch about a textile exhibition (June 15 – August 30, 2015) at the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center (EHC) in Buford, GA entitled “Continuous Threads: 200 Years of Georgia Textiles.” The EHC, in partnership with the Southeast Fiber Arts Alliance (SEFAA), has selected more than 70 historic artifacts, as well as contemporary fiber art, designed to highlight the significance of textiles and fiber to Georgia’s past and present. Included in the exhibition are two historic samplers. One is a mourning sampler made about 1815 by Catherine Benson, believed to be the first woman to receive a college degree in the United States. The other is known as the “Annie Bulloch Marking Sampler” made in 1843. Annie was 11 years old when she made the sampler near Roswell, GA. The sampler is rare because very few samplers from the non-coastal areas of Georgia have survived. Annie’s sister Mittie married Theodore Roosevelt and their son was Theodore Roosevelt Jr., 26th president of the United States. The “Continuous Threads” exhibition is made possible by a number of artists, historic organizations, and educational institutions, including Berry College, Brenau University, Bulloch Hall, Crafts in America, the Root House Museum, the Roswell Historic Society, and StoryCorps. The Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center is open Monday through Saturday, 9am – 4 pm.
Blog post (Aug. 11, 2015) by Tricia Nguyen at “The Embroiderer’s Story” about the last in a series of nine Sampler ID Days in Delaware sponsored by the Delaware Sampler Discovery Group, the Sampler Archive Project, the Sampler Consortium, and the Delaware Valley Historic Sampler Guild. This last Sampler ID Day is scheduled for Sept. 19 at the Lewes Historical Society in Lewes DE, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. The public is encouraged to bring their antique samplers to be documented and photographed, and to learn more about their historic needlework. Reservations are encouraged if bringing more than two objects. The Sampler ID Days are part of a statewide initiative to locate, document, and photograph all samplers in the state of Delaware. Five Sampler ID Days were held in the summer of 2013 (at the Delaware Historical Society, the Biggs Museum of American Art, and the Lewes Historical Society) and two were held in the fall of 2014 (at the Biggs Museum and Historic Odessa). In the Spring of 2014 the Sampler Consortium collaborated with the Biggs Museum in Dover, DE to host a six week sampler exhibition and three-day sampler symposium entitled “Wrought with Careful Hand: Ties of Kinship on Delaware Samplers”. The 94-page color catalog from that exhibition is available for purchase online at both the Biggs Museum and the Sampler Consortium. In June 2015 the Delaware Sampler Discovery Group sponsored another Sampler ID Day at the Biggs Museum and the same group is sponsoring this last Sampler ID Day in Lewes. Delaware samplers identified through this statewide initiative will be discussed in a comprehensive book on Delaware’s schoolgirl embroideries under development by Dr. Gloria Seaman Allen and her research team, with an anticipated publication date of 2017.
Article by Carol Vaughn in Delmarva Now (August 11, 2015) about a Family Record sampler nominated by Eastern Shore of Virginia Historical Society for the Virginia Association of Museums’ annual Top 10 Endangered Artifacts campaign. The campaign was launched in 2011 as a way to bring awareness to the need to conserve historic artifacts in the state. The nominated sampler was stitched by Elizabeth Griffith in 1844 at the age 14. Known as the Griffith Family Register, the needlework was found in a trunk in Northampton County in the 1980s and was donated to the Eastern Shore of Virginia Historical Society in 2013. Stephanie Templin, Collections Manager, nominated the sampler because of its significance to the historical society and its need for conservation. The public can help chose the Top 10 Artifacts by casting votes in an online poll at: www.vatop10artifacts.org . Voting is open through midnight August 23, 2015. The Virginia Association of Museums will announce the Top 10 honorees on September 15.
Press release in the Roanoke Times (August 13, 2015) about the sampler entered into the Virginia Association of Museums Top 10 Endangered Artifacts Program by the Botetourt County Historical Society and Museum in Fincastle, VA. The sampler was stitched by Nancy Snider in 1830 and she named her location as “Botetcourt County.” The sampler’s is in serious need of conservation. It is stapled and glued to the frame backing and the ground fabric shows signs of discoloration and possible mildew. Genealogical research suggests the sampler maker was the Nancy Jane Snider who married William P. Brown in Botetourt County in 1848. To help chose the Top 10 Artifacts by casting votes in an online poll go to: www.vatop10artifacts.org . Voting is open through midnight August 23, 2015. The Virginia Association of Museums will announce the Top 10 honorees on September 15.
Announcement of a new book (2015) by Dr. Judith Tyner entitled “Stitching the World: Embroidered Maps and Women’s Geographical Education,” a scholarly study of needlework maps and silk embroidered globes. In this book, Tyner explores the popularity of needlework maps and globes to chart a broader discussion of women's geographic education. Hundreds of British maps were made and although American examples are more rare, they form a significant collection of artifacts. Stitched from the late eighteenth century until about 1840, needlework maps and globes coincided with major changes in educational theories and practices for girls and young women. “Stitching the World” is an interdisciplinary work drawing on cartography, needlework, and material culture to provide a critical analysis of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century geographic thought and cartography and its impact on geographic education and map drawing in female schools and academies. A full Table of Contents for this 164-page hardback book can be seen on the website. The book can be ordered online from Ashgate Publishing for $94.46 plus S&H. Dr. Judith Tyner is Professor Emerita of Geography at California State University, Long Beach.
Announcing the 2015 Dublin Seminar at Historic Deerfield, in Deerfield, MA, to be held June 19 – 21, 2015. The lecture program begins at 7:00 p.m. on Friday June 19 and will continue until approximately 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 21. This year’s overarching theme is Schooldays in New England, 1650-1900. The program features nineteen presentations, grouped into six categories: Educational theory & purpose, Special purpose schools, The teaching experience, Architecture, The New England schoolhouse, and Curriculum. Of particular interest to those studying female education are presentation entitled: (a) The Home-schooling of a New England Slave: Lucy Terry Prince, Literacy, and the Letter Manual by Ann A. Huse; (b) “Sent here to improve our immortal minds”: Pen Pictures of School and Schooling by Betsy Garrett Widmer; (c) Intellect and Abolition: Reconstructing the Curriculum at Prudence Crandall’s Academy for Young Ladies and Little Misses of Color by Jennifer Rycenga; (d) From Samplers to Social Justice: Quaker Female Education in Rhode Island, 1750–1850 by Lynne Anderson; and (e) Rendering Rhetoric: Constructing Congregational Girlhood in the Classroom by Jane Shattuck Mayer. On the afternoon of June 19 there is an optional tour of early New England schoolhouses including the Deerfield Academy (dedicated in 1799), the Wapping Schoolhouse (built in 1839); the North Center School (built in 1810 in Whately, MA); and the Hockanum Schoolhouse (built in 1840 in Hadley, MA). Program details and registration forms available online. Full registration is $160, with an additional $40 for the school field trip.
Article in the Arizona State University news about ASU professor of English Maureen Daly Goggin. She has been awarded a 2015-2016 Fulbright U.S. Scholar grant for teaching and research on historical needlework practices in Austria and the Czech Republic. Dr. Goggin, a member of the Sampler Archive Project’s advisory board, specializes in the study of rhetoric and material culture, and has a rich scholarly history of researching and writing about the rhetoric of needlework samplers. She will spend the spring of 2016 as a visiting professor in cultural studies at Karl Franzens University of Graz, Austria. While there she will conduct her main research on the Graz Volkskundemuseum’s (Folklore Museum) collection of needlework samplers. She will also undertake an in-depth analysis of a specific piece of needlework housed in Sts. Cyril and Methodius Cathedral in Prague, Czech Republic. The specimen was stitched by a woman named Františka Albrechtová while a prisoner of war in the Terezin Small Fortress, part of the Theresienstadt concentration camp. Both research endeavors are part of a larger project she has tentatively titled “Women and the Material Culture of Writing with Pens of Steel and Inks of Thread.”