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Sampler Consortium

Sampler Consortium's Public Library

Mar 23, 15

Announcing the third annual Penn Dry Goods antique show, sale, and lecture series on May 15 & 16, 2015 at the Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center in Pennsburg, PA. Historic textiles and other dry goods will be for sale from more than 20 vendors. Sampler related lectures include: (a) "Good, Better, Best: An Introduction to Sampler Connoisseurship" by Amy Finkel; (b) Westtwon Samplers by Mary Brooks, (c) "Threads of Time: Needlework and Quilts of Aging Women, 1820-1860" by Aimee Newell; and (d) "A Morass of Berlin Wool Work" by Candace Perry. There are also two textile exhibits, one on patchwork pillowcases and one on textiles with text. Advanced registration available online.

Mar 23, 15

The Sampler Consortium announces of a free, full-day workshop on March 28, 9:00 am - 3:30 pm at the University of Rhode Island. Conducted by Dr. Lynne Anderson, Director of the Sampler Archive Project, the workshop will provide participants with the knowledge and skills necessary to document the physical characteristics of schoolgirl samplers for future inclusion in the Sampler Archive - an online database of American samplers. The March 28 workshop is the first event sponsored by the Rhode Island Sampler Initiative, a collaborative effort of (a) the Sampler Archive Project, (b) the 1200 member Sampler Consortium, and (c) the University of Rhode Island's Department of Textiles, Merchandising, and Design, as well as museums and historical societies across the state. Directed by Dr. Blaire Gagnon at the University of Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Sampler Initiative will endeavor to locate, photograph, and document all American samplers and related pictorial embroideries in RI's public and private collections. Although the workshop is free, advanced registration is required as space is limited. To register, email risampler@outlook.com. Lunch will be provided.

Mar 23, 15

Lecture March 26, 2015 at 1:00 pm by Dan and Marty Campanelli entitled "So Education Forms the Mind" at the Morven Museum in Princeton, NJ. The presentation will feature beautiful examples of schoolgirl embroidery and explore the vast range of schooling available to “Jersey girls”—from independent instructresses in rural areas to prestigious academies in larger towns. In addition to well-known schools and instructors, the Campanellis will reveal newly discovered NJ preceptresses. An accompanying book listing NJ schools and teachers can be purchased at the museum. Reservations required as space is limited. This is the last lecture in a series that has accompanied the groundbreaking exhibition at the Morven Museum entitled "Hail Specimen of Female Art! New Jersey Schoolgirl Needlework, 1726-1860" (October 3, 2014 - March 29, 2015).

Mar 12, 15

Announcing two sampler lectures at the Morven Museum in Princeton, New Jersey in March 2015. The first is by Amy Finkel on March 19 entitled "Friend or Faux: Common Pitfalls and Misrepresentations in the World of Antique Samplers". She will discuss and provide examples of ways in which samplers are commonly misrepresented in the marketplace, including examples of alterations such as recoloring and restitching, She will provide advice on differentiating English and American samplers, an issue that impacts both rarity and value. On March 26 Dan and Marty Campanelli will explore the vast range of schooling available to "Jersey girls"-from independent instructresses in rural areas to prestigious academies in larger towns in a talk entitled So Education Forms the Mind. They will highlight well-known New Jersey needlework teachers and reveal some newly discovered preceptresses. The talk is a companion to the couple's recently released source book detailing female educators and schools in New Jersey from the 1600s to 1860. Both lectures require advanced registration.

Mar 12, 15

Announcing an exhibition of 19th century schoolgirl art (March 1 - June 21, 2015) at the Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum in Pelham Bay Park, Bronx, New York. Guest curated by William and Sally Gemmill, the exhibition is a rare opportunity to view superb girlhood needlework and watercolors from an important private collection. There are twelve pieces in the exhibition, including a mourning embroidery by Abigail Walker, part of Bartow-Pell's permanent collection. Alss on display are family registers, historical scenes, allegories, maps, heraldry, and grisaille compositions based on 19th century engravings. The Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum is a 19th-century Greek Revival historic house owned by the city of New York. William and Sally Gemmill are collectors and independent researchers of American schoolgirl art during the first quarter of the 19th century, focusing primarily on the academies of New England and the mid-Atlantic. They are the authors of a recently published article in Antiques and Fine Arts magazine on their discovery of the Charlestown Academy as the source of several previously unidentified silk embroideries.

Mar 12, 15

The Textile Society of America is sponsoring an all day event on April 18, 2015 at the Winterthur Museum. The day will begin with a curator-led tour of the exhibition “The Diligent Needle: Instrument of Profit, Pleasure, and Ornament”. The exhibition traces the evolution of the role of embroidery in women’s lives from the 17th through 19th century, at all levels, from schoolgirls to skilled amateur needlewomen to professional embroiderers. Following a luncheon the group will go behind the scenes for close examination of more examples of needlework from Winterthur’s superb collection, including recent acquisitions such as Mary Flower’s embroidered table cover dated 1767 and Mary DeSilver’s embroidered verse sampler made at the “Negro School” in Philadelphia in 1793. Registration is required and closes on April 7.

Jan 12, 15

Announcement of January 29, 2015 noon lecture by Linda Eaton entitled “The Material Culture of Needlework.” Linda Eaton is the John L. & Marjorie P. McGraw Director of Collections and Senior Curator of Textiles at Winterthur Museum in Delaware. Using examples of women’s needlework from the collections of Winterthur, as well as New Jersey samplers in the ongoing sampler exhibition at the Morven Museum, she will show how the study of needlework can enrich the understanding of women’s lives in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Reservations are required and the cost is $45, which includes lunch. Registration is available online. Both lunch and lecture will take place at The Present Day Club, 72 Stockton Street, across the street from the Morven Museum in Princeton, NJ. Linda Eaton’s lecture is one of several scheduled to accompany the museum’s sampler exhibition “Hail Specimen of Female Art! New Jersey Schoolgirl Needlework, 1726-1860”. Additional upcoming events include lectures by Amy Finkel (Feb. 17); Bill Subjack (Feb. 22); Patricia Hrynenko (March 1); and Dan and Marty Campanelli (March 26).

Jan 12, 15

Blog post by Vivien Caughley and Tessa Smallwood (December 5, 2014) for the Auckland War Memorial Museum website. While researching her new book “New Zealand’s Historical Samplers: Our Stitched Stories” (2014), Vivien Caughley uncovered a 1784 English embroidered map sampler by Martha Gibbons that depicts the cartography of the New World, the tracks of Captain James Cook’s Endeavour through the Pacific, and contains the earliest-known stitched record of the Māori language, Te Reo. In addition to naming New Zealand and its four capes, the map includes the Maori names for the country’s two islands. The blog post describes the 2010 discovery of Gibbons’ map, as well as its extensive conservation and generous donation by its U.S. owner to the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Jan 12, 15

Article in the Philadelphia Inquirer (Dec. 12, 2014) by Inga Saffron about Winterthur’s acquisition of a rare 18th century sampler stitched in 1793 by an African-American girl. The daughter of a free black family living in Philadelphia, Mary D'Silver was eight years old when she stitched her small verse sampler at the Bray Associates Negro School, founded by English abolitionist Dr. Thomas Bray with the assistance of Benjamin Franklin (For more information on the school see http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2536600521.html). Although only about 8 inches square, Mary’s sampler includes a stanza written by abolitionist Anna Laetitia Akin Barbauld, extracted from an allegorical poem entitled “The Mouse's Petition” in which a mouse begs its captor for freedom. Mary’s sampler is one of three Winterthur samplers by African American students and curator Linda Eaton plans to hang all three in the museum’s textile gallery. The sampler was sold to Winterthur by Amy Finkel, well-known sampler dealer in Philadelphia who researched its background. Article includes photographs of the sampler.

Jan 12, 15

Announcement by Sotheby’s New York auction house of their upcoming auction of important Americana and decorative arts January 23, 2015. Collected by Roy and Ruth Nutt, the auction has a total of 293 lots, of which approximately 30 will be of interest to collectors of samplers and related girlhood embroideries. Included are ten American samplers that either name or are attributed to well-known schools for young women, including the Lydia Royce school and the Misses Patten school in Hartford, CT; the Mary Balch School in Providence, RI; the Ralston school in Lehigh Valley, PA; and the Sarah Pierce school in Litchfield, CT. At least 8 objects have a Massachusetts origin, ranging in date from the 1750s to 1825. In addition, there are samplers from Ohio, RI, PA, NH, and NJ. Also included are five lots of English needlework, three from the late 17th century. Lot 281 is a group of books related to needlework and textiles (about 110 volumes). The samplers and related girlhood embroideries will be on exhibit at Sotheby’s auction house for six days prior to the January 23rd auction (January 17-22). Online catalog available.

Jan 12, 15

Article in the New York Times (Jan. 2, 2015) by Tammy La Gorce about the exhibition of 151 samplers and related girlhood embroideries entitled "Hail Specimen of Female Art! New Jersey Schoolgirl Needlework, 1726-1860" at the Morven Museum in Princeton, NJ (ending March 29, 2015). The article discusses the role of needlework in the education of girls' lives in early America and some of the unique characteristics appearing on samplers in the exhibition. As expressed by Elizabeth Allan, the museum's curator of collections and exhibitions, the samplers are proof that 18th- and 19th-century New Jersey girls "were active and creative and intelligent." Organized into five galleries, the exhibition has 151 samplers on display, arranged by geographic origin of the girls' families and their schools. Co-curators Dan and Marty Campanelli of Quakertown and Daniel Scheid of Princeton collaborated to produce an exhibition catalog that can be ordered at the museum's website.

Dec 08, 14

New exhibition at the Baltimore Museum of Art (November 23, 2014 to May 2015) showcases more than 20 samplers and silk embroideries from the museum's collections. Curated by Anita Jones, the exhibition coincides with the grand opening of the museum's renovated American Wing and heralds the return of the Jean and Allen Berman Textile Gallery. On display in the exhibition is a diverse array of schoolgirl needlework from Maryland other Eastern seaboard states - samplers and pictorial embroideries with moralistic verses, landscapes, tributes to national heroes, as well as literary and biblical scenes. Among the spectacular silk on silk embroideries is an elaborate 1819 work depicting the exuberant interior of King Solomon's palace and the imperial trappings of the Queen of Sheba's entourage in silk, metallic threads, sequins, and glass gems. The exhibition is free and the museum is open Wednesday through Sunday.

Dec 08, 14

Announcing spring textile symposium at Colonial Williamsburg March 15-17, 2015 entitled "Stitching Together a National Identity." The symposium will explore regional variations in American textiles of the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries and the forces that molded them: geography, ethnic origins, trade & migration patterns, influential teachers and artists, and even climate. A number of Sampler Consortium members will be sharing their research on early samplers and needlework schools. These include symposium host Kim Ivey (Textiles of the Early South); Sheryl DeJong (Identifying needlework schools and teachers in Vermont); Lynne Anderson (Studying migration patterns of sampler motifs); Candace Perry (Needlework of the Yeakle family of Chestnut Hill, PA); Kathy Lesieur (Samplers from Pleasant Hill Boarding School); Susi Slocum (Delaware's "fruit and flower" samplers); Alee Robins (Investigating samplers from the E. Hurst School of western Virginia); and James Boswell (Samplers and science in Kentucky). Registration for the event is $295 and can be done online.

Dec 08, 14

Stephen and Carol Huber are offering 20% savings for a select number of their samplers, silk embroideries, and other girlhood embroideries. Look for the red and white gift boxes sprinkled around their website - and take 20% off the listed price. On special for the holidays are 17 needlework samplers, 6 memorials, 7 silk on silk pictorials, 1 canvas work picture, 2 stump work pictures, and an unopened copy of Betty Ring's two volume book "Girlhood Embroidery". Highlights among the samplers on sale include an exuberant Canadian sampler by Mary Ann Coppen (1826); a graphically exciting Burlington sampler by Ann Borton (1820); and the four remaining samplers from the Mary Jaene Edmond collection: 1811 NH sampler by Jane Abbot, 1825 NH sampler by Mary Richards, 1830s sampler by Eliza Riddell probably from MD, and rare needlework sampler by Margaret Murphy.

Dec 08, 14

Announcement at M. Finkel & Daughter about their First Annual Winter Online Event, which will go live Monday, December 8 at 11:00 AM, EST, and continue through 6:00 PM, EST on December 22. Discounts between 20% and 40% (and a few even up to 50%!) on 28 samplers from America, England, and Continental Europe. All items on sale are from their current offerings and each one is fully conserved and researched. The announcement at the Samplings website includes a preview of five of the samplers to be discounted: (a) an outstanding New Hampshire house & lawn sampler by Nancy Wason (1827); (b) Sarah Ballade's c. 1840 Niagara sampler, formerly in the collection of Betty Ring; (c) an 1831 Philadelphia sampler with Quaker motifs by Anna Maria Johnson; (d) a French silk pictorial with folk appeal; and (e) an unusual 1829 sampler by Mary Ann Smith that combines needlework and calligraphy.

Nov 10, 14

Blog post by "SilkDamask" (September 25, 2014) on the people, houses, and costumes in Hannah Otis's large overmantel pictorial embroidery entitled "View of Boston Commons" (c. 1750). Clearly illustrated is the Georgian style Hancock Mansion owned by Thomas (1703-1764) and Lydia (1714-1776) Hancock, uncle and aunt to the orphaned John Hancock and with whom he lived. Blog post suggests Hannah stitched all three Hancocks in her embroidery and discusses the fashionable clothes they are depicted as wearing. Hannah Otis (1732-1801) was the daughter of Colonel James and Mary Allwyne Otis. Hannah's older sister was Mercy Otis Warren, a well-known poet, playwright, and wide published historian who supported the American Revolution. The embroidery remained in the Otis family until 1996 when it was sold to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts for a record breaking $1,157,500. The blog post includes images of Hannah's spectacular embroidery and portraits of the Hancocks. Click on the History Blog link to get an enlarged image of the Hannah's "View of Boston Commons".

Nov 10, 14

Announcing Witney Antiques' 25th annual exhibition of historic samplers entitled "Industry Taught in Early Days", on display November 3 - 22, 2014. Designed to celebrate their 50th year in business, the exhibition includes 50 girlhood embroideries dating from the 17th to the 19th centuries. Examples of children's remarkable industry, some produced by children as young as seven, include: (a) a c. 1740 band sampler with text by Liddy Daniel aged seven years; (b) an exuberantly decorated verse sampler by Ann Garness dated June 16th 1826; (c) an unusual and visually stunning 1753 sampler worked by Martha Gill; and (d) a rare embroidered Quaker pin ball. Unlike previous years, no catalog is offered concurrent with the exhibition, so it is best to go see this stunning exhibition of English schoolgirl embroidery if at all possible. The exhibition is at their showroom, 96-100 Corn Street, Witney OX28 6BU, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Nov 09, 14

New book by Naomi E.A. Tarrant entitled "Remember Now Thy Creator: Scottish Girls' Samplers, 1700-1872" and published by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. The goal of the book is to look at samplers made in Scotland as well as their place in the education of girls, putting them within the social context of the period. A wide selection of pieces from public and private collections begins with the first emergence of a specific Scottish style and ends with the 1872 Education Act in Scotland which made schooling a government responsibility. During the author's research she uncovered what may be the oldest known Scottish sampler, sewn into a bag and used to store the papers of Lady Ann Duff (1725-1805). Naomi Tarrant was the Curator of Costume and Textiles at the National Museum of Scotland for many years. In her research and writing she emphasizes the girls and their samplers in the context of their lives. The book has 232 pages, full color illustrations and costs RRP £20 (RRP £15 for fellows of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland).

Nov 09, 14

Article by Jen Graves in Seattle's newspaper The Stranger (Nov. 5, 2014) entitled "Unraveling a Mystery in Storage at the Seattle Art Museum". The author works to reconstruct the life of 10-year-old sampler maker Charlotte Turner and learn what it meant to be a "liberated African" attending school in Bathurst Sierra Leone. The 1831 sampler was a gift to the Seattle Art Museum from Ruth Nutt who purchased it from Amy Finkel in 2004. Although relatively little was known about its provenance at that time, more recent research by Silke Strickrodt of the German Historical Institute in London helps to place the sampler in historical context. Read the fascinating story of Charlotte's capture (probably from a Yoruba tribe in Nigeria) and subsequent liberation at sea by British forces off the coast of Sierra Leone, leading to placement in an English Mission school in Bathurst. The article is accompanied by an image of the sampler and a helpful map.

Nov 09, 14

Announcement about a November 22 Sampler Identification and Documentation Day at Historic Odessa, Delaware. Co-sponsored by the Sampler Archive Project, the Sampler Consortium, the Delaware Sampler Initiative, the Biggs Museum of American Art, Gloria Seaman Allen, and the Historic Odessa Foundation, the Sampler ID Day will be held from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm at 201 Main Street, Odessa, DE. The public is invited to bring in their antique schoolgirl samplers and related pictorial embroideries to be professionally photographed and documented for the Sampler Archive, a newly emerging national database of American schoolgirl samplers and related pictorial embroideries. Individual family heirlooms as well as small private collections are welcome. Sampler owners are encouraged to also bring any genealogical or historical information they have about their antique needlework objects. Previous Sampler ID Days offered as part of the Delaware Sampler Initiative (2012-2014) were held at the Delaware Historical Society in Wilmington, the Biggs Museum of American Art in Dover, and the Lewes Historical Society in Lewes. All Sampler ID Days in Delaware are part of a statewide initiative to locate and document all samplers in Delaware's public and private collections, funded by the Delaware Humanities Forum and the Coby Foundation. Samplers stitched in Delaware may be included in an upcoming book being written by Dr. Gloria Seaman Allen on Delaware's schoolgirl embroidery. For more information on the upcoming Sampler ID Day please access the downloadable press release. To help us get the word out, please see the downloadable flyer.

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