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Sampler Consortium

Sampler Consortium's Public Library

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.

Nov 09, 14

The Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife in Historic Deerfield has posted a call for papers for its upcoming conference entitled "Schooldays in New England, 1650-1900", scheduled for June 19-21, 2015. HIstoric Deerfield is accepting proposals for papers, presentations, and site visits that focus on schooling and curriculum in the one-room schoolhouse as well as private academies, religious academies, female seminaries, high schools, colleges, and universities. The seminar will "also encompass specialized educational venues like circuit and summer schools, singing schools, dancing academies, penmanship schools, schools of art and drawing, academies for blind and deaf students, ethnic language schools, and schools for African Americans, Native Americans, and other populations. The conference will deal with educational artifacts; school architecture; school settings; pedagogy and discipline; primers and educational publications for children." The Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife is a continuing series of conferences, exhibitions, and publications whose purpose is to explore everyday life, work, and culture in New England’s past. Proposals are due February 15, 2015 and selected papers will be published in the seminar's 2015 annual proceedings.

Oct 23, 14

Reminder about the upcoming Winterthur needlework conference being held October 24-25, 2014. Entitled "The Diligent Needle: Instrument of Profit, Pleasure, and Ornament", the conference accompanies on an ongoing exhibition of the same name. Speakers on Friday, Oct. 24 include Amanda Vickery on the context of 18th century domestic crafts; Tricia Wilson Nguyen on 17th century caskets; Marla Miller on gownmaker Rebecca Dickenson (1738-1815) of Hatfield, MA; and Aimee Newell on the needlework of aging women. Speakers on Saturday, Oct. 25 include Judith Tyner on embroidered maps and globes; Kimberly Smith Ivey on quilts and needlework from the early South; Lynn Hulse on the embroidered furnishing of Eaton Hall; and Ann Hilker Sack on needlework entrepreneur Erica Wilson. Afternoon workshops include needlework classes by Joanne Harvey, Tricia Wilson Nguyen, Margriet Hogue and Wendy White. Other afternoon classes focus on embroidery patterns in the Winterthur Library; samplers from orphanages and charity schools; needlework tools; and the costumes of Downton Abbey. Registration can be by phone or mail.

Oct 23, 14

Article in the Philadelphia Inquirer (Oct 21, 2014) by Inga Saffron about sampler dealer Amy Finkel and the open house held at M. Finkel & Daughter in Philadelphia on October 18. On display were a wide variety of historic samplers and pictorial needlework stitched by schoolgirls in the 18th and 19th centuries, most created when the girls were 9 to 15 years of age. The article discusses some of the specific samplers on display, as well as a very special recently consigned sampler from England that was stitched in 1793 by Mary D'Silver, an African-American girl most likely educated at the "Negro School" in Philadelphia. The Negro Charity School of Philadelphia was originally founded in 1758 by English clergyman and abolitionist Dr. Thomas Bray and Associates (with the support of Benjamin Franklin) and reopened in 1786 after the Revolutionary War. The school taught free and enslaved African-American children of both genders, with girls learning to read, sew, knit, and embroider. Mary D'Silver's small verse sampler is currently on hold for a specific museum.

Oct 23, 14

Article written for NJ.com (Oct 21, 2014) about the landmark sampler exhibition at the Morven Museum and Garden in Princeton, NJ. Entitled "Hail Specimen of Female Art! New Jersey Schoolgirl Needlework, 1726-1860", the exhibition of 151 samplers was organized by Morven Curator Elizabeth Allen with the assistance of sampler collectors and researchers Dan and Marty Campanelli and Daniel Scheid. The article discusses some of the specific samplers in the exhibition, which is organized into five galleries based on geographical location. A fully illustrated, 167-page, four-color exhibition catalog is available for $50 at the museum's gift shop and online at www.morven.org. Also available is a 64-page book listing more than 600 NJ schools and teachers from 1685-1860 written by Dan and Marty Campanelli entitled "So Education Forms the Mind; Early Female Education in New Jersey, with Special Emphasis on Needlework Instruction." The exhibition will continue through March 29, 2015. A series of related lectures are scheduled between now and March. These include a lecture on collecting needlework by Dan Scheid on Nov. 6 st 7:00 pm; a lunch and lecture on the material culture of needlework by Linda Eaton on January 29 at noon; a presentation on the family ties of seven samplers from Gloucester County, NJ by Patricia Hrynenko on March 1 at 2:00; and a presentation o nNJ schools and teachers by Dan and Marty Campanelli on March 26 at 1:00. For more information see the museum's website.

Oct 23, 14

Presentation by Lucy Barter on October 11, 2014 10:00 am at the Koret Auditorium in the de Young Museum. Sponsored by the Textile Arts Council, the presentation featured historic and contemporary samplers from the Royal School of Needlework (RSN) collection in England. Samplers in the RSN collection range in date from 1731 to 2013. The presentation discussed the different types and forms of samplers in the collection, as well as technical, cultural, and geographic influences. Lucy Barter is owner of Forever Embroidery Studio in San Francisco Lucy and runs RSN courses from her studio throughout the year. The Textile Arts Council is a support group of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, created to advance the appreciation of the Museums' textile and costume collections within the Bay Area community.

Sep 02, 14

Project MUSE has posted PDFs for the 240 page 2010 publication by Dr. Susan Schoelwer entitled "Connecticut Needlework: Women, Art, and Family 1740-1840", published by Wesleyan University Press. Included are 70 examples from the Connecticut Historical Society's extensive collection of early American needlework. Extensive genealogical research reveals unseen family connections linking various types of needlework, similar to the multi-generational male workshops documented for other artisan trades, such as woodworking or metalsmithing. When it was published the book acccompanied an exhibition at the CT Historical Society and both offered the first regional study of Connecticut needlework produced prior to 1840. In addition to the PDFs for each chapter, viewers can search the text online. Downloading the PDFs requires belonging to Project Muse or access through a partner university.

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