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.”
An exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago (March 17 - June 21, 2015) presents over 300 objects drawn from public and private collections across North America—as well as the Art Institute’s own important collection of Irish decorative and fine art. “Ireland: Crossroads of Art and Design, 1690–1840” is the first exhibition to explore the rich and complex art and culture of Ireland during the long 18th century and the first to celebrate 18th century Irish artists, collectors, and patrons. Works of art representing 24 Irish counties are installed in ten galleries focusing on themes such as the history of Ireland through portraiture; Dublin as a center of commerce, culture, and government; Irish landscapes and tourism; and life in an Irish country house. Among the fabulous objects on display are an elaborately embroidered 1823 Irish sampler by Eleanor O’Beirne; an oval embroidered map of Ireland stitched in 1836 and attributed to Ursula Stuart; and a spectacular 18th century appliqué and embroidered bedcover by Eliza Patten Bennis, brought to Philadelphia when she emigrated in 1788. Of considerable interest is an 1832 needlework book by Dorothy Tyrrell with dozens of embroidered objects, multiple samplers, and miniature clothes “executed at the female model school Kildare Place in Dublin, ” a school established in 1811 to train impoverished young women to be teachers.
Announcement of a presentation at the Vermont History Museum by Ellen Thompson on May 21, 2015 at 12:00 pm entitled “Stories in Stitches: Vermont-Made Samplers.” In her talk Ellen showed examples of samplers made by girls in Vermont between 1791 and 1840 and shared their stories. She also provided a brief history of sampler making and a "census" or list of known samplers made in the state of Vermont. Ellen Thompson is a member of the Green Mountain Chapter of the Embroiderer's Guild of America and delivered a similar talk at Vermont History Expo 2014. Since then she has been working on researching and adding new examples ever since. Ellen’s presentation was part of the Third Thursday series of free brown bag luncheons focused on Vermont history hosted by the Vermont Historical Society at the Vermont History Museum in Montpelier, VT.
Article by Lisa Minardi in the Summer 2015 edition of Antiques and Fine Art magazine (pages 154-161). Provides a richly illustrated overview of German-speaking populations in Pennsylvania and their distinct and colorful material culture: woodwork, fraktur, and textiles. Pennsylvania German women of all religious backgrounds created decorative needlework, including samplers, thread cases, sewing rolls, pincushions, and hand towels. Illustrated in this article is an 1816 sampler by Eliza Kulp that bears the inscription “O Edel Herz Bedenk Dein Ende” (O noble heart, bethink your end) around a large heart. A common sentiment in Mennonite art, it usually appears as an abbreviation (OEHBDDE) rather than written out in full. This is one of five girlhood samplers on display in Winterhur Museum’s exhibition of the same name (March 1, 2015 – January 3, 2015), which also includes five decorated show towels, and other embroidered objects such as a tablecloth, quilt, wedding apron, handkerchief, and pocket. For more information and images, there is a 64-page full color exhibition catalog that can be purchased at the Winterthur website. To view the article at AFA.com you must register and sign in.
Reminder to visit the Baltimore Museum of Art’s outstanding exhibition entitled Lessons Learned: American Schoolgirl Embroideries. On display is a diverse array of schoolgirl needlework from Maryland and other Eastern seaboard states - samplers and needlework pictures 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. Additional highlights within the more than 20 objects selected by curator Anita Jones from the museum’s collection are: (a) a 1740 Newport Rhode Island band sampler by Mary Taylor; (b) an 1816 “fruit and flower” sampler by Susanna Holland stitched under the instruction of Ann Barclay Cloud; (c) a c. 1828 Virginia sampler with boating scene and stunning border by Lilias Blair McPhail; (d) an 1827 needlework picture of St. Joseph’s academy in Emmitsburg, MD, and (e) the well-known 1859 woolwork picture of Daniel and the Lions by Baltimore’s Samaria Gaines. The exhibition opened November 23, 2014 and will continue through May 2015.
Announcement for an exhibition of Pennsylvania German folk art at the Winterthur Museum in Delaware which opened March 1, 2015 and continues through January 3, 2016. Curated by Lisa Minardi, the exhibition showcases the unique world of the Pennsylvania Germans and their colorful folk art, including decorated manuscripts (fraktur), textiles, and pottery, furniture, metalwork, and pottery. Embellished with hearts, flowers, birds, and other traditional motifs, these objects reveal a love of color, design, and whimsy. Most are functional, but others were made “just for nice” and attest to the Pennsylvania Germans’ penchant for decorating virtually everything—from a tiny pincushion to the side of a barn. Among the textiles in the exhibition are five girlhood samplers, four decorated hand towels, an embroidered tablecloth, a wedding apron, and a handkerchief. Also on display are a needlework pocket, some pincushions, and a needle case. Of special note are the decorated hand towels – often referred to as “show towels”. Beautifully embroidered, these long, narrow pieces have loops at the top corners and were hung on a door for display. Most were made between 1800 and 1880 by Mennonite and Schwenkfelder women in the PA counties of Lancaster, Lebanon, Berks, and Montgomery. Objects in the exhibition are drawn from Winterthur’s permanent collection, which now includes the fraktur and textile collection of the late Pastor Frederick S. Weiser, a legendary scholar and collector of Pennsylvania German folk art. Accompanying the exhibition is a 64-page full color catalog, which can also be purchased online. A free sample of the catalog can be downloaded.
Beginning April 15, 2015 the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts in Cedarburg, WI is hosting an exhibition that celebrates all manner of embroidery across time - from early 19th century to the present day. Curated by Brenda Nemetz, the exhibition includes five antique samplers – at least two of which were stitched in Wisconsin: (a) a cross-stitch sampler stitched by an unknown girl from Waukesha WI in 1863 and (b) and a sampler stitched by Martha Duffy of Hartford, WI in 1868. The earliest sampler in the exhibition was stitched by Charlotte Hall in 1816 at the age of 8. In addition there are 26 modern samplers in the exhibition, completed by members of the Badger Chapter of the Embroiderer's Guild of America. On April 25, the museum will host a 1:00 pm lecture by Valerie Davis entitled “History of Schoolgirl Samplers.” Valerie Davis is the Honorary Curator of Textiles and Clothing at the Milwaukee Public Museum where she curated an exhibition entitled The A, B, C's of Schoolgirl Samplers: Girls' Education and Needlework From a Bygone Era, which can be seen online at the library’s website. An Opening Reception for the exhibition is scheduled for Sunday, April 19, from noon until 3 p.m. The exhibition will continue until July 12, 2015.
Announcing a one-day sampler exhibition, sale, and lecture at the Talbot County Historical Society in Easton, MD on Saturday, May 2, 2015. The exhibition (10:30 am - 4:00 pm) will showcase over 40 highly detailed schoolgirl samplers, each providing a snapshot into the daily lives of 18th and 19th century girls and women. Samplers in the exhibition are from the historical society's collection and many have never before been seen by the public. In addition to samplers, related needlework objects will be on display, including an early Irish stitch pincushion initialed ER 1732. Noted sampler experts Barbara Hutson and Cynthia Steinhoff will be on hand to share their expertise, and at 11:00 am will provide a presentation on recognizing and studying historic samplers. A sale of antique samplers donated by members of the Talbot County Historical Society will begin at noon and go through 4:00 pm, with profits used to support the organization's community outreach and programming. The exhibition, lecture, and sale are free to the public. (Note: Details in this summary may not match what is on the Talbot County Historical Society's website as there have been some recent changes. A flyer with updated times and costs has been posted on their Facebook page and are the details included here.)
Announcing a one-day sampler exhibition hosted by the Cumberland County Historical Society in Greenwich, NJ on May 16, 2015, noon to 5:00 pm. Entitled "The Threads That Bind Us," the exhibition will highlight local schoolgirl needlework stitched from 1762 to 1860. On display will be two Cumberland County samplers recently returned from being in the Morven Museum's exhibition "Hail Specimen of Female Art: New Jersey Schoolgirl Needlework, 1726-1860, where they joined other samplers from a recognized group known as the "compartmented samplers of Cumberland." Also on display will be other samplers from area museums and private collections. At 2:00 pm Dan and Marty Campanelli will provide a lecture on early female education in New Jersey entitled "So Education Forms the Mind" in the Loomis Library. Cost to attend is $20 and includes access to the exhibition, an exhibition catalog, the Campanelli's lecture, and a light lunch. All proceeds will be used for sampler conservation and restoration. Advanced registration is required and contact info is posted on the website.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Lunch will be provided.
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).
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.