North America; United States; Massachusetts; Danvers
Linen warp and wool weft (linsey-woolsey)
Overall: 10 7/8 in x 7 7/8 in; 27.6 cm x 20 cm; Mat: 19 1/4 in x 14 1/4 in; 48.9 cm x 36.2 cm
Joseph Allen Skinner Museum, Mount Holyoke College
MH SK B.21.01.1
In 1794, an eleven-year-old from Danvers, Massachusetts embroidered this sampler with the alphabet and a hymnal verse. This small textile gives us a glimpse into New England society in the late 18th century and women and girls’ place within it. Girls who made samplers came from families who could afford to educate their daughters. Though their education stressed “feminine” accomplishments—sewing, drawing, music, and manners—they also learned reading, writing, and arithmetic. Religious education was also important, as the embroidered verse indicates. Samplers like this one would be hung in a family’s parlor as a sign of a daughter’s education and accomplishments. It also served as an advertisement of her virtues to be seen by future suitors.
-Kendra Weisbin, Associate Curator of Education, Mount Holyoke College Art Museum (Sept. 2016)