Jennifer Johnson

In Bliss or Woe


This family register sampler, with its melancholy verse about the fleeting nature of life, was stitched in 1833 by Abigail Barnard. Although such samplers were typically part of the needlework education of schoolgirls, Abigail created this example at the age of twenty-seven to document the birth, marriage, and death dates of her parents and siblings.
family register, family record, samplers

Celebrating a new church


Julia Ann Nivers’ sampler features a townscape beneath three alphabets and a religious verse, enclosed in a border of stylized strawberries. Of the buildings depicted on the sampler, only the Hopewell Presbyterian Church can be identified. Construction on the Gothic Revival building, which still stands today in Julia’s hometown of Crawford, New York, began in 1831. The first services were held there in 1832, which may have been why Julia chose to highlight the church on her 1833 sampler.
samplers, Julis Ann Nivers, Hopewell Presbyterian Church, Gothic Revival

To banish Slav'ry's Bonds from Freedom’s Plains


Today is Emancipation Day, a holiday on which we commemorate the abolition of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, Major-General Gordon Granger—who had arrived in Galveston, Texas, the preceding day with 2,000 Union troops—announced the end of the Civil War and the emancipation of the enslaved. On this day, a fitting object for contemplation is a sampler made in 1803 by Mary Emiston, a student at the African Free School in New York City. Mary ornamented her sampler with an inspirational verse calling for an end to slavery and oppression:
emancipation, slavery, New York African Free School, samplers

O Love, Remember Me


Today marks the 138th wedding anniversary of Margaret and John Hoog, an event memorialized in this unusual sampler. While the majority of sampler makers were schoolgirls working to complete their needlework education, Margaret Hoog took needle in hand to commemorate her 1875 marriage. In the center of the sampler, instead of the usual alphabets, verse, or family history, she stitched a poignant message to her husband: “John the Hoog/O Love/Remember me/Margaret Hoog/Married 1875 June 3.”
sampler, immigration, marriage