Author: Jennifer Johnson

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Stitching Architecture
Polly Turner’s sampler, worked in 1786, is one of the earliest known examples made at Mary Balch’s school in Providence, Rhode Island. According to tradition, the sampler’s five-bay house represents the residence of the president of Rhode Island College. Polly’s is the first known needlework depiction of the house, which appears on at least six...
Sally’s Sampler
The unstructured nature of this family register sampler, initialed “SS” and attributed to Sally Sacket (b. 1786), is typical of eighteenth-century examples. In contrast to the more organized genealogy samplers that appear after 1800, the text here is run together in continuous lines. Sally’s sampler is one of a group of three Westfield, Massachusetts, examples...
Embroidering the State
Elizabeth Ann Goldin was fourteen when she embroidered this map of the State of New York. Such map samplers would have provided an excellent opportunity for schoolgirls to display their knowledge of geography as well as their needlework skills. In addition to outlining and naming each New York county, Elizabeth depicts Lakes Erie, Ontario, and...
A Pastoral Scene
This anonymous embroidered picture was probably worked in Boston, where affluent seventeenth- and eighteenth-century New England families frequently sent their daughters to complete their educations. Popular in England during the first quarter of the eighteenth century, such needlework scenes first appeared in Boston in the early 1730s. This example is part of a group of...
Rolling Hills and Trees
This sampler, made by Laura Bowker (1805-1843), is part of a small group of pictorial samplers worked by girls from Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire. Each of the charming works features a woman standing in a pastoral setting with trees, rolling hills, a pair of lambs, and an oversized basket of flowers. These bonneted ladies hold bouquets...
A Sampler by Martha Butler
Martha Butler’s 1729 sampler belongs to the earliest known group of Boston samplers, worked between 1724 and 1744. The style of the samplers evolved over time, but the majority of them feature Adam and Eve or the Garden of Eden, both important symbols of Puritan theology. Martha’s sampler is closely related to what is believed...
Nearly square sampler embroidered in soft shades of browns, blues, greens, and yellow on a natural linen ground. The field contains three alphabets, a set of numerals, a verse and inscription. At the bottom, a view delicately rendered in embroidery and watercolor of the Charlestown Neck House. On three sides, a deep border of rose garlands caught up with bows of blue ribbon at the upper corners.
Sampler by Lucy D. Stickney
Lucy Drury Stickney was the daughter of William Stickney (1783-1868) and Margaret Nowell (1792-1840). Born in 1818, she was named for her father’s first wife, Lucy Drury (1787-1812), with whom he had had two sons. Margaret bore him six daughters and two sons, one of whom died in infancy. William Stickney began his career as...
The Progress of Refinement
Ellen Maria Odiorne (1812-1845) stitched this sampler, with its meandering border of grape vines, at the age of ten. Born in Malden, Massachusetts, she was the daughter of poet-turned-wealthy-industrialist Thomas Odiorne (1769-1851). His 1792 poem, “The Progress of Refinement,” which explores man’s relationship with nature, is considered a precursor to the Romantic Movement. After apparently...
Oval picture of a young woman standing by a tomb beneath a weeping willow, surrounded by flowering sprays tied with ribbons. At the very bottom, an inscription and verse: Willamina Rine a daughter of Christian and Barbara Rine was born November 6th 1801 and Made this sampler at Mrs. Armstrong's School, Lancaster Teach me the measure of my Days ...Thou maker of my frame I would survey life's narrow space and learn how frail I am
Buried in our Churchyard
Born in 1801 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Willamina Rine was twelve when she stitched this sampler at Mrs. Armstrong’s school in 1813. The archives of the Trinity Lutheran Church in Lancaster reveal that her parents, Christian and Barbara, had several other children: Henrich, Christian, Veronica, Sophia, Martha, and Elizabeth. A Fanny Rine embroidered a sampler at...