The double benefit to the young girls who made “Educational Samplers” was the mastering of their sewing techniques while learning to count, acquire a knowledge of geography and say their ABC’s. These samplers will be signed and dated by the girls who made them and in some cases will have the name of their school. Borders became much more elaborate by the early 1800’s, a factor that will help you in determining the age of undated pieces. Watch for examples that incorporate elements of nature such as birds, small animals, flowers and trees. The presence of these will indicate a high level of skill in the seamstress and are among some of the more valuable from this time period.
Religious Samplers became popular during the American Victorian period of the late 1800s. They will often feature the Virgin Mary or a cluster of angels and will have been made with heavy velvet thread. Bible verses or tributes to the Lord (usually in German) are often present on these Samplers. More rare, but worth the search, are those examples that incorporated the use of dried flower, ferns, and in some cases human hair.
As we entered the 20th Century, the interest in Sampler stitching sharply declined. The view of a woman’s roll in society had changed, educational opportunities were on the increase, as was technology, and the traditional role of the woman as a wife and homemaker was drastically altered.
The stitching of samplers, which had once been viewed as a sign of virtue and achievement for young women, waned by the late teens and all but vanished from American culture by the 1920’s.
Until next time,
Linda Hamer Kennett is a professional liquidation consultant specializing in down-sizing for seniors and the liquidation of estates and may be reached at 317-429-7887 or firstname.lastname@example.org