Saturday, May 25, 2013

Pennsylvania Pasttimes

Such a week as was!  Two days before we were due to leave on our Pennsylvania whirlwind trip, Miss Becky and fell and tore her ACL in her knee.  Relegated to a chair for the time being, plans were swiftly changed, and I boarded the plane without her!  Oh my!  Would I be able to do it all?

I have no pictures to show you of the trip, as I needed every space on the camera cards for the project we began last week!  The above picture is from an old postcard, which explains why it was labeled as "Pennsylvania Dutch"!  Today, the more accurate German heritage is usually noted.  

I will tell you now to get ready to pack your bags for next year's Penn Dry Goods Market!  What a wonderful weekend in Pennsburg, PA.  As soon as I entered the Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center, I met up with old friends, and made new friends!  The gift shop display of In the Company of Friends' trunk show, along with Joanne Lukacher's Imitation and Improvement: The Norfolk Sampler Tradition, were front and center.  Also in the foyer space by the gift shop was our friend Paige Todd, proprietor of The Mad Samplar! Paige is our "go-to" online store for books - and it was such a pleasure to meet both her and her mother, in person!  

My first item of business was a class with Theresa Baird of Heart's Ease Examplar Works.  Her design of Mary Sophia's Pennsylvania German Sewing Set is lovely, and we received kits and instruction for the stacked biscornus from that set.  Gorgeous! 

Lunch was provided by local cooks who provided us with wonderful taste treats from Pennsylvania German traditions!  We ate outside and enjoyed the fabulous weather, then wandered in again for lectures, antiques shopping - many antiques dealers had set up on the first story of the building - it was a treasure-trove of needlework and other ephemera!  I made some small purchases, but there were many wonderful samplers to look at.

Between other activities, there was a beautiful exhibit of the Schwenkfelder samplers to peruse - it was hard to do everything, but I did my best!

It was a wonderful weekend, and I enjoyed it all so much!

Trips such as these are a great chance to meet with friends in the sampler world and find out what's going on everywhere!  Our friend, Lynne Anderson, of the Sampler Consortium, and the Sampler Archive Project,  is in the midst of last-minute activities for her Delaware Sampler ID Days!  This is the first of a series of sampler days the Sampler Archive Project is sponsoring at various museums and historical societies.  The idea is to have people bring in samplers and have them photographed, registered, identified and documented by the museum staff and other experts.  It's a wonderful opportunity if you have samplers or antique needlework and would like to know more about it.  It also allows the Sampler Archive Project to document samplers.  To read more about the project, go to:

Lynne wrote a wonderful article on this subject for Samplings, Amy Finkel's online sampler magazine: 

Hannah McIntier, New Castle Ctyl, 1790.  Winterthur Museum Collection.  Photo courtesy of University of Delaware

Documenting Delaware’s Needlework Samplers
Three Events, Three Locations

Newark, DE - May 15, 2013 – The University of Delaware’s Sampler Archive Project invites the public to bring their antique American samplers to one of its upcoming “Sampler ID Days" so they can be registered, documented and photographed.  Three Sampler Identification and Documentation (ID) Days are scheduled: June 8 at the Delaware Historical Society in Wilmington, June 15 at the Biggs Museum of American Art in Dover, and July 18 at the Lewes Historical Society in Lewes.  People living in Delaware and neighboring communities are encouraged to participate in this new statewide initiative, funded in part by the Delaware Humanities Forum. 

Mary Orr, Brandywine Hundred, New Castle Cty., 1835.  Courtesy of M. Finkel & Daughter

Antique samplers are the product of needlework instruction provided to girls and young women in America up until the middle of the 19th century. Although samplers are diverse in shape and color, they were most often stitched using silk or wool thread on a piece of linen fabric. Girls frequently stitched rows of alphabets and numbers, and sometimes a verse or two. It was traditional in America for girls to sign their needlework projects with their names, and sometimes these stitched signatures also included details such as age, location, and even the teacher or school. In addition, samplers often display decorative elements such as colorful motifs, bands, and borders. More difficult pictorial embroideries were stitched by older girls using silk thread on silk fabric, and often depict scenes from the Bible or classical literature.

The Sampler Archive Project is a national effort to develop an online searchable database of information and images for all known American samplers and related schoolgirl embroideries from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.  Launched with two years of funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to the University of Delaware’s Winterthur Program in American Material Culture, the Sampler Archive is under development, and will make its online public debut in early 2014. Recent additional funding from the Delaware Humanities Forum is supporting the project’s efforts to locate, document, and photograph historic samplers and related embroideries in Delaware’s public and private collections. Because this includes family heirlooms that may have been passed down from generation to generation, the public is encouraged to bring their antique samplers to one of the three Sampler ID Days scheduled for this spring and summer.

Event Details

Who: Anyone in Delaware and neighboring communities
What: Sampler ID Days
June 8  -- Delaware Historical Society in Wilmington
June 15 -- Biggs Museum of American Art in Dover
July 18 -- Lewes Historical Society in Lewes
When: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Morning hours are for individuals with appointments. Afternoons are for both appointments and drop-ins.
Why: An opportunity to talk with experts about your sampler, have it documented and photographed, and submit it for inclusion in the Sampler Archive.

NOTE: Due to the time it takes to document and photograph these wonderful historical objects, appointments are required for anyone bringing three or more samplers to a Sampler ID Day. Call 1-877-909-2525 or email to make appointments.

Katherine Wallace, Wilmington, c. 1818.  Courtesy of the DAR Museum

The Sampler Archive Project and its initiative to locate and document Delaware’s schoolgirl embroideries are supported by a large number of organizations. In addition to the Delaware Humanities Forum, these include the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture at the University of Delaware, the Center for Advanced Technology in Education (CATE) at the University of Oregon, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Sampler Consortium (

For more information, or to make Sampler ID Day appointments:

Phone: 1-877-909-2525

1 comment:

  1. The Penn Dry Goods event was truly wonderful and I hope this was the first of many. A special thank you to you for the adorable "Staplehead" pins you provided. I put mine on my Loudoun Sampler Guild badge to wear proudly for all to see...Barbara


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