Many historic samplers are family heirlooms, passed down through the generations. This Delaware sampler was stitched by Hannah McIntier, New Castle County, 1790. Winterthur Museum Collection.

Sampler ID Days

Register historic needlework in Delaware this June and July

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9:36 a.m., May 20, 2013--The University of Delaware’s Sampler Archive Project invites the public to bring their antique American samplers to one of three upcoming “Sampler ID Days” so that the needlework can be registered, documented and photographed for inclusion in a national heritage database to debut online in 2014. 

Three Sampler Identification and Documentation (ID) Days are scheduled for Delaware: 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. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Morning hours are for individuals with appointments; afternoon hours are for both appointments and drop-ins.

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Appointments are required for anyone bringing three or more samplers to allow adequate time for documentation and photography. To schedule an appointment, call 1-877-909-2525 or email samplerID@samplerconsortium.org.

The Sampler Archive Project is a national effort to develop a searchable online database of information and images for all known American samplers and related schoolgirl embroideries from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. The project was launched two years ago through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to the University’s Winterthur Program in American Material Culture

Funding from the Delaware Humanities Forum is supporting the project’s latest initiative to locate, document and photograph these historic needle works in public and private collections in the First State and neighboring communities. 

Antique samplers are the product of needlework instruction to girls and young women in America up until the mid-19th century. Girls frequently stitched rows of alphabets and numbers and sometimes a verse or two using silk or wool thread on a piece of linen fabric. It was traditional in America for girls to stitch their names on their samplers, and sometimes these signatures included details such as age, location and even the teacher or school.

The Sampler Archive Project and its Delaware initiative are supported by several organizations. In addition to NEH, the Delaware Humanities Forum and UD’s Winterthur Program in American Material Culture, the effort also involves the Center for Advanced Technology in Education (CATE) at the University of Oregon and the Sampler Consortium.

This recent article in the UD Research magazine provides additional background on Sampler Archive Project.

Photo by Evan Krape

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University of Delaware • Newark, DE 19716 • USA • Phone: (302) 831-2792 • © 2013
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