Kristen Levesque, Shelburne Museum
The Vermont Sampler Initiative has launched a statewide effort to locate, photograph and document all American samplers and related girlhood embroideries held in the public and private collections of Vermont.
This initiative is a collaborative effort with local museums, historical societies, historic homes, private collectors and descendants, and seeks to contribute to a broader understanding of the state’s early history and the women who devoted their lives to educating Vermont’s daughters.
Sampler ID Days will be held at Shelburne Museum on Friday, April 21, 1-4 p.m., and Saturday, April 22, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Members of the Vermont Sampler Initiative will assist in the identification and documentation of samplers.
All are welcome to bring in samplers for identification and documentation purposes.
The initiative aims to create an online searchable database of American schoolgirl needlework called the Sampler Archive, with all samplers documented in Vermont included. In addition, future programs will include an exhibition and a book about Vermont schoolgirl samplers and early female education in the state.
Shelburne Museum’s founder Electra Webb collected many European and American needlework samplers and the collection has grown over the years with purchases and donations.
American schoolgirl samplers are vital artifacts of early female education, providing insight into family dynamics, local history and community values. They are made by daughters from all socio-economic levels, all racial and ethnic populations, all religions and all geographic regions of the nation. Unfortunately, samplers made by girls and young women living in Vermont are less well known and less frequently studied than those of any other New England state.
Additional Sampler Days will be held at the Vermont Historical Society in Barre on May 12 and 13, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Anyone interested in participating or learning more about the initiative can contact Vermont Sampler Initiative.