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Welcome to the Sampler Archive

The Sampler Archive database has been designed to share detailed information and high-resolution images of American girlhood samplers and pictorial embroideries from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.

From the Director, Lynne Anderson

Vermont Statewide Sampler Initiative

Amanda Jewel, 1816
St. Albans, Vermont
Shelburne Museum, Vermont

The Sampler Archive Project is pleased to announce that it is collaborating with the Vermont Statewide Sampler Initiative to locate, photograph, and document American samplers and related girlhood embroideries held in Vermont’s public and private collections. Initial partners are the Bennington Museum in southern Vermont and the Shelburne Museum in northern Vermont. Both museums have excellent collections of schoolgirl samplers and needlework pictures, many of which were made by girls living in Vermont and other northern New England states.

Samplers made by girls and young women living in Vermont are less well known than those of any other New England state. In Betty Ring’s 1993 two volume publication entitled Girlhood Embroidery: American Samplers and Pictorial Embroidery 1650-1850 there is literally no mention of samplers from Vermont. And there have been no published articles, monographs, or books focusing specifically on Vermont samplers to help fill that gap. Vermont samplers, however, are out there and the Vermont Statewide Sampler Initiative is working to bring them to our attention. It will focus on locating, photographing and documenting samplers in the collections of Vermont’s museums, historical societies, historic homes, and private collectors. To facilitate the documentation of privately held samplers the Vermont Statewide Sampler Initiative plans to host multiple Sampler ID Days around the state over the next couple of years. And because this initiative is collaborating with the Sampler Archive Project, information and high-resolution images for all American samplers uncovered in Vermont collections will be available to the public on the Sampler Archive website.

There are many ways you can support this exciting initiative! To learn how, please go HERE or click Donate.

Browse the Sampler Archive

Accessing the Sampler Archive database

You may access the Sampler Archive database in two major ways. To browse, use the top menu to go to the Browse page and select any of the filters listed (e.g. contributor, decade, place made, etc.). Your selection will return all the objects in the database within that category. You can also browse by selecting any of these same filters from the Home Page.

If you have a more specific idea of what you are looking for, then go to the Search page. Here you may enter multiple search criteria at the same time (e.g., "name, decade, AND state made" or "materials, object type, AND year). The database will return search results matching all the search terms you entered.

Coming soon

The Sampler Archive database will continue to grow over the next months and several years, with additional information and images from sampler collections across the United States, both public and private. Coming soon will be results from the Delaware Statewide Sampler Initiative (2013-2016) - information and images for more than 300 samplers and pictorial embroideries from public and private collections in the state of Delaware. This initiative was funded by grants from the Delaware Humanities Forum and the Coby Foundation.

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