Tuesday, February 19, 2008
The best part of our work is receiving emails and phone calls alerting us to previously unknown samplers. My pulse races when I see the words "mystery sampler," "unknown sampler," or "sampler help" in an email heading.
Today our colleague Rick Warwick emailed us an image of a sampler and some family history on the stitcher. This new-to-us sampler, an exciting find, clearly belongs to the "Little Dog" grouping. It comes with a very extensive provenance. The sampler also has additional names and initials on it, which may help us identify the teacher.
Every sampler adds to our understanding of the ones we have already documented. I hate jigsaw puzzles, but I love patterns and repetition. When I unfold my map of Tennessee, and see that two girls who worked similar samplers in the same year lived less than five miles from one another, I feel as if I have been invited to a very select party.
Above, the "Little Dog" from the 1831 Sarah Harriet Stephenson sampler (TSS 015), the piece I am currently charting for reproduction.