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Young girls who went to school in the 19th century were usually given instruction in decorative accomplishments, rather than academic subjects. Samplers demonstrated a young girl’s piety, her refinement and her ability to form the letters of the alphabet, which would be useful in marking the household bedding and kitchen fabrics she would make in anticipation of her marriage.

Sans titre-1

Sarah Ann Leavenworth

19th Century
7 in. x 10 1/4 in. (17.78 cm x 26.04 cm)
Silk thread on linen ground

Collection of the Mattatuck Museum, Purchase, Restricted Funds, 1996

Construction Techniques: Alphabet-and-number sampler worked with a single thread color (olive/brown) in cross-stitch. The sampler is divided into 7 horizontal rows (the rows being small spaces), first and second rows consist of the alphabet in upper-case, cursive lettering (ending with a heart); the third and fourth rows consist of the alphabet in upper-case, block lettering; the alphabet in lower-case are included in the fourth and fifth rows and are followed by the numbers 1-10; sixth and seventh rows bear the inscription: "Sarah Ann Leavenworth aged 12/years Waterbury Aug 9th 1829" and the initials "S A L". A simple border is stitched along the four sides. (Framed)

Creation Place: Waterbury, Connecticut.

Further Reading: Glee F. Krueger. A Gallery of American Samplers.  E.P. Dutton in association with The Museum of American Folk Art (New York, 1978).

Who made it?: Made by Sarah Ann Leavenworth, aged 12. Sarah was born in 1817, she was the daughter of Joseph Leavenworth (son of Samuel Leavenworth) and Tamara Pritchard.  Sarah Ann married J. Wheeler.