ABC School Sampler - Reproduction by Garrett Lewellen @1999
Mystery of the ABC School Sampler
Story by Barbara Lewellen
Artwork/Pictures/Maps by Garrett Lewellen
Family branch genealogies and researchers: Helen James Bingaman, Rita Ashley Fishman, Jim Franks, Gary & Brenda Hollan, Angelia Johnson, Barbara Lewellen, Edgar Rose, Dr. William Litchman, David McCann, Lyle Schadee, Dee Townsend, and Karen Tumbleson.
Research sources: Missouri State Archives, Denver Federal Archives, Colorado Springs LDS-Family History Library, Penrose Genealogy Library-Colorado Springs, Denver Public Library, University of Colorado-Norlin Library, Boulder Public Library, Boulder Carnegie Genealogy Library, The Library of Virginia Digital Collections, Library of Congress Digital Collection, Bureau of Land Management-Eastern Division Land Patents, Godfrey Memorial Library, Martin Luther King Library, Midwest Historical Society-Wichita, Kansas. Kentucky, Missouri & Wisconsin Vital Records, Illinois State Archives, The Virginia Historical Baptist Society of Richmond, Virginia, The King & Queen Historical Society, of King & Queen County, Virginia; UsGenWeb, and RootsWeb.
|L to R: Mrs. Sallie Ollie Scaggs, Mrs. Ann Parker, Frances Lee Scaggs, Joseph Kendal Wierman, Mrs. Lillie Mae Hunt, Vernon L. Wierman, Winnie (Briscoe) Wierman. Kneeling: Arthur H. Scaggs Sr., and infant Sally Scaggs. July 1939.|
Upon removing the embroidery artwork from the smoke damaged picture frame more ornamental motifs were found on the bottom edge which was folded under in order to fit the 16x20 frame. The actual dimensions of the sampler are 17x20 inches. The picture frame was modern, with the manufacturer's packaging line paper used as part of the backing.
The embroidery artwork consisted of repeated rows of upper and lower case alphabet letters, numbers one to nine, a biblical verse, symbols, names and birthdates. The color theme consisted of harvest gold, forest green and ivory threads. The background of the sampler is hand-woven linen with about ten threads per square inch. The biblical verse was completed in black embroidery thread now faded to brown.
The embroidery artwork is an ABC School Sampler. Young girls aged 9 to 13, stitched samplers during the 18th and 19th century as part of their formal training of learning stitchery and the alphabet. Early samplers were long and slender, no more than twelve inches long and eight inches wide. Later samplers increased in size. The samplers reflected the girls' quality of needlework and education. Education was either acquired from home schooling from mother to daughter or formal institutional training. A girl's wealth could be measured by the usage of many colored yarns which were difficult to obtain.
Samplers included the alphabet repeated several times, numerals, biblical versus, motifs and symbols of birds, flowers, plants, houses, trees, and people. Decorative lines separated each set of the alphabet. To commemorate her family a girl included the names of her parents, favorite friends or relatives, places or events. Events could include the birth of a sibling, the girl becoming a teenager or the death of a family member or loved one.
Each symbol in the sampler has a significant meaning relative to experiences or events in the girl's family life: births, deaths, people, love, occupations, neighbors, travel, and locations.
Once completed the girl signed the sampler with her name at the bottom of the sampler followed by either her age or birth date, or the year the sampler was actually made. Finished samplers were typically rolled up on a round dowel and stored in a chest. The sampler was brought out on special occasions for display. Other girls preferred to frame their artwork for display in the family home.
Signature of maker of ABC School Sampler placed at bottom.
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