SUGGESTED READING LIST FOR SAMPLERS AND NEEDLEWORK
There are several excellent books for learning about Samplers and Needlework, both American and English. Recently, scholarship in this field has produced very useful regional studies, in addition to the basic "required" books. There are also a number of useful exhibition catalogsAllen, Gloria Seaman. A Maryland Sampling: Girlhood Embroidery, 1738-1860.
Baltimore, MD: Maryland Historical Society, 2007.
Seamanís easy to use and well illustrated book is divided into three parts,
including a background of female education, teachers, and samplers in Maryland, and
an analysis of needlework by county. She also covers the influence of race and
religion on Maryland samplers and subject material.
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Bolton, Ethel Stanwood and Eva Johnston Coe. American Samplers. Boston:
Massachusetts Society of the Colonial Dames of America, 1921.
This early publication by the Colonial Dames succeeded as the first major effort to
record the various school, regional and stylistic motifs found in American samplers
made prior to 1830. The authors focus on change over time, and they use more than
100 black and white and color images to illustrate their points.
Huber, Stephen and Carol Huber. Millerís Samplers: How to Compare and Value. United
Kingdom: Miller/Mitchell Beazley, 2002.
This book covers the range of pictorial needlework and schoolgirl samplers in
America and Europe from the 17th through the 19th centuries. The Huberís provide an
excellent methodology for assessing, comparing, and valuing samplers.
Huish, Marcus. Samplers and Tapestry Embroideries. London: Longmans, Green and Co.,
This book remains a classic work on 17th and 18th century English needlework, and
this 2nd edition includes material on English influence on American samplers as
Krueger, Glee. New England Samplers to 1840. Sturbridge, MA: Old Sturbridge Village,
In this well illustrated book, Krueger divides samplers into three major periods of
construction and provides the reader with an in depth look at the components of New
England samplers, from their stitches and embroidery thread, to design motifs and
makers. Included is a list of schools--organized by state and town--that offered
instruction in needlework between 1706 and 1840.
Krueger, Glee. A Gallery of American Samplers: The Theodore H. Kapnek Collection.
New York: E. P. Dutton in Association with the Museum of American Folk Art, 1978.
Krueger provides the reader with an excellent introduction to American samplers and
using the Kapnek collection, shows some unusual examples of samplers produced
throughout the Eastern United States.
Ring, Betty. American Needlework Treasures: Samplers and Silk Embroideries from the
Collection of Betty Ring. New York: E. P. Dutton in association with the Museum of
American Folk Art, 1987.
This exhibition catalogue highlights Ringís extensive personal collection and her
methodology of grouping samplers by state and regional school as opposed to
Ring, Betty. Let Virtue Be a Guide to Thee: Needlework in the Education of Rhode
Island Women, 1730-1830. Providence, RI: Rhode Island Historical Society, 1983.
Ringís excellent primary source research on the subject of Rhode Island needlework
is used in this publication to provide significant context for these works and
reveal samplers and other needlework as more than just pretty pictures.
Ring, Betty. Girlhood Embroidery: American Samplers & Pictorial Needlework
1650-1850, Vols.1 & 2. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1993.
This definitive work on the overall subject of 17th-, 18th-, and 19th-century
American samplers and pictorial needlework is divided by state, school, and when
applicable religious affiliation to identify and describe the social context, the
makers, and the decorative motifs and their background of an immense number of
samplers and needlework pictures. Embroidery from more than eleven states and
regions is discussed and beautifully illustrated.
Studebaker, Sue. Ohio is My Dwelling Place. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2002.
In this beautifully illustrated book, American decorative arts expert Sue Studebaker
describes the samplers created in Ohio prior to 1850, the girls who made the, their
families, and the teachers who taught them to stitch.
Swan, Susan B. Plain and Fancy: American Women and Their Needlework, 1700-1850. New
York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1977.
This book covers both plain sewing and fancy needlework and works to identify
changes in style that occurred over time within various