ìThis needlework of mineÖÖî: Historic Schoolgirl Samplers in Rhode Island
Presenters: Dr. Blaire O. Gagnon, Associate Director SCM and Ms. Susan J. Jerome, M.S. Collections Manager of the Historic Textile and Costume Collection, University of Rhode Island Schoolgirl samplers are key to documenting and understanding a girlís education through her skill with the needle in the 18th, 19th and early 20th Centuries. As artifacts of early education, samplers and other forms of girlhood embroidery are remarkably helpful. The vast majority of surviving artifacts carry the name of the girl who stitched it ñ often accompanied by the date she completed it, her age at the time, and sometimes additional genealogical information. Samplers also often include verses with moral dictates for socially appropriate behavior and alphabets, number series and other evidence of educational curriculum in our county's early schools. This program will explore the history of schoolgirl samplers and the findings of the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities funded South County Sampler Initiative. Every single sampler contributes to the advancement of sampler scholarship, and by extension, our understanding of the role of needlework and education in the lives of girls and women of the past. Samplers from the Babcock-Smith House Museum will be on display as part of a show and tell after the formal presentation. Audience members are encouraged to bring in samplers and/or sampler related topics to be discussed.