Samplers of Pilgrim Hall Museum

June 18, 2009

stsampd2Located in Plymouth, Massachusetts, Pilgrim Hall Museum is the nation’s oldest continuously operating museum. It houses an amazing collection of pilgrim possessions and artifacts which includes samplers from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. I’ve visited the museum twice and, both times, have had the pleasure of seeing the sampler of Loara Standish, daughter of Captain Myles Standish. It is considered to be the earliest known American made sampler and the earliest known sampler with a verse. Standish stitched it around 1653 and it was donated to the museum in 1844.

The sampler was stitched with silk thread on 50-count linen!!! It contains a diverse group of stitches including the Montenegrin cross, long arm cross, back, outline, eyelet, double running and arrow-headed. The verse reads:

Loara Standish is my name/Lorde guide my hart that/I may doe thy will also/My hands with such/Convenient skill as may/Conduce to virtue void of /Shame and I will give/The glory to thy name.

Despite being over 350 years old, the sampler is in remarkably good condition and, fortunately, remains on permanent display. This sampler, as well as the entire museum, are well worth the visit if you are in the area. If you can’t visit in person, the museum’s website features an excellent on-line exhibit of all the Pilgrim Hall samplers. Go to http://www.pilgrimhall.org, click on the Collections page then click on 17th Century Personal and Household Items. From there click on Sampler (Loara Standish) and at the bottom of that page click the link to see the other samplers. Enjoy!

Note: The accompanying photograph is courtesy of Pilgrim Hall Museum.

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