The Sampler Consortium is pleased to announce the public unveiling of the Sampler Archive, an online searchable database of American schoolgirl samplers and related girlhood embroideries. The Sampler Consortium was a founding partner in conceptualizing the Sampler Archive, and assisted Sampler Archive Project staff in writing grant proposals to obtain funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. In addition, many members of the Sampler Consortium contributed time, energy, and expertise toward the documentation of schoolgirl needlework – as part of online documentation teams for specific collections, and as volunteers to the project's many Sampler Identification and Documentation Days. To date, Sampler Consortium members have volunteered at Sampler ID Days held (a) at the Chester County Historical Society (West Chester, PA) in 2012; (b) as part of the Delaware Schoolgirl Sampler Initiative, 2012 – 2016; and (c) as part of the Rhode Island Sampler Initiative, 2015-present).
The newly public Sampler Archive database includes needlework objects from the project's three pilot sites: Winterthur Museum, the DAR Museum, and the Rhode Island Historical Society. Poised to be included in the upcoming months are American schoolgirl samplers and related girlhood embroideries from: (a) the above mentioned Sampler ID Days; the museum collections of eleven partnering institutions; two large private collections; and four recent exhibitions. More detailed information on these contributors to the Sampler Archive is available from the Contributors menu on the Sampler Archive home page.
Objects in the Sampler Archive database can be accessed by browsing and searching. Browsing provides quick access on a range of dimensions: Contributor, Object Type, Maker's Age, Place Made, Century, and Decade. Searching (instead of browsing) gives access to objects that meet multiple criteria: for example; family record samplers made by girls 10-12 years of age in the state of Massachusetts; or embroidered pictures made at the Mary Balch School in the decade 1790-1799. For all objects in the Sampler Archive there is a Detail Page with a high resolution image and documentation results on three major dimensions: Physical Characteristics, Maker/Family History, and Object History. With future assistance from Sampler Consortium members, the Sampler Archive will also provide information on Related Objects.
Sampler Consortium members are encouraged to provide developers of the Sampler Archive with feedback and there is a contact page inviting input on a variety of important dimensions. The Sampler Consortium applauds the Sampler Archive team on this landmark accomplishment.