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With Needle and Brush

Schoolgirl Embroidery from the Connecticut River Valley, 1740-1840

Carol and Stephen Huber

Publication Year: 2011

The Connecticut River Valley was an important center for the teaching and production of embroidered pictures by young women in private academies from the mid-eighteenth to the early nineteenth century. This book identifies the distinctive styles developed by teachers and students at schools throughout the valley, from Connecticut and Massachusetts to Vermont and New Hampshire. Needlework was a means of instilling the values of citizenship, faith, knowledge, and patriotism into girls who would become mothers in the early republic. This book describes and illustrates how these embroideries provide insight into the nature of women's schooling at this time. Over the course of their education, girls undertook progressively more complex and difficult needlework. Before the age of ten, they stitched elementary samplers on linen. As the culmination of their studies, they executed elaborate samplers, memorials, and silk pictures as evidence of the skills and accomplishments befitting a lady. Proudly displayed as enticements to potential suitors, these pieces affirmed a young woman's mastery of the polite arts, which encompassed knowledge of religious and literary themes as well as art and music.

This publication has been made possible through the generous support of The Coby Foundation, Ltd., the Connecticut Humanities Council, the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, Furthermore: a program of the J. M. Kaplan Fund, and several private donors.

Published by: Wesleyan University Press

With Needle and Brush

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Copyright

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Contents

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Foreword

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pp. vii-

Although little remembered today, before its celebrated role as the home of the Lyme Art Colony the Florence Griswold House served as a school for girls during the late 1800s. There, Florence Griswold and her sisters taught English, art, history, music, and, according to one advertisement, “the rich and elegant styles of French embroidery, ancient and modern, not elsewhere taught in this country.”...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-

With Needle and Brush: Schoolgirl Embroidery from the Connecticut River Valley began its life as an exhibition, and these acknowledgments offer a place to thank those who made it possible to bring together the needleworks discussed in this book. First and foremost, Carol and Stephen Huber have relied on their four decades of experience in...

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Introduction: The Connecticut River Valley as a Cultural Center, 1740–1840

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pp. 1-2

The Connecticut River Valley was one of most important centers in America for the teaching and production of embroidered pictures by young girls in private academies from the mid-eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth century. This book is the first to examine the needlework of the region in depth. It explores the key centers and...

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With Needle and Brush: Schoolgirl Embroidery from the Connecticut River Valley, 1740–1840

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pp. 3-12

Learn your duty and do it,” Lucy Ann Smith stitched on her 1810 sampler. Lucy’s work is unskilled and the colors are faded, but the sentiment—instructing the young girl to be obedient and true to her strict New England values—remains forceful. Handed down from generation to generation, this simple sampler made by a seven-year-old from Lyme, Connecticut, reflects the discipline of early Connecticut...

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Lessons Artistic and Useful: The Patten School of Hartford, 1785–1825 S

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pp. 13-20

The Patten school occupies a pivotal position in the history of Connecticut’s needle arts and women’s education. Founded just four years after the end of the American Revolution, it arguably inspired, and cultivated a market for, the offerings of subsequent girls’ schools, including its two most successful counterparts...

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Object Entries and Plates

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pp. 21-94

Because girls often traveled some distance to attend school, the maker’s hometown follows her name and life dates in the identifying information for each object. Threads appear first in the list of materials used in each needlework. In the dimensions, height precedes width. Measurements...

Index

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pp. 95- 98


E-ISBN-13: 9780819572295
Print-ISBN-13: 9780983053200

Page Count: 112
Publication Year: 2011

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Subject Headings

  • Embroidery -- Connecticut River Valley -- History -- 18th century.
  • Embroidery -- Connecticut River Valley -- History -- 19th century.
  • Girls -- Education -- Connecticut River Valley -- History -- 18th century.
  • Girls -- Education -- Connecticut River Valley -- History -- 19th century.
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