Vermont Sampler Initiative Launches Statewide Effort to Document American Schoolgirl Samplers


Contact: Kristen Levesque
(207) 329-3090

Vermont Sampler Initiative Launches Statewide Effort to Document American Schoolgirl Samplers

Sampler ID Days will be held at the Shelburne Museum on April 21 & 22

SHELBURNE, Vt. (April 7, 2023) The Vermont Sampler Initiative has launched a statewide effort to locate, photograph, and document all American samplers and related girlhood embroideries held in the public and private collections of Vermont. This initiative is a collaborative effort with local museums, historical societies, historic homes, private collectors, and descendants, and seeks to contribute to a broader understanding of the state’s early history and the women who devoted their lives to educating Vermont’s daughters.

Sampler ID Days will be held at Shelburne Museum on Friday, April 21 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday, April 22 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., where members of the Vermont Sampler Initiative will assist in the identification and documentation of samplers. These events are open to the public, and all are welcome to bring in samplers for identification and documentation purposes.

The initiative aims to create an online searchable database of American schoolgirl needlework called the Sampler Archive (, where all samplers documented in Vermont will be included. In addition, future programs will include an exhibition and a book about Vermont schoolgirl samplers and early female education in the state.

Shelburne Museum’s founder Electra Webb collected many European and American needlework samplers and the collection has grown over the years with purchases and donations. American schoolgirl samplers are vital artifacts of early female education, providing insight into family dynamics, local history, and community values. They are made by daughters from all socio-economic levels, all racial/ethnic populations, all religions, and all geographic regions of the nation. Unfortunately, samplers made by girls and young women living in Vermont are less well known and less frequently studied than those of any other New England state.

Additional Sampler Days will be held at the Vermont Historical Society in Barre, Vermont, on May 12 and 13 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Anyone interested in participating or learning more about the initiative can contact Vermont Sampler Initiative at

Image caption: Amanda Jewel, Pictorial and Alphabet Sampler, 1816. Silk on linen, 18 1/2 x 12 1/2 in. Collection of Shelburne Museum, gift of Marilyn Idle. 1986-51. Photography by Andy Duback.

About Shelburne Museum

Founded in 1947 by trailblazing folk art collector Electra Havemeyer Webb (1888–1960), Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vermont, is the largest art and history museum in northern New England and Vermont’s foremost public resource for visual art and material culture. The Museum’s 45-acre campus is comprised of 39 buildings including the Pizzagalli Center for Art and Education and Webb Gallery featuring important American paintings by Andrew Wyeth, Winslow Homer, Grandma Moses, John Singleton Copley and many more.  For more information, please visit