Preserving an 18th Century American Needlepoint Sampler

Today in the Long Beach History Collection, I am working with a needlepoint textile from 1776, North America. The item was originally housed in a non-archival manila folder loose in the archival collection. I have since rehoused it to a mylar sleeve which is open at the bottom and is backed by an archival plastic support then, wrapped in archival tissue paper which has been tied with a cotton string and labeled. The item will be added to an archival box and labeled for long-term storage.

The item originally came with a library label which read, “1776 Needlepoint Sampler.” Needlepoint samplers were used to showcase the needlework skills of a young woman and may have traveled with her dowry (Amelia Peck, October 2008). Outside of the unfortunate housing, the previous handlers also did not document the lady’s name or the poem she included on her sampler. This poem was particularly difficult to read as the lettering matched the color of the background, which had yellowed together over time. However, after some time I was able to to interpret it, and it reads as follows:

“Elisabeth Purinum is my name
New England is my Nation
Danvers is my dwelling place
And Christ is my salvation.
When I am dead, laid in my grave
And all my bones are rotten
When this you see, remember me
That I not be forgotten.”

You are not forgotten, Elisabeth.

By |2017-06-20T08:31:34+00:00January 5th, 2017|Archives & Special Collections, Latest News|0 Comments