Connor, Millicent

A Sampler: pictorial, sweet, and rather whimsical

This lovely sampler was made by a Boston girl named Millisent Connor in 1799 when she was ten—so says the little “banner” toward the top. Embroidered with silk thread on linen it is quite different from the usual “marking sampler,” the first needlework project for most young girls which displayed their mastery of stitches as well as the alphabet and numbers. This sampler is pictorial, sweet and rather whimsical—a man is shown walking his dog. One presumes the girl in the door of the house is Millisent of whom, sadly, nothing more is known other than this small embroidered scene made by her.

The knowledge of embroidery stitches apparently had a practical use for girls later in life. As wives they marked each piece of household linen (among their most valuable possessions) with a cross stitch, their initials, and a number.

The sampler is one of several illustrating the folk art of the eighteenth century accompanying an essay on the subject by Amelia Peck, Department of American Decorative Arts, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Both can be viewed online here.

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