[HNW] Regarding Samplers/Illiteracy

Tue Aug 7 15:35:23 PDT 2007

Dated samplers don't appear before the late 16th century.  Samplers during the
SCA's period (pre-1600) were not usually done by children or with any sort of
formal organization, but were literally "samples" of various patterns and
stitches, done haphazardly over a random piece of (usually) linen,  or later
Elizabethan ones could be more organized versions in sections, or even "band"
samplers of patterns worked width-wise across a narrow length of cloth, which
look very nice. They might have letters or not.  I'm absolutely sure of examples
of pre-1600 samplers existing from Germany, Italy, and England, and Mamluk
Egypt, but I'm sure there must be some from other countries too.
The idea of samplers to be done by young girls as instructional forms of
needlework or for teaching letters and morals came more in the 18th to 19th
There's a lot of info out on the web, but I'm still at work and too busy to find
links right now.  But I hope this helps a little!
- Carol Hanson (SCA: Caryl de Trecesson)


From: h-needlework-bounces at lists.ansteorra.org
[mailto:h-needlework-bounces at lists.ansteorra.org] On Behalf Of Liz Wilson
Sent: Tuesday, August 07, 2007 6:22 PM
To: h-needlework at lists.ansteorra.org
Subject: [HNW] Regarding Samplers/Illiteracy

Actually, from what I recall about the Colonial period in America, the samplers
WERE in fact for learning letters and many were done by girls ages 5 to 12.  I
just assumed (perhaps erroneously) in my earlier email that most samplers are
dated after the Medieval period because more of the common people did not
attempt to learn their letters, but I expect that among the upper classes that
is exactly what they were used for.  I just don't have the research done to know
when this practiced started or the history of samplers in general.
Cristiana aka Liz 

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