Stuff In Female Worth and Elegance: Sampler and Needlework Students and Teachers in Portsmouth, New Hampsh
by John F. LaBranche & Rita F. Conant
ISBN-10: 091581921X
ISBN-13: 9780915819218
The Portsmouth Marine Society
1996
HC w/ Dust Jacket
Pages: 155
Language(s): English
Like New/Like New - Very light cover and edge wear.
$62.00

Instruction in needlework played an important role in the education of Portsmouth, New Hampshire females well into the nineteenth century. Judged on technical merit, the work of these young students (the average age of the girls is eleven) exhibits a range of capabilities. In schools both formal and otherwise, the girls were taught to make colorful samplers, working alphabets and decorative elements and designs, and producing articles which are highly collectible today. For the past decade, the authors have been researching both the teachers and the needlework students of Portsmouth. When they began their research only about a half dozen Portsmouth samplers were known, but ultimately the trail led to more than a hundred students and over a hundred teachers in the period 1741 to 1840. Twenty-four samplers are reproduced in full color in this large volume. In many respects education for the public at large became as much a business endeavor as it was an undertaking of positive social impact. Competition among teachers was keen and while the number of schools advertised multiplied steadily, most vanished after only a single season in operation. The successful schools and academies - those which lasted more than three or four years - were few in number. Many of the women who appeared fleetingly on the scene as teachers were recent widows or without kin and simply needed to support themselves. Portsmouth needlework students of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, here represented by the work that survives them, were the daughters of sea captains and shipbuilders; of merchants, politicians and successful public officials; of gentleman farmers and prosperous artisan-businessmen. Using rare documents and illustrations, the authors describe a unique aspect of American life, the story of teachers and students pursuing a craft rarely performed today, but one which was part of the basic education for young women more than 100 years ago.