First book to explore schoolgirl needlework of the Connecticut River Valley
The Connecticut River Valley was an important center for the teaching and production of embroidered pictures by young women in private academies from the mid-eighteenth to the early nineteenth century. This book identifies the distinctive styles developed by teachers and students at schools throughout the valley, from Connecticut and Massachusetts to Vermont and New Hampshire. Needlework was a means of instilling the values of citizenship, faith, knowledge, and patriotism into girls who would become mothers in the early republic. This book describes and illustrates how these embroideries provide insight into the nature of women's schooling at this time. Over the course of their education, girls undertook progressively more complex and difficult needlework. Before the age of ten, they stitched elementary samplers on linen. As the culmination of their studies, they executed elaborate samplers, memorials, and silk pictures as evidence of the skills and accomplishments befitting a lady. Proudly displayed as enticements to potential suitors, these pieces affirmed a young woman's mastery of the polite arts, which encompassed knowledge of religious and literary themes as well as art and music.
This publication has been made possible through the generous support of The Coby Foundation, Ltd., the Connecticut Humanities Council, the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, Furthermore: a program of the J. M. Kaplan Fund, and several private donors.
Foreword – Jeffrey Andersen
Acknowledgments – Jeffrey Andersen
Introduction: The Connecticut River Valley as a Cultural Center, 1740–1840 – Amy Kurtz Lansing
With Needle and Brush: Schoolgirl Embroidery from the Connecticut River Valley, 1740–1840 – Carol and Stephen Huber
Lessons Artistic and Useful: The Patten School of Hartford, 1785–1825 – Susan P. Schoelwer
Object Entries and Plates
"The Hubers have brought together an exquisite collection of schoolgirl embroideries and watercolors, enhancing our understanding of early female education and regional artistic style. Their introduction and gloriously illustrated catalogue provides significant historic, stylistic, and family context. Susan Schoelwer's insightful essay on the Patten School in Hartford reveals its family background, duration, and wide influence."~Gloria Seaman Allen, author of A Maryland Sampling: Girlhood Embroidery 1738–1860
"With Needle and Brush presents a stunning group of schoolgirl artwork from the Connecticut River Valley. The sheer beauty of the needlework is underpinned by new and important research, and I am particularly delighted to see connections made between needlework and watercolors. This book is a very important contribution to the field."~Linda Eaton, director of collections and senior curator of textiles, Winterthur Museum