With Needle and Brush
Schoolgirl Embroidery from the Connecticut River Valley, 1740-1840
Carol and Stephen Huber, Susan P. Schoelwer, and Amy Kurtz Lansing
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.
Carol and Stephen Huber are leading experts and dealers in the field of American and schoolgirl needlework. The
Hubers have contributed articles to publications such as Antiques and Fine Arts and are the authors of How to Compare
and Value Samplers. They have lectured extensively for the Winterthur Program in Early American Culture, the Bard
Graduate Center, and the Peabody Essex Museum, among others, and have advised museums and historical societies
on their collections. Susan P. Schoelwer is a curator at George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens,
Mount Vernon, Virginia and the author of Connecticut Needlework. Amy Kurtz Lansing is the curator at the Florence
Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Connecticut.
"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
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, and several private donors.
112 pp., 89 illus. (80 in color), 9 x11"
Cloth hardcover, $60.00, Paper cover, $30.00, shipping: $4.00 (CT residents add 6% tax)