Elizabeth Dunn,

Elizabeth Dunn,

 Wilmington, Delaware, 1828

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sampler size: 17” x 20¾” • framed size: 21" x 25" • sold

This excellent and very beautiful Quaker motif sampler was made in Wilmington, Delaware and is a recent discovery and addition to the body of work wonderfully documented in the outstanding book, Delaware Discoveries: Schoolgirl Samplers, 1750-1850, by Gloria Seaman Allen and Cynthia Shank Steinhoff (Chesapeake Book Company, 2019). The sampler descended along with a photo of the maker taken when she was an adult and we turned to co-author Cynthia Shank Steinhoff for her help researching Miss Dunn. We are grateful to her for all that she discovered and shared regarding the family history of this samplermaker. 

Elizabeth was the daughter of John and Sarah (Askew) Dunn of Wilmington. Sarah was from a prominent Friends family and a member of Wilmington Monthly Meeting. She married John Dunn, a non-Quaker, but was able to remain a member of the Meeting in good standing after seeking and gaining approval from other members of the Meeting. Elizabeth seems to have been born circa 1815 and made this sampler when she was about 13 years old. She married Job Haines (1823-1893/4), son of Edwin and Margaret (Hutton) Haines. Job and Elizabeth lived in Maryland where Job was a merchant and proprietor of Rising Sun Foundry and, later, State Controller of Maryland. They had five children. Elizabeth died in 1897 and is buried at Harrisville Friends Cemetery in Cecil County, Maryland. 

The sampler presents a splendid assortment, indeed a veritable catalogue, of Quaker sampler motifs arranged in a highly pleasing, symmetrical composition. She was clearly very skilled as her needlework is very tight and finely done. An excellent, richly worked border of leaves and buds on vine is further surrounded by a delicate eyelet-stitched edging. 

Worked in silk on linen, it is in excellent condition and has been conservation mounted into a mahogany frame with line inlay.



(Photograph of Elizabeth Dunn)


(Back of sampler)



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