Mary Ann Coolidge,
Mary Ann Coolidge,
Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1824
Boasting an outstanding composition and excellent needlework, this is a fine and classic New England sampler made in 1824 by Mary Ann Coolidge of Cambridge, Massachusetts. The scene along the bottom is a tightly worked vignette featuring a large, double-chimney, Federal house, willow trees and a small outbuilding underneath an arched, shimmering blue and white sky. Above, alphabets lead to a verse that advocates for the power and “beauty of a cultivated mind.” The richly worked, three-sided border, an organic and thorny vine of roses, buds and leaves, frames it all beautifully. It resembles other samplers made in Cambridge in the 1820s, sharing, most notably, the lustrous sky and house and lawn scene (see below).
Born on July 5, 1814, Mary Ann was the oldest of six children of Deacon Josiah and Mary (Hastings) Coolidge. Both parents were born in Watertown and shortly after their marriage in 1812, the couple removed to Cambridge. This branch of the Coolidge family has its origins with John Coolidge who emigrated from England to Watertown, Massachusetts prior to 1636, in the early years of the Great Migration. Information regarding the family is published in Descendants of John and Mary Coolidge of Watertown, Massachusetts 1630, by Emma Downing Coolidge. Joseph Coolidge (1730-1775), Mary Ann’s great-grandfather was, “an ardent patriot, serving his country well during the years leading to the Revolution, was the only Watertown man to fall in the defence of Concord and Lexington.”
Mary Ann married Daniel Lateman Brown on December 5, 1842, and they had four children: Emma, Mary, Louise and William. They remained in Cambridge where Daniel indicated that he was a real estate broker in the 1850 census. Daniel died in 1872 and Mary Ann in 1888; both are buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark, noted as a model for the American "rural" cemetery movement.
The sampler was worked in silk on linen and is in excellent condition. It has been conservation mounted and is in a beveled, figured maple frame.
Similar sampler signed "Wrought by Sarah Hancock, Cambridge."