Mary Jane McKaleb,

Mary Jane McKaleb,

Taneytown, Frederick County, Maryland, 1814

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sampler size: 25¼” x 17¼” • framed size: 28¼” x 20½” • sold

This large and beautifully made sampler was worked by Mary Jane McKaleb, a nine-year-old who was living in Taneytown, Frederick County, Maryland. The stepped-terrace lawn presents a stately, wonderful double-handled urn of flowers flanked by evergreen and other trees. Two splendid baskets filled with Queen’s-stitched strawberries and a pair of large butterflies provide further embellishment.

Mary Jane’s sampler is part of a group of Frederick County, Maryland samplers that share this stepped-terrace format – which, interestingly was also favored by Philadelphia teachers and samplermakers. Mary Jane’s is certainly one of the most finely stitched of the known samplers in this group. A Maryland Sampling: Girlhood Embroidery 1738-1860 by Gloria Seaman Allen (The Press at the Maryland Historical Society, 2007), discusses these Frederick County samplers at length.

Mary Jane McKaleb was born on August 24, 1803 to Mary A. G. (Clingan) and John McKaleb in Taneytown, Frederick County, Maryland. John and Mary were married on April 12, 1801 in Frederick County, where John was a merchant. Along with Mary Jane they had another child, Margaret Ann McKaleb (1813-1851). Mary Jane married Dr. Samuel Annan (1799-1868), also a Taneytown resident, on January 13, 1824 Dr. Annan was a prominent and highly accomplished physician whose life is detailed here: Sadly, Mary Jane died on July 23, 1825, just over a year and a half after she married. She and her husband were living near Baltimore at the time. Much of this information comes from the McKaleb Family Bible in the collection of the Carroll County Historical Society and photocopies of these pages are included in the research file that accompanies this sampler.

The sampler was worked in silk on linen and is in excellent condition. It has been conservation mounted into a mahogany molded frame.


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