Polly Blydenburgh,

Polly Blydenburgh,

Durham, New Hampshire, 1794

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sampler size: 13” x 11¾” • frame size: 16¼” x 15” • price: $3200

This appealing 18th century sampler was made in Durham, New Hampshire, just northwest of Portsmouth and is inscribed, “Polly Blydenburgh March 7th 1794 age 10.” Polly began with alphabets and numbers and then progressed to an interesting verse that extolls the value of wisdom and knowledge, first published in Edinburgh in 1746, in a volume entitled The Polite Philosopher: Or, An Essay On That Art Which Makes a Man Happy in Himself, And Agreeable to Others.

Born on March 14, 1784, Polly was the eldest of five children of Rev. John and Margaret (Smith) Blydenburgh. Her ancestors in America began with her great-great-grandfather, Augustin Blydenburgh who was born in the early 17th century in Holland and migrated to New Amsterdam, where he married, circa 1661. The family remained in New York for some time but John Blydenburgh (1748-1836) was born in Durham, New Hampshire. He was educated at Princeton, matriculating in 1773. Rev Blydenburgh married Margaret Smith in 1781 and they lived in a house in Durham (now in the Historic District of Durham) that he built in 1780. This house remained in the family and Polly’s sister, Margaret Blydenburgh, known for her anti-slavery advocacy, lived there until 1862.

History of the Town of Durham, New Hampshire with Genealogical Notes, by Stackpole and Meserve (1913), indicates that in 1804 Polly married Stephen Boardman (1777-1840) and they resided in the nearby town of Newmarket, where they had four children. She died in 1816 and is buried, along with her husband and other family members, in the Blydenburgh plot at Old Town Cemetery in Rollinsford.

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

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