Ann White,

Ann White,

 Taunton, Massachusetts, 1828

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sampler size: 20½” x 15¾” • framed size: 24¼” x 19¼” • sold

Signed, “Ann White Taunton her sampler ageb [sic] 14 years marked In the year 1828,” this is a large sampler with a wonderful, bold quality. The Federal house and two large trees present with a graphic quality with traditional details such as the fanlight over the door, brickwork at the base of the house and folky little pots of flowers adding to the scene as well. The border is notable for its large-scale flowers, buds and richly worked leaves. While Ann was very good with her pictorial elements, one can’t help but notice that spelling seems to have been somewhat challenging for her in her inscription line.

The four-line verse reads, “Whilst in the morning of your days / Renounce the world and sinful ways / For Learning ardently aspire / And may virtue be your first and great desire.” It was, no doubt, chosen for its clear message to schoolgirls. Taunton is a small town about 40 miles south of Boston. Ann was born there on December 30, 1814, the eldest of eight children of Cornelius and Florintha (Chase) White. The White family had been in Taunton for several generations at that point and Cornelius’ father and grandfather served in the Revolutionary War.

In 1830, Ann married Capt Benjamin Burt (1809-1889) whose ancestors were among the founding families of Taunton. Collections of the Old Colony Historical Society published by the same historical society in 1899 is very informative about the Burt family. Capt Benjamin was a master mariner, successful merchant and, later in life, active in purchases of real estate in Taunton. “Personally, he was genial, whole-souled, generous, had a good word for all,” quoting from the above publication. They had four children and Ann died at age 49, in 1864, buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Taunton. Photocopies and printouts from many sources are included in the research file that accompanies this sampler. Notably, American Samplers, by Bolton and Coe, the seminal book published in 1921 by The Massachusetts Society of the Colonial Dames of America, recognized and described Ann White’s sampler. 

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


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