Dolly Barton, sister of Clara Barton,

Dolly Barton, sister of Clara Barton,

Oxford, Worcester County, Massachusetts, 1812

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sampler size: 16½” x 12” • framed size: 19¼” x 14½” • sold

This praiseworthy sampler belongs to a small group of four significant samplers worked in Oxford, Massachusetts between 1812 and 1816. Each sampler includes the same house in three-quarter view with a fenced front yard, trees set on a lustrous lawn of varied shades of green, at least three of the makers stitched the same, wonderful couplet, “Industrious ingenuity may find / Noble employment in the female mind,” and the town name of Oxford. One of these samplers, made by Mary Moulten in 1813, was in the esteemed collection of Betty Ring and was published, accordingly. Dolly was the youngest of the makers of these Oxford samplers; remarkably she was only 7 years old, as stitched on her sampler.

As appealing as Dolly Barton’s sampler is aesthetically and for its relationship to the other Oxford samplers, we are delighted with its family affiliation – Dolly was the oldest sister of Clara Barton (1821-1912), the famous social reformer and founder of the Red Cross. They were the oldest (Dolly was born on October 2, 1804) and youngest children of Stephen and Sarah (Stone) Barton, both of whom were from prominent families with deep roots in Massachusetts. History of the Town of Oxford, Massachusetts with Genealogies and Notes on Persons and Estate by George F. Daniels (Oxford, 1892) indicates that Stephen Barton, who served in various positions in the town, was, “a man of much force of character, strong physique, a clear head, quick wit… rendered him a leader among his fellow citizens, a charitable and kindly disposition.” Dolly remained single and, again according to the published town history, was a successful teacher. She died in 1846 at age 41 and is buried along with her parents and her sister, Clara, in North Cemetery in Oxford.

A great deal of specific information regarding the Barton family is included in the substantial file that accompanies the sampler. Additionally, a copy of the book, Clara Barton: Daughter of Destiny by Blanche Colton Williams (Lippincott, Co. Phila, PA, 1941), will accompany the sampler.

The sampler was worked in silk on linen and is in excellent condition with a few stitches missing from one letter. It has been conservation mounted and is in a 19th century mahogany frame.

Image of reverse of sampler


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