Jemima M. Sanborn,

Jemima M. Sanborn,

Gilmanton, New Hampshire, 1817

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sampler size: 18¼” square • framed size: 22” square • sold

One of the most interesting and well-regarded groups of samplers from New England is the “Bird and Basket Samplers of Canterbury” (see Betty Ring’s Girlhood Embroidery, vol. II pages 232 to 235). The relatively large number of samplers that form this group date from 1780s through the 1830s and were made by girls from families who settled along the Merrimack River in southern New Hampshire. A 1990 exhibitionLessons Stitched in Silk: Samplers from the Canterbury Region of New Hampshire at the Hood Museum of Dartmouth College focused solely on these samplers and the accompanying scholarship documented the importance of this group. Included were 33 samplers, from relatively simple examples to outstanding, fully developed ones, with the characteristic hillocks, flowers, trees, birds and baskets, frequently worked with dark outlines.

The samplermakers lived in towns such as Canterbury, Loudon, Sanbornton and Gilmanton. While they likely attended a few different schools, the shared composition and technique produced an aesthetic that endured for over 40 years. The schoolteacher who was likely responsible for much of the excellent work from this area was Ruthy Foster (1779-1858).

Signed, “Jemima M. Sanborn’s Sampler wrough / t AD 1817 in the 13th year of her age,” this is a large and lovely sampler from this group. Various alphabets fill much of the sampler with characteristic little pictorial vignettes in the lower corners. A fine pink and blue sawtooth border provides an excellent framework.

Jemima Moulton Sanborn was born in September, 1804, the daughter of Richard and Hannah (Moulton) Sanborn who lived in Gilmanton. The roots of the Sanborn family go back many generations; Genealogy of the Family of Samborne or Sanborn in England and America 1194-1898 by V. C. Sanborn (1899) provides excellent information and photocopies are included in the file of research that accompanies the sampler.  On December 23, 1824, Jemima married Isaac Marsh (1803-1884). They remained in Gilmanton and Isaac is listed in census records, sequentially, as a keeper of the poor house, a stage driver and a hotel keeper. They had at least one child and Jemima died in 1877, buried along with many family members in Beech Grove Cemetery in Gilmanton.

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 with a cherry bead.


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