Faculty and staff of the Sampler Archive Project owe (and will continue to owe) an immense amount of gratitude to a large number of individuals and organizations who together and separately believe in the value of this important effort and the feasibility of making it happen.
For Phase 1 of the Sampler Archive Project we are especially indebted to Dr. Susan Schoelwer, Dr. Gloria Seaman Allen, Linda Eaton, Sheryl DeJong, and other members of the Sampler Consortium. They helped with initial conceptualization of an online sampler database and were instrumental in designing a project that capitalized on known efforts for preserving and expanding knowledge of women's material culture through digital documentation. Key to the implementation of Phase 1 was the dedication and persistent support of project facilitators and documenters at our three pilot sites: Olive Graffam and Virginia Vis at the DAR Museum; Linda Eaton and Roberta Weisberg at the Winterthur Museum; and Kirsten Hammerstrom and Dana Signe Munroe at the Rhode Island Historical Society. Funding for Phase 1 was provided by a generous award from the National Endowment for the Humanities (Award # PW-50897-11) to the University of Delaware's Winterthur Program for American Material Culture, directed by Dr. Richie Garrison. Without this initial financial support, the Sampler Archive Project would never have been able to get off the ground.
Phase II of the Sampler Archive Project has expanded our partnerships with historic and cultural organizations across the country, enriching the project with the expertise of many knowledgeable and dedicated professionals. These include, in alphabetical order by institution: Anita Jones at the Baltimore Museum of Art; Ellen Endslow at the Chester County Historical Society; Susan Brown and Maltilda McQuaid at the Cooper Hewitt, National Design Museum; Joann Potter and Joanne Lukacher at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College; Dan Ackermann, Jenny Garwood, and Gary Alpert at the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA); Madelyn Shaw and Sheryl DeJong at the National Museum of American History; Erin Richardson at the New York State Historical Association along with Dr. Cynthia Falk of the Cooperstown Graduate Program; Kate Irvin and Laurie Brewer at the Rhode Island School of Design's Museum of Art; Mary Brooks at the Westtown School; Elizabeth McCollum at the Windham County Historical Society in Vermont; as well as Linda Eaton and Roberta Weisberg at the Winterthur Museum (for Phase II objects). Funding to support the documentation of more than 1200 samplers from these 11 institutions was provided by a second award from the National Endowment for the Humanities (Award # PW-51671-14). We are tremendously thankful for this ongoing support from the NEH and their recognition that we have embarked on a complex, intensive project to uncover and celebrate the needlework accomplishments of our nation's female ancestors and their teachers.
Concurrent with both phases of the Sampler Archive Project has been two Statewide Sampler Initiatives, multi-year efforts to locate, photograph, and document the schoolgirl samplers and related girlhood embroideries in a state's public and private collections. Crucial to the success of these initiatives are Sampler ID Days where institutions and the public are invited to bring in their needlework objects to be photographed and documented. We are exceedingly grateful to the many curators, collectors, and descendants who brought in their samplers; the many dedicated documenters who volunteered their time and expertise, the photographers who took excellent high-resolution images; and the museums who hosted these key events. The Delaware Schoolgirl Sampler Initiative was funded by two awards from the Delaware Humanities Forum, with which we were able to support six Sampler ID Days, as well as a sampler symposium. We are deeply indebted to Jennifer Potts of the Delaware Historical Society (2013); Michael diPaolo of the Lewes Historical Society (2013); Ryan Grover at the Biggs Museum of American Art (2013 & 2014); and Deborah Buckson at Historic Odessa Foundation (2015) for serving as hosts for these events. Additional Sampler ID Days were hosted by the Biggs Museum (2015) and the New Castle Historical Society (2016), funded by Dr. Gloria Seaman Allen.
The Rhode Island Sampler Initiative is directed by Dr. Blaire Gagnon and we express our sincere appreciation for her enthusiasm, energy, and dedication to detail. In addition, we are deeply indebted to the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities (RICH) and the University of Rhode Island's Humanities Council for their financial support and early confidence in this initiative. For hosting the first round of Sampler ID Days in Rhode Island we express our sincere thanks to Jackie Brennan of the Babcock-Smith House Museum in Westerly; Dr. Margaret Ordonez and Susan Jerome of the University of Rhode Island in South Kingston; and Dr. Blaire Gagnon at the South County Museum in Narragansett.
Organizing the Sampler ID Days brought us into contact with many dedicated sampler collectors and we are excited about being able to share their collections with the public. In addition, we have focused on documenting two large private collections: the Glee Krueger Collection and the Mary Jo Johnson Collection. We are indebted to Glee Krueger for her rich scholarship on early American samplers, and also for her dedication to collecting and preserving these artifacts of girlhood accomplishment. We also especially want to acknowledge the dedicated work of her daughter Whitney Krueger, who has photographed and organized her mother's collection in a way that makes our documentation for the Sampler Archive possible. And we are enormously grateful to Mary Jo Johnson's family for access to their mother's excellent sampler collection and for seeking to honor her by having the collection documented for the Sampler Archive.
Sampler exhibitions provide an opportunity to see a focused group of objects normally located in diverse geographical locations. We applaud the two fabulous exhibitions of northern New England samplers hosted by the Saco Museum in Maine: I My Needle Ply with Skill (2013) and Industry and Virtue Joined (2015). We give a special thank you to Leslie Rounds and Tara Rose Raiselis for sharing images and documenting the samplers in both these exhibitions for the Sampler Archive. In 2014 the Sampler Consortium worked with the Biggs Museum of American Art in Dover and the Delaware Schoolgirl Sampler Initiative to host an exhibition of Delaware samplers entitled Wrought with Careful Hand: Ties of Kinship on Delaware Samplers. We express our most heartfelt appreciation to the museum's director Linda Danko and its curator Ryan Grover for hosting and mounting the samplers selected and researched by Drs. Lynne Anderson and Gloria Allen, Cynthia Steinhoff, Barbara Hutson, Sheryl DeJong, Susi B. Slocum, and Barbara Randau. Generous funding for Wrought with Careful Hand was provided by the Coby Foundation and the Delaware Humanities Forum and we are enormously appreciative of their support. And, of course, a big thank you goes to the many institutions, private collectors, and family descendants who agreed to loan their samplers for this exhibition.
Last, but certainly not least, we express our sincere appreciation to the Sampler Archive Project's advisors and consultants. Providing support, guidance, and expertise in very important and foundational ways are members of the Sampler Archive Advisory Board: Dr. Gloria Seaman Allen, Dr. Maureen Daly Goggin, Dr. Mary Kelley, Dr. Steven Lubar, Dr. Marla Miller, Dr. Susan Schoelwer, and Kathleen Staples. Special appreciation to the late Dr. Jennifer Monaghan, a former Advisory Board member, who enthusiastically endorsed and facilitated disseminating the work of the Sampler Archive Project in its earliest stages. Also advising the Sampler Archive Project, albeit in an ex officio role, are America's leading dealers in antique samplers: Amy Finkel of M. Finkel & Daughter, and Carol and Stephen Huber. Both have supported the development of the Sampler Archive from the beginning, asking important questions and responding to our queries for assistance with warmth and expertise. The Sampler Archive Project has also benefited greatly by advice from the New England Historic Genealogical Society on ways to document sources when presenting the genealogical information about sampler makers and their families.
And none of the above would have happened without the insight, dedication, and persistence of the field's early scholars, collectors, and curators. Above all, we want to draw attention to those individuals who played such a pioneering role in establishing the field of American girlhood embroideries as worthy of serious scholarship, and helped provide the groundwork for all of us who follow: Glee Krueger, Betty Ring, and Susan Burrows Swan.