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Welcome to the Sampler Archive

The Sampler Archive database has been designed to share detailed information and high-resolution images of American girlhood samplers and pictorial embroideries from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. It is a collaborative effort, led by the University of Delaware's Winterthur Program in American Material Culture and the University of Oregon's Center for Advanced Technology in Education.

Major funding for the Sampler Archive has been provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities: (Award # PW-50897-11 for Phase 1 and Award # PW-51671-14 for Phase 2).

From the Director, Lynne Anderson

Developing the Sampler Archive has been a labor of love for many, many people and it has taken much longer than any of us expected to reach this point. To get a sense of the magnitude of the effort, please read the Acknowledgements page and details about our many Contributors. At every stage of the process we had to make hard decisions – what to document and what to leave out, what criteria to adopt for images, what terminology to apply, what decision rules to use when making estimates, how to present a lot of information in a small amount of space, how much scholarship to include, and on and on and on. What you currently see here represents our best efforts and our well-considered compromises, but the process is not complete and we have undoubtedly missed some crucial things. At this point we want to get your input before the online database grows so large it is difficult to modify. We have thousands of additional objects photographed and documented and waiting to be included in the Sampler Archive. Your timely review and feedback is essential to ensuring that we make any needed modifications quickly, and then start the process of adding information and images from the collections of our many contributing partners. Please use the feedback form on the Contact page to provide us with your input. A very sincere thank you for your interest and involvement in this important effort.

Browse the Sampler Archive



Accessing the Sampler Archive database

You may access the Sampler Archive database in two major ways. To browse, use the top menu to go to the Browse page and select any of the filters listed (e.g. contributor, decade, place made, etc.). Your selection will return all the objects in the database within that category. You can also browse by selecting any of these same filters from the Home Page.

If you have a more specific idea of what you are looking for, then go to the Search page. Here you may enter multiple search criteria at the same time (e.g., "name, decade, AND state made" or "materials, object type, AND year). The database will return search results matching all the search terms you entered.

Coming soon

The Sampler Archive database will continue to grow over the next months and several years, with additional information and images from sampler collections across the United States, both public and private. Coming soon will be results from the Delaware Statewide Sampler Initiative (2013-2016) - information and images for more than 300 samplers and pictorial embroideries from public and private collections in the state of Delaware. This initiative was funded by grants from the Delaware Humanities Forum and the Coby Foundation.

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