Collections › MESDA Collection › Sampler


Gould, Elizabeth
Place Made:
Queen Anne’s County Maryland United States of America
Date Made:
silk on linen
HOA: 17; WOA 13 1/4
Accession Number:
The central portion of the sampler has one partial and one complete alphabet. Also present are the inscriptions (see below), a house with trees, flowers in pots and a dog. The border is composed of separate boxes surrounding a variety of flowers.

Two-ply twisted silk on plain weave linen; stitches: chain, counted cross, outline, rice, satin, single, split

STYLE: The style of this sampler and the one by Ann Gould, Elizabeth’s sister, is remarkable for the use of a wide border made up of individual boxes each containing a large flower. This composition appears frequently in samplers of a particular southeastern Pennsylvania school. It is possible that Ann and Elizabeth’s teacher learned to embroider in that school. Note the unusual trees pictured in both samplers. With further research these elements may help us identify the exact school the girls attended.

Needlework researcher Gloria Allen believes that these samplers were worked at a school in Queen Anne County, Maryland on the Eastern Shore as there are six almost identical samplers from that area, between 1807 and 1811. She writes, “Elizabeth and Ann Gould were the daughters of William and Anna Gould. He died in 1817 and named his wife and children in his will. Elizabeth, the only married daughter is identified in the will as Elizabeth Alexander–so the evidence is pretty strong. The other four samplers are by Julia Ann Hardcastle [in MESDA’s files and in part of QAC that became Caroline County], Elizabeth Baggs [Bolton & Co., p. 124], and Mary and Ann Browne [owned by the historical society of Carroll County.” (Gloria Allen e-mail to Johanna Brown 10/02/03–copy in Accession folder).

Each of the six sampler feature a brick house with garden, side borders divided into compartmented filled with flowers and birds, and a verse from Proverbs 31:10 – 31. The compartmented elements on these samplers are reminiscent of work produced at Leah Bratten Galligher Maguire’s school in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Perhaps the anonymous teacher responsible for this distinctive Maryland group had attended or was familiar with Mrs. Maguire’s sampler style.

Credit Line:
MESDA Purchase Fund