Textiles

Antique Textile 1801 Massachusetts Sampler of Mary Nelson Briggs Daughter of Child Born on Mayflower
  • Offered is another schoolgirl sampler from the Houston area estate.  A charming alphabet & numeral sampler from Middleborough, Massachusetts was worked by 11 year old Mary N. Briggs in 1812--the daughter of a child born on the Mayflower.  Mary worked a floral border around the top and the top two-thirds of the sides with satin and stem stitches in burnt sienna, ecru and green.  Mary included cursive alphabet with no "I" (possibly the cursive letter is an "I" and it is the "j" that is missing) or "O".  Below the cursive is a smaller alphabet of block letters in which the "J" & "U" are missing.  On the bottom third of this charming sampler, Mary worked the following verse

    Jesus permit Thy gracious name to stand
    As the first effort of an infant hand
    And while her fingers o'er this canvas move
    Engage her tender heart to seek Thy love
    With thy dear children let her share a part,
    And write thy name thyfelf upon her he
    art

    Dear Mary ran short on space, causing her to run many of the words of her verse together and splitting the last word "heart" between two lines.  The running together of the words, the fading of the thread color, and the tiny size of the letters all make it difficult to read the verse.  Mary also signed her needlework, and listed her age,  hometown and the date "Mary N. Briggs aged 11 Middleborough 1812".

    Mary Nelson Briggs was born April 1, 1801 in in Plymouth, Massachusetts to Ebenezer Briggs and wife Hannah Nelson Briggs.  Mary's father Ebenezer was born upon the Mayflower January 7, 1769.  Mary married Ezra Thomas of Taunton, MA on October 25, 1837.  If online family histories are to be believed, Ezra was 14 years Mary's junior.  Together they had at least 4 children and lived in Canada and Cleveland, Ohio.  Mary died before June 1, 1880 (possibly in 1867), probably in Cleveland.

    This historical piece of American history is housed in a dark-stained cushioned wood frame which measures 11 1/4" x 17.  The frame is late 19th-early 20th century.  The silk thread on linen sampler is sewn onto cotton fabric which is glued to wood-pulp cardstock.  There are remnants of black paper glued to the back of the cotton fabric--on this black paper is a trade label of "Wm Peters / Pictures and Picture Frames / Restoring-Regilding / _69 South St., Morristown, N.J.".  This is likely the person who sewed the sampler to the cotton backing and glued it onto the card.  It has been framed again after Peters worked on it, but I couldn't save that trade label.  I cleaned up the loose black paper as best I could, cleaned the glass, put the sampler (on cotton & card) back into the frame, backed that with archival ragboard and sealed it all with archival black framer's paper.  I acquired the sampler with a remnant of a typed and hand-printed label which I have put into an archival mylar sleeve and taped onto the reverse.  The label translates the sentiment and also says:

    SAMPLER
    of
    MARY NELSON BRIGGS, 1801 - 1867 -
    MARRIED EZRA THOMAS -
    CHILDREN: EBEN. BRIGGS, MARY, ANNA NELSON, EUNICE

    There is another line of written text, but, because of paper loss, I cannot read it.

    There is fading to the thread color and darkening to the linen background.  Remarkably, I find no thread of linen loss.  The frame has some scratches as can be seen in the image.  The image directly below this description is taken without flash--all others taken with the aid of flash.

    I'm happy to email larger format photos for you to see.

    (#5454)     $1150