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Object Name: Sampler
Date: 1768
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Medium: Linen, silk
Dimensions: Overall: 10 1/8 x 8 1/4 in. ( 25.7 x 21 cm )
Place made: North America, United States, New York
Description: Vertical rectangular linen cross-stitch sampler with various colors of silk floss; horizontal rows of alphabet, inscription, name, date and numbers, some separated by rows of stitching; cross-stitch.
Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Edward Rutledge
Object Number: 1954.182
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Marks: embroidered: bottom third, in various colors of floss: "CATHERINE BANCKER/HER WORK AGED 7 YE/ARS 1768 AUGUST TH/E SECOND DAY OF THE/MONTH"

Gallery Label:

Catherine Bancker completed this simple alphabet sampler in 1768 when she was seven years old. The sampler was likely her first sewing project, an introduction to the cross-stitch technique she would use to mark family linens when she took charge of her own household.

Catherine's sampler verse reads: "This work in hands my friends may have when I am dead and laid in the grave." In an era when one in ten children did not survive their first year and almost four in ten died before age six, her verse reflected the heightened awareness of mortality typical of eighteenth-century children.

Catherine Bancker (b. 1760) was the daughter of William Bancker and Anna Rutgers. She married Abraham De Peyster (1763-1801) in 1784.


"Home Sewn: Three Centuries of Stitching History," New-York Historical Society, November 18, 2003-April 18, 2004.