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Whitework Dressing Table Cover by Nancy Moore Strayhorn

July 31, 1828 (dated)
Origin: America, Southeast, North Carolina, Orange Co.
OW including fringe: 52"; OL including fringe : 33"
Cotton embroidery on a cotton ground with cotton fringe.
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1999-224
This is a white cotton dressing table cover with white cotton embroidery and a woven and embroidered cotton 9" fringe at sides and bottom. It has a selvedge edge at top. The embroidered design consists of a grape (?), leaf, and vine border at sides and bottom with eleven scattered floral sprigs. Worked in the center of the dressing table cover is the inscription, "Nancy M. Strayhorn. Born July 31, 1814" and "July 31. 1828."

Stitches: French knots, laid (New England), satin, and stem/outline
Label:During the last quarter of the eighteenth and first quarter of the nineteenth centuries, it was fashionable to have quilted and embroidered covers for the dressing table at which a lady sat to dress in the morning. Especially popular in America were white cotton covers that were either stuffed quilted or embroidered in white cotton threads. Dressing table cloths were often marked with the maker's birth date as on this piece. Nancy may have worked her dressing table cover as part of her textile trousseau. The embroidered floral sprigs are similar to ones seen on other embroideries worked in North Carolina and may indicate a regional style.
Provenance:Per Sumpter Priddy, "Old time North Carolina collectors purchased this along with sampler show towel, and another dressing table cover from same house outside of Hillsborough, N.C. 25 to 30 years ago."
Settling in Orange County, North Carolina in 1755, the Strayhorn family was one of the earliest to travel from Pennsylvania, through Virginia to North Carolina's Piedmont. The Scotch-Irish family was instrumental in organizing New Hope Presbyterian Church in 1756.
History of owner of sermon log book:
Nancy Moore Strayhorn Craig was born in Orange County, North Carolina, on July 31, 1814, to Samuel Strayhorn (1784-1847) and Mary Moore Strayhorn (1791-1841) of North Carolina. Nancy's family was among the founding members of the New Hope Presbyterian Church, first established sometime around 1760 with a larger church built in 1806. Nancy married David Craig (1810--1893) of Orange County, North Carolina, in 1835. They had seven children born between 1836 and 1851, all in Orange County. Two of them, Samuel Craig (1836-1862) and William Craig (1840-1862) were killed during the Civil War while servng in NC regiments. Nancy died on July 22, 1889, at the age of 74 and is buried at the New Hope Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Orange County, North Carolina.