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Framed Sampler by Sarrah [sic] Ann Pollard

1818 (dated)
Origin: America, Massachusetts, Essex County, Salem
Overall: 21 x 20 1/2in. (53.3 x 52.1cm) Framed: 24 1/4 x 23 1/4in. (61.6 x 59.1cm)
Flat silk embroidery threads on a linen ground of 27 by 27 threads per inch
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 2011-103
This is an almost square sampler worked in flat silk embroidery threads in shades of gold, brown, blue, green, peach, cream, and white on a natural color linen ground of 27 x 27 threads per inch. The top fourth of the sampler consists of a centered basket of fruit flanked by four birds under an arched vine of flowers. Flanking the arch are vases of flowers. Beneath this is a sawtooth band worked in satin stitches. The center section of the sampler consists of a large basket or vase with a flowering motif flanked by two dogs. This is set within a square with a sawtooth border. Flanking the square are floral motifs, some with "pinwheel" flowers. The bottom fourth of the sampler consists of the signature line and verse: "Sarrah [sic] Ann Pollard He [r]/ Work Done At year 1818/ Clarrisa Lawrence School/virtue the the [sic] chief beauty of the ornament mind the nob/ lest virtue of the female kind beauty without virtu is [no valu]". This is bordered in a wave motif. Flanking the signature box are vases of floral motifs.

The sampler is framed in a nineteenth-century frame and under Plexiglas.

Stitches and techniques: bullion, cross (over one and two threads), French knot, outline/stem, satin (long and short), straight stitches worked in a lattice pattern
Label:Worked by Sarrah [sic] Ann Pollard (ca. 1809-1839), an African American child, at the school of Clarrisa Lawrence, in Salem, Massachusetts, this sampler is extremely rare. Sarrah Pollard is probably the Sally Pollard listed as a "Negro" who died of consumption at the age of thirty in the Salem almshouse in 1839. Clarrisa Lawrence was a self-taught mulatto woman who was the preceptress at the Salem African School from 1807 to 1823. An African American of status in the Salem community, in 1819 she served as president of the Colored Female Religious and Moral Society. In 1832 Mrs. Lawrence was a founding member of the Women's Anti-Slavery Society (made up of African Americans), which in 1834 was folded into the larger anti-slavery group of white females where she served as a vice president. In 1838 she took the stage at the third national convention of abolitionist women in Philadelphia saying, "We meet the monster prejudice everywhere...We cannot elevate ourselves...We want light; we ask it, and it is denied us. Why are we thus treated? Prejudice is the cause."
Provenance:Provenance of Sampler:
The sampler was offered for sale online by Old South Jersey Glass Gallery (William H. Flowers) in 2011. In late August it was shown by Ann Fassnacht at the York, Pennsylvania Antique Show where it was purchased by Bill Subjack. Nothing more is known of the sampler's provenance.

History of Samplermaker:
Rootsweb.com revealed an unmarried Sally Pollard age 30 listed as a "Negro" who died from consumption in the Salem, Massachusetts almshouse in 1839.

History of Teacher:
Born circa 1781, Clarissa [Chloe Minns] Lawrence was a self-educated free mulato woman who was recognized as a leader of black women in the Salem, Massachusetts community. She was the preceptress at the Salem African School from 1807 to 1823. In 1819 she served as president of the Colored Female Religious and Moral Society. In 1832 Mrs. Lawrence was a founding member of the Women's Anti-Slavery Society (made up of African Americans), which in 1834 was folded into the larger anti-slavery group of white females where she served as a vice president. In 1838 she took the stage at the third national convention of abolitionist women in Philadelphia saying, "We meet the monster prejudice everywhere...We cannot elevate ourselves...We want light; we ask it, and it is denied us. Why are we thus treated? Prejudice is the cause."
Inscription(s):"Sarrah [sic] Ann Pollard He [r]/ Work Done At year 1818/ Clarrisa Lawrence School/virtue the the [sic] chief beauty of the ornament mind the nob/ lest virtue of the female kind beauty without virtu is [no valu]"