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The National Society of

The Colonial Dames of


actively promotes our

national heritage


historic preservation,

patriotic service

and educational


 Sampler Survey
   Welcome to the world of Samplers and Pictorial Needlework
        Search Survey Results Now

American samplers and pictorial embroideries created by girls and young women are today a valuable insight to the social history of women's culture and education in the 17th-19th centuries.

In 1921 The National Society of The Colonial Dames in The Commonwealth of Massachusetts published American Samplers, by Ethel Stanwood Bolton and Eve Johnston Coe. This book contains some 2,500 descriptions of samplers, and is still considered today the most comprehensive listing of samplers ever compiled. Since that time much has been discovered about the teachers and students that created these beautiful needleworks, many more have surfaced and the awareness of their existence much greater. So here we are some 85 years later conducting another survey that will include samplers in museums, historical societies, individual collections, as well as those owned by the NSCDA Museum Houses, our members and friends.

Our goal is to collect an inventory up to the present culminating with a publication and an exhibit, which will promote the study of samplers and pictorial embroideries.

Sampler, Elizabeth Estey. 1789.
Fabric: W 11 1/2": L 17 1/4".
Frame: W 12 7/8": L 18 5/8"

If you are interested in genealogy, embroidery, history of samplers, or research who, what, when and where, please join this survey.

Two concerns often expressed are anonymity and confidentiality in regard to the owners of these samplers. Privacy will be provided. The importance to scholars is not where an object is located, but its existence.

Please download the SamplerSurveyForm, fill it out and return it to There is no cutoff date. After receipt, forms will be computerized to provide easy access for source material for exhibits and publications. They are an invaluable source for research. This survey will further preserve the importance of this art, assist in evaluating these treasures, and add to the collective knowledge base.

Note: Please send a clear color photograph or digital image file, without glare. Outside place the needlework upright in the sun and stand in the shade and take a direct view. A color photocopy is also excellent. A clear picture will insure that all the stitches, motifs and details will be visible to be evaluated.

Please join in this valuable project.

Note about SampleSurveyForm: there are certain shaded areas on the form which indicate areas where you may enter information. The shading will only display on the screen, it will not print on your final form. If gridlines appear on your form, you can hide the gridlines by clicking on Tables, then Hide Gridlines.  Gridlines may appear if you have an older version of Microsoft Word.

You must use the Tab or Cursor/Arrow keys to move between the shaded areas where you enter data.  Please save your form on your computer and then send it as an email attachment to