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Finding Katahdin Document Packets, Chapter 5, Section 3

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Zilpah Wadsworth sampler, Portland, 1786

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Zilpah Wadsworth sampler, Portland, 1786 / Maine Historical Society

<strong>Chapter 5, page 144-145.</strong>

Zilpah Wadsworth of Portland made this sampler when she was 8 years old in 1786.

Women were taught to be proficient at sewing and needlework. They made clothes, bedding, and decorative artworks. Most girls took their first stitches on samplers similar to Zilpah's. A sampler are a woven piece of cloth embroidered with alphabets, verses, flowers and other designs.

When industrialization and textile mills came to Maine in the mid-nineteenth century, women were no longer responsible for all the sewing needs of their families.

By 1850, samplers ceased to be a rite of passage into womanhood.