"Samplers reveal much about their makers' world, often providing details of their creators' names, ages, families, and locations. Because they are products of a particular society, samplers reflect attitudes, expectations, and changes within that culture" (Ivey, 2002).
Samplers in America were usually created by girls and young women as part of their educational studies and are an area of interest for students of material culture. At the University of Delaware there are multiple programs concerned with material culture including the Center for Material Culture Studies, the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture, the Department of Art Conservation, the Museum Studies Program, the Department of Art History, the Center for Historic Architecture and Design, and doctoral programs in both Preservation Studies and the History of American Civilization (Department of History. (“The Sampler Archive Project,” (“The Sampler Archive Project,” n.d.).
As the Sampler Archive Project reports, “No other university in the country has such a large cluster of scholars and students working on the history, theory, and professional practices associated with material culture” (“The Sampler Archive Project,” n.d.). In addition, the University of Delaware Winterthur Program in American Material Culture Studies, in conjunction with the University of Oregon, created and maintains the Sampler Project Archive, a “national digital archive and searchable database of samplers stitched by American girls in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries” (“The Sampler Archive Project,” n.d.).
In 2018, there were more than 7,500 students enrolled specifically in the College of Arts and Sciences in which the degree programs mentioned above, both undergraduate and graduate, are located (“UD Facts,” 2018). This LibGuide is intended to be used by these students who are learning about samplers and wish to research further about the topic, as well as for those adults in the larger Delaware community who are interested in learning more about the subject of samplers as a result of the University of Delaware’s involvement in the Sampler Archive Project.
Specifically, this LibGuide looks at resources which are available at the Morris Library, the main library for the University of Delaware, which are at the Winterthur Library, which is connected to the University of Delaware through the joint University of Delaware Winterthur Program in American Material Culture Studies, or which are available freely online. According to the 2017/2018 library report, more than 950,000 individuals entered the Morris Library during the 2017/2018 time period (University, 2018). Likely, this population included students as well as community members. There are currently over 2,780,000 books and bound periodicals available at the Morris Library and users have access to more than 76,000 electronic journals and newspapers, as well as ebooks, print journals, and more (University of Delaware Library, 2018). In addition, there are over 100,000 books in the Winterthur Library open stacks with 20,000 rare imprints in the closed stacks (Harbaugh, 2018).