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Connecticut Needlework
Women, Art, and Family, 1740–1840
Susan P. Schoelwer; Kate Steinway, fwd.

Connecticut Historical Society
2010 • 240 pp. 225 illus. (205 color) 9 1/2 x 12"
American Art / Connecticut / Women's Studies / Women's History

$30.00 Paper, 978-1-881264-12-5
$65.00 Cloth, 978-1-881264-11-8

$14.99 E-Book, 978-0-8195-7126-7

Ebook available from your favorite ebook retailer, including Kindle, iBooks, and other formats, and many libraries.

“The works are beautifully presented, each with its own large, full-color photo.” Maine Antique Digest

Masterworks from the extraordinary needlework collections of the Connecticut Historical Society

Connecticut women have long been noted for their creation of colorful and distinctive needlework, including samplers and family registers, bed rugs and memorial pictures, crewel-embroidered bed hangings and garments, silk-embroidered pictures of classical or religious scenes, quilted petticoats and bedcovers, and whitework dresses and linens. This volume offers the first regional study, encompassing the full range of needle arts produced prior to 1840. Seventy entries showcase more than one hundred fascinating examples—many never before published—from the Connecticut Historical Society’s extensive collection of this early American art form. Produced almost exclusively by women and girls, the needle arts provide an illuminating vantage point for exploring early American women’s history and education, including family-based traditions predating the establishment of formal academies after the American Revolution. Extensive genealogical research reveals unseen family connections linking various types of needlework, similar to the multi-generational male workshops documented for other artisan trades, such as woodworking or metalsmithing. Photographs of stitches, reverse sides, sketches, design sources, and related works enhance our understanding and appreciation of this fragile art form and the talented women who created it. An exhibition of needlework in this book will be held at the Connecticut Historical Society in late fall, 2010. Funding for this project has been provided by the Coby Foundation, Ltd., and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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Connecticut Needlework is Susan Schoelwer’s third remarkable book in scarcely a decade and a comprehensive catalog of inestimable value to collectors and curators. It is a seminal work of incredible depth that projects women’s domestic art into the pantheon of invaluable cultural documents.”—Sumpter Priddy, author of American Fancy: Exuberance in the Arts 1790–1840

“This selection of needlework from the Connecticut Historical Society, enhanced by Susan Schoelwer's thorough scholarly analysis of materials, designs, imagery, and use, establishes needlework as an important part of the visual culture of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century America. Whether worn, framed on the wall, or used as bed covers, needlework was seen by generations of families and friends. This is a model for further needlework studies.”—Georgia B. Barnhill, American Antiquarian Society

SUSAN PRENDERGAST SCHOELWER is curator at George Washington's Mount Vernon. She previously served as director of museum collections at the Connecticut Historical Society. She is the editor of Connecticut Valley Furniture: Eliphalet Chapin and His Contemporaries, 1750–1800 (2000) and Lions & Eagles & Bulls: Early American Tavern & Inn Signs from the Connecticut Historical Society (2000).

Fri, 26 Aug 2011 09:58:03 -0500