Saturday, November 19, 2016

Girlhood Embroidery by Betty Ring

This is the 'bible' of embroidery books about American samplers.  A two volume set, it was the culmination of the life's work by Betty Ring.  She was able to identify that these girlhood embroideries were done in schools and use genealogy and advertisements to identify the groups of samplers from different regions around the USA.

A group of speakers at the recent Winterthur Symposium were talking at a lovely dinner hosted by some eminent collectors, when the host asked several of us (Amelia Peck at the MET, Amy Finkel, and myself) if Betty's work still held up to the scrutiny of time.  We all enthusiastically said YES!  Many of us had worked on projects to delve into individual regions she covered and knew of many others who had done the same.  None of us knew a case where an extreme focus on a region had uncovered contradictory information, although many of us had found more supporting samplers and information to further validate her initial conclusions.  That is pretty incredible.

A set of her books is being sold on auction tomorrow on live auctioneers and the bidding is low at the moment.  Perhaps one of the readers would like to add it to their library and here is a chance.



  1. Wow - I just went to look and it sold for $55. Someone got a bargain - it sold for more than that when it was new. And like you, I think this book is invaluable and all in the information and photographs in it just as relevant today as when it was first published.

  2. Someone did get a bargain. I'm lucky enough to have a signed first edition...very special to me.