Black History in the Most Unique of Places

Admiring the traditions of craftsmanship that pass from generation to generation, I look forward to my children sharing my crafts of cooking, gardening, needlepoint, and photography with their children.

Sampler by Mary Pets (age 10 yrs.) ca. 1831

Sampler by Mary Pets, age 10 yrs., ca. 1831 (Oblate Sisters of Providence)

Craftsmanship is a torch that can either be carried along or snuffed by the winds of time. Perhaps that is why I find the Oblate Sisters of Providence in Baltimore, Maryland and their long tradition of teaching needlepoint to African-American school girls at the Saint Frances Academy in Baltimore so inspiring.

Many of their surviving needlepoint samplers of great quality and talent date from the early 19th Century. While samplers are often available today as reproduction patterns and kits, this needlepoint to the left, according to the Sister’s website, may be the first African American schoolgirl sampler to have a reproduction pattern and kit. What a wonderful way for new generations to learn and hone needlepoint skills of their own!

Garnering history from the most unique of places has expanded my knowledge on this area of African American history. I may even purchase Miss Mary Pet’s pattern for a needlepoint sampler project of my own. But my most pressing question of the day: “What happened to Mary Pet?” So, off I go on another research adventure.

Leaf’n a history,

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