Rachel Breck's Sampler

This sampler features an alphabet, numbers, flowers, baskets, birds, and trees all worked in cross stitch, while the background is completely filled in with long vertical stitches. The flower baskets symbolize friendship and love, and the birds on the trees would indicate her love of nature. The figure within the cartouche is balanced by a four-storied building, which may depict the school or academy that inspired the design. The sampler is stitched with silk embroidery thread on a linen ground with a thread count of 26/in warp, 24/in weft. The stitches used are cross, satin, chain, French knots, and straight. Rachel included the inscription:

Alas how transient all our earthly store
To-day we bloom tomorrow are no more
Rachel Breck / aged 11
Rachel Breck also stitched a silk embroidery in 1810 entitled “Charity” at the Misses Patten School in Hartford, Connecticut.
Rachel Breck was born July 22, 1792, to Joseph Hunt (1766-1801), a silversmith, and Abigail Kingsley (c1766-1846) Breck of Northampton, Massachusetts. In 1819 Rachel married George Hooker who was born 1798 to John and Sarah (Dwight) Hooker of Northampton. He went to Yale, class of 1814 and was a physician who resided in Longmeadow, Massachusetts. They had 8 children born between 1820 and 1833 and Rachel died in January 6,1879.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Breck, Rachel
Physical Description
linen (ground material)
silk (thread material)
overall: 12 3/4 in x 13 3/4 in; 32.385 cm x 34.925 cm
place made
United States: Massachusetts, Northampton
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Textiles
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Additional Media

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