The 50,000 objects in the textile collections fall into two main categories: raw fibers, yarns, and fabrics, and machines, tools, and other textile technology. Shawls, coverlets, samplers, laces, linens, synthetics, and other fabrics are part of the first group, along with the 400 quilts in the National Quilt Collection. Some of the Museum's most popular artifacts, such as the Star-Spangled Banner and the gowns of the first ladies, have an obvious textile connection.
The machinery and tools include spinning wheels, sewing machines, thimbles, needlework tools, looms, and an invention that changed the course of American agriculture and society. A model of Eli Whitney's cotton gin, made by the inventor in the early 1800s, shows the workings of a machine that helped make cotton plantations profitable in the South and encouraged the spread of slavery.
"Textiles - Overview" showing 1 items.
- One script and four block alphabets. Numbers to 10 and to 16. Two large and one small alphabet colored in groups of two; fourth alphabet colored in groups of four; numbers and smallest alphabet one color. Rows of alphabets and numbers separated by geometric crossbands; some geometric motifs used to fill spaces on rows of alphabets. Lower third of sampler contains two urns of free-stitched flowers surrounding large basket of fruit with side leaves. Geometric design border on all four sides. Silk embroidery thread on linen ground. STITCHES: cross, crosslet, satin, Algerian eye, rice, double herringbone, stem, four-sided. THREAD COUNT: warp 29, weft 29/in.
- "[Margaret] C. Simmons Work Washington City Oct th 2 d
- Margaret was born about 1819 to James and Mary Simmons. James is listed as a cooper, a barrel-maker, living at the Navy Yard in the 1822 Washington, D.C. directory. The court records of the District of Columbia record the marriage of Margaret C. Simmons to Patrick Dowling on May 9, 1839. In 1847 they had a son named Julius, who married Rosa M. Kuhn on January 10, 1877. Julius enlisted to serve in the Civil War in 1864 under the alias name of John Dickson. Miss Simmons's first name is missing from her sampler, but she made another sampler, typical of Navy Yard samplers, that included her whole name. Finding that sampler in a private collection made it possible to identify this sampler. Margaret died sometime after the birth of Julius in 1847, and before October 2, 1852, when her husband Patrick remarried.
- Currently not on view
- Date made
- Simmons, Margaret C.
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center