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About the Rhode Island Historical Society (RIHS)

The Rhode Island Historical Society (RIHS) was founded in 1822 and is dedicated to collecting, preserving, and sharing Rhode Island's history. The RIHS holds the country's largest and most important historical collections relating to Rhode Island. These collections include some 25,000 objects, 5,000 manuscripts, 100,000 books and printed items, 400,000 photographs and maps, and 9 million feet of motion-picture film. The RIHS also owns and maintains the John Brown House Museum (a National Historic Landmark built in 1788); the Aldrich House (a National Historic Landmark, built in 1822); and the RIHS Library and Research Center. The RIHS regularly hosts curated exhibits, films, concerts, and other community activities and programs.

In 1983 the Rhode Island Historical Society hosted "Let Virtue be a Guide to Thee: Needlework in the Education of Rhode Island Women, 1730-1830," a sampler exhibition curated by noted sampler scholar Betty Ring. The exhibition was accompanied by a large full color catalog of the same name, published in 1983 by the Rhode Island Historical Society.

About the RIHS Sampler Collection

The RIHS has a collection of 106 samplers and related schoolgirl embroideries, most of which have Rhode Island origins or historical connections to the state. The oldest sampler in the collection was stitched in 1733 by Katherine Holden (1717-1807) of Warwick, RI. The most recent is an alphabet sampler stitched by Eliza Barnes Weeden in 1879. All but one of the RIHS samplers is believed to be American in origin. The exception is an 1825 sampler stitched by Janet Russell, probably in Scotland. The Rhode Island Historical Society was one of three pilot sites during Phase 1 of the Sampler Archive Project, helping project staff to develop documentation procedures and guidelines.

Click to browse the objects contributed by the Rhode Island Historical Society.


Contacts and Permissions

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The Rhode Island Historical Society holds the copyright for its images in the Sampler Archive database. Feel free to use the images for personal research and education.

For permission to publish any images in an online or paper-based publication please email reproductions@rihs.org or call 401.273.8107 x421.

RIHS works hard to make the collection accessible to all. For further information about an object or to make an appointment to see an object or group of objects please email reference@rihs.org or call 401.273.8107 x410.

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