Maria Lalor (American)
New York, New York
Silk on linen; 5 1/2 x 6 1/2 in. (14 x 16.5 cm)
Inscribed: [two alphabets and numbers] / Maria. Lalor. Her / sampler. New. York / March 3 1793 / Virtue and Wisdom is / Better than Beauty and / Fortune
Gift of Elizabeth M. Riley, 1993 (1993.100)
Miniature samplers, like this charming example, are fairly unusual. This type of simple sampler was undertaken by a little girl, usually younger than age ten. Possibly made at a "dame school," its purpose was to help the child learn letters and numbers as well as basic embroidery skills. The motto would have been considered an appropriately modest and feminine sentiment.