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Ruth Strong Russell (1804-1869) Sampler
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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Ruth Strong Russell was a resident of Greenfield, Massachusetts, in 1814, when she stitched this sampler. It is typical of the sort of needlework produced by girls attending private academies. A teacher usually dictated the design of the sampler; the result was a combination of the instructor's skill in the artistic arrangement of stitches and a child's skill with the needle. This sampler suggests that Ruth's parents had the means and the desire to send her to a private academy. Ruth Strong Russell was born September 19, 1804, the daughter of John Russell and Electa Edwards. Her father was a jeweler. She went on to become a teacher herself. In 1855, she purchased the large house in Greenfield that had been owned by Hart Leavitt and later Charles Barnard of Boston, and with her sister, Hannah S. Russell, ran a young ladies' high school. Never married, she died in 1869. Her sister continued their school until her death in 1884. The sampler's epigraph, "Beauty and wit" comes from A Review of the Principle Questions in Morals (1758), the first book of Richard Price (1723-1791.) Price was a Presbyterian minister in England. Price's writings enjoyed a wide and enthussiastic readership in the new United States.
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