Being able to produce fine embroidery was a sign of female accomplishment and education in the nineteenth century. Martha "Patty" Phelps came to Deerfield Academy in May 1804, only one month after her mother died. She spent the summer stitching this silk-on-silk embroidery recording her mother's and her young brother's deaths. Mourning pictures like these were a way of expressing a family's sorrow and sense of loss. The weeping willows and urns Patty Phelps sewed were traditional symbols of mourning in the nineteenth century.