Selina A. Lary,

Selina A. Lary,

Shelburne, Coos County,
New Hampshire, 1831

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sampler size: 16¾” x 17½” • framed size: 20¾” x 21½” • sold

Well-documented samplers made by girls who lived in far northern New Hampshire aren’t easily found and this one has a particularly fresh and folky aesthetic. The freeform composition and embroidery that create the scene at the bottom and the side borders are responsible for this visual appeal, and the two line aphorism, “When land is gone and money is spent Then learning‘s our only fortune,” adds measurably to the sampler as well. The maker was eleven-year-old Selina A. Lary, who was born in Shelburne, a town at the northern end of the White Mountain Range and very close to the Maine border.

Selina chose to stitch a charming scene of a cottage set onto low hills with leafy trees and an unlikely flowering plant. Her inscription is contained within two elongated octagons that are joined by geometric elements, an unusual device; one has the sense that she enjoyed making this delightful sampler.

Born on March 9, 1820, Selina was the daughter of Jonathan Lary (1787-1868) and Susannah Burbank (1788-1851), who were originally from Gilead, Maine and were married in 1812. History of Coos County, New Hampshire by George Drew Merrill (W. A. Ferguson & Co, 1888) includes information about the family in the sections concerning Shelburne (“Early Settlers”) and Gorham (“First Mills”). Jonathan was credited with building the first grist mill in the Gorham, a town just west of Shelburne, in 1834 and two years later, the first saw mill. He was also a farmer and served as the town postmaster. Selina married John Eaton and they lived in Lisbon Falls, Androscoggin County, Maine where they had at least three children. She died in 1899.

Worked in silk on linen, the sampler is in excellent condition and has now been conservation mounted into a figured maple frame with a cherry bead.

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