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Tennessee Sampler Workshop

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Tennessee State Library and Archives

403 7th Avenue North

Nashville, TN 37243

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Documents made with pen and paper aren't the only important records of Tennessee history. In some cases, the stories of the state's early days are stitched together in embroidered cloth patches known as samplers. On May 6, the Tennessee State Library & Archives will host a free workshop describing what these samplers can reveal about the lives of our ancestors.

Samplers, once made by schoolgirls learning how to embroider, can be valuable primary sources for genealogists. Family registers were usually copied directly from family Bibles, listing names, births and death dates. When compared to public records, the dates on samplers are often more accurate. For example, if a girl was born and died unmarried before the 1850 census, her sampler might be the only proof of her existence. Some samplers also included details such as the name of a girl’s school, her teachers and the town where she lived.

Janet S. Hasson, the former curator at Belle Meade Plantation, will conduct the workshop from 9:30 a.m. until 11 a.m. May 6 in the auditorium of the Library & Archives building. The Library & Archives is located at 403 Seventh Avenue North, directly west of the Tennessee State Capitol in downtown Nashville. Although the event is free and open to the public, registration is required due to seating limitations in the auditorium.

Hasson is the genealogist for the Tennessee Sampler Survey, a nonprofit organization she founded in 2004 with her colleague Jennifer C. Core. The organization is dedicated to the documentation and preservation of Tennessee’s needlework. The group has documented approximately 240 samplers so far. The authenticity of those samplers has been verified by extensive genealogical research, most of it done at the Library & Archives. Hasson will share the fun and frustration she experienced in solving some of the sampler makers’ stories. When the group's project is complete, all research materials will be donated to the Library & Archives for public use. For more information on the samplers and their stories they tell, visit the Tennessee Sampler Survey website, www.tennesseesamplers.com.

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Tennessee State Library and Archives

403 7th Avenue North

Nashville, TN 37243

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