Mary Elizabeth Hiester (1784‒1806) worked this sampler at school in Reading, Pennsylvania, in 1795, when she was 11 years old. From a prosperous family, she married Henry Augustus Muhlenberg in 1805 but died shortly after the birth of their daughter the following year. In 1807 Muhlenberg married Mary’s sister, Rachel, who later taught school in Reading. Two samplers dated 1826 are thought to have been made by Rachel’s students and closely resemble Mary’s earlier one. Rachel almost certainly worked a similar sampler herself, but it has not yet been discovered.
Sampler Worked by Mary Elizabeth Hiester Reading, Pennsylvania; 1795 Silk on linen, silk ribbon 2009.6 Museum purchase with funds provided by the Henry Francis du Pont Collectors Circle.