Storeroom Stories: Bachman Sampler

The Museum recently added to its needlework sampler collection by purchasing a schoolgirl sampler made by Julia Margaret Bachman, the daughter of Rev. John Bachman and Harriet Martin of Charleston. He was the minister at St. John’s Lutheran Church and was also an avid naturalist. He collaborated with John James Audubon on Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America and Julia helped by copying his original notes for publication in the early 1840s.

John Bachman was a strong proponent of education so it is not surprising that his daughter would have been taught from an early age. A schoolgirl sampler was usually a child’s first proof of a proper education, both in letters and in needlework. The work often contained a moral verse reflecting the child’s religious education as well. Julia, born in 1825, would have been just seven (in the eighth year of her age) when she completed this well-stitched sampler. She died a young woman on September 8, 1847 and is buried in Virginia.

In addition to a sampling of alphabet letters, numerals and motifs, Julia stitched these words, from a hymn published by Isaac Watts in 1709:

Give to the Father praise
Give glory to the Son
And to the Spirit of his grace
Be equal honour done

To sign her work, she stitched:
Julia Margaret Bachman Wrought this Sampler in The eight year of her age August 8 1833