, Gloucester, MA


April 11, 2013

Education and embroidery

Museum installing new needlework at free program

The education of girls in New England in the decades after the United States became a new nation will be the topic of a special event at Gloucester’s Sargent House Museum, along with the unveiling of a gift to the museum.

The public event takes place Sunday, April 14, at 2 p.m.; the program is titled “Ornaments of the Mind: Needlework and a New England Girl’s Education.”

The Sargent House Museum, at 49 Middle St., is readily seen from Gloucester’s Main Street. The house was built in 1782 for Judith Sargent Stevens (1751-1820), a philosopher, writer and an early advocate of women’s equality. After her husband died, she married John Murray, the founder of Universalism in America after he moved to Gloucester.

Guest speaker will be Laura Johnson, associate curator of Historic New England, who will present a lecture on “female academies” of the early 19th century founded by such women as Judith Sargent Murray, Judith Saunders and Clementina Beach.

“Female education was an essential component of Judith Sargent Murray’s understanding of the promise of the Enlightenment and the principles of equality and justice that formed the intellectual basis of the new republic,” according to a press release. In that era, girls learned reading, writing and arithmetic as well as how to paint in oil and watercolor and do needlework.

Barbara Silberman, president of the Sargent House, said the museum recently acquired an excellent example of this intricate needlework. The piece was originally presented to Nancy Parsons Sargent by her nieces Anna Williams and Julia Maria Murray, the latter Judith Sargent Murray’s only child. The needlework was handed down through the Sargent family and donated by Virginia Pleasants. Her niece will discuss the Sargent family connections.

The work is based on a painting by Angelica Kauffman (1740–1807). The composition depicts Cornelia, a model of what the ancient Romans called “civic” motherhood. In the image, Cornelia, a Roman mother, is with another matron who shows off her jewels; and when this woman asks to see Cornelia’s gems, she brings out her two sons, claiming that they are her true treasures, according to a blog about the image.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Your news, your way
Pictures of the Week
Comments Tracker
AP Entertainment Videos
Adam Levine Launches Clothing Line for Women Paul Wesley Sinks His Teeth Into Directing Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Josh Thompson Streams Album to Hook New Fans Franco Leads Star-studded Broadway Cast ShowBiz Minute: Singer, Young, Poehler Sparks Fly With Derulo and Jordin on New Album Nas Movie Opens Tribeca Film Festival Zooey Deschanel Adds Designing to Her Repertoire Miley Cyrus Still in Hospital, Cancels 2nd Show 'Half of a Yellow Sun' Hits the Big Screen Diaz Gets Physical for New Comedy Swift's Bus Drives Into Country Hall of Fame ShowBiz Minute: Cyrus, Walker, Combs Pedro Pascal Plays 'Game of Thrones'' Red Viper Deeley Shows Acting Chops in Hulu's 'Deadbeat' Ora Strips Efron at MTV Awards ShowBiz Minute: MTV Awards, Lopez, Royals Stars Hit Red Carpet for MTV Movie Awards Conan Backs Colbert, Hosts MTV Movie Awards