Teacher Lesson Ideas

Education and Samplers in Antebellum South Carolina

This lesson, developed in partnership with Historic Brattonsville and the York County Museum, used an exhibit of antebellum samplers at the York County Museum to address the educational opportunities available to antebellum children and the skills taught to young girls. Such skills included spelling and arithmetic, as well as domestic arts such as needlework, all of which may be seen in the creation of samplers. The lesson also used map sources to locate female academies of the time period within the present day landscape. Much of the historical background was taken from Virtue Leads and Grace Reveals: Embroideries and Education in Antebellum South Carolina, by Pat Vesey of Historic Brattonsville. Students were then asked to design their own samplers.

Cynthia Jonas
York Junior High School, SC
2003 Upstate Institute

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