Circa 1800 needlework marking sampler, signed E.F. Blake, attributed to Elizabeth Fay Blake, the niece of cotton gin inventor Eli Whitney (1765-1825). The rectangular sampler has a cross stitched border enclosing upper and lower case alphabets, a cursive upper case alphabet and a row of numbers. Two small flowers are placed at the end of two lines to fill excess space. Sampler is signed E.F. Blake and measures 8" x 11-5/8" not including the plain wood frame (9 x 12-1/4" framed). It is accompanied by a handwritten note explaining that the sampler was obtained from Ezekial Liverant of Nathan Liverant & Son in 1963. "The Liverants handled many of Eli Whtiney's remaining artifacts obtianed when there was a financial reversal in the descendents' fortunes. This sampler was in the New Haven, Conn. museum but as they could get no public donation to pay for it… Ezekial took it back and I made an offer for it." The note goes on to provide genealogical information about Elizabeth Fay Blake, although this information is not entirely accurate, as it identifies her as the mother of Eli Whitney Blake (also an inventor) when she was in fact his sister. Our research shows that Elizabeth Fay Blake was born 1792 in Westboro or Westborough, Massachusetts, to Elizabeth Fay Whitney Blake (Eli Whitney's sister) and Elihu Blake. Elizabeth Fay Blake (b. 1792, maker of the sampler) was educated in New Haven, CT by her famous uncle and also attended a school run by the Rev. Claudius Herrick. She married the Rev. Z.S. Barstow in 1818 and died in Keene, N.H. in 1869. (Source: The Congregational Quarterly,Vol. XII, New Series, Vol II, Congregational Neerology, p. 58, Editors Alonzo H. Quint, Isaac P. Langworthy, et al, Boston/Cambridge, University Press, 1870). Condition: Frame is not original. Not examined out of frame. Generally good condition with overall toning to ground and some fading to letters. 1970s era sticker label adhered to bottom of frame, misidentifying the stitcher as Elizabeth Fay Blake sister of Eli Whitney.
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