Needlework of Salem Exhibit

needlework for web

Specimens of Taste and Industry: The Needlework of Salem 1780-1860

August 9, 2013


August 10, 2014

This exhibit features the exquisite needlework made by girls and women living in Salem, North Carolina, in the 18th and 19th centuries. The exhibit features more than 40 embroideries, many of them stitched by Moravian women directly tied to our historic sites, such as members of the Vierling, Vogler and Winkler families. It also highlights the needlework of girls who attended the Salem Girls’ Boarding School from as far away as Virginia, Tennessee and South Carolina, emphasizing the importance of Salem as a regional center for excellence in both trades and education.

Many of these embroideries are being shown for the first time, including the recently discovered, finest known surviving work from the Salem Girls’ Boarding School. Mary Ann Speed of Mecklenburg County, Virginia, attended the school in the early 19th century and stitched an impressive needlework picture of Mount Vernon with George and Martha Washington standing in the foreground. It survives in amazing condition and was given to the collection last year by Mary Ann’s collateral descendant, Mrs. Carol Holcomb of Houston, Texas.