Cynthia Steinhoff

“Genealogical Clues from Schoolgirl Samplers”

Cynthia is is director of the library and tenured professor at Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold, Maryland. She uses research skills honed through more than 40 years as a librarian to learn about the families and lives of girls who make samplers. Her own collection of samplers exceeds 150 pieces, with an emphasis on samplers from the id-Atlantic region – and especially Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland. As she began researching her samplers, she quickly realized how many clues appear on them that leads to finding much more family information.

Cynthia is a researcher and editor for Dr. Gloria Seaman Allen, the textiles historian noted for her work on quilts and samplers. She was part of the team led by Dr. Allen and Dr. Lynne Anderson of the Sampler Consortium to document Delaware samplers. The project culminated with a 3-day symposium in March 2014 at the Biggs Museum in Dover, Delaware, along with an exhibition of 60 Delaware samplers. Cynthia spoke at the symposium about researching sampler makers and their families, and was a copy editor on the accompanying catalog, Wrought with Careful Hand: Ties of Kinship on Delaware Samplers, published by Biggs. She is a researcher with Dr. Allen and the editor of her forthcoming comprehensive monograph on Delaware samplers, addressing about 200 samplers made in the First State.
Cynthia talked about several samplers that she owns, mostly Quaker from PA, DE, and MD. Most samplers were done by girls between the ages of eight and fourteen. The category of genealogical samplers category is broad, and includes any sampler providing any information about a family. Not all samplers include genealogical information.

Girls learned the craft at school or had an instructor come to their homes. Cynthia has been able to find notes taped on the back of or hidden in the frames of samplers she has collected telling the name of the creator of the sampler and sometimes family trees.

One of the best books is by Dr. Allen "Wrought with Careful Hand, Ties of Kinship on Delaware Samplers" by by Drs. Lynne Anderson and Gloria Seaman Allen, 2014, pub. Delaware, order form below.

The new monolith she is working on will be published in 2018 and is titled, "Delaware Discoveries".

 Three examples are shown below.