An almost identical sampler was worked by Rebekah White of Salem in 1766 (The Metropolitan Museum of Art; see Glee Krueger, New England Samplers to 1840, fig. 26). Susannah Saunders (1754-1838) was the daughter of the Salem merchant John Saunders (b. 1724) and Susanna Barrett. On March 17, 1771, seventeen-year-old Susannah married her schoolmaster, Daniel Hopkins (1734-1814). Hopkins, a Yale graduate of 1758 and the brother of the Reverend Samuel Hopkins of Newport, was ordained first pastor of the Third Church in Salem in 1778 and served until his death. Although critical of Hopkins' sermons, Salem minister William Bentley acknowledged that he "always loved the Company of Dr. Hopkins for the ease, accomodation, & chearfulness with which he ever appeared...In domestic life he was charming" (The Diary of William Bentley, D.D., vol 4, pp.303-304). Susannah and Daniel Hopkins had six children.
In the long diagonal stitches of its pastoral scene, Susannah Saunders's sampler displays a characteristic technique used on Salem samplers and silk embroideries during the second half of the eighteenth century. This style is particularly associated with samplers worked under the instruction of Mrs. Sarah Fiske Stivours (1742-1819), but evidently she continued the custom of an earlier, unknown teacher. Samplers bearing her name are dated 1778 and 1788, and they compose the earliest group of American samplers to name a specific school. Confident attributions indicate that Sarah Stivours taught for at least twenty years, but samplers appear to be the only surviving records of her career.
Daniel Hopkins, born in Woodbury, went to Salem in 1766 and taught at a school for Young Ladies. He married Susannah, twenty years his junior in 1771. (Additional information provided by Carol and Stephen Huber).
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