Mary D. Herring, Malden, Massachusetts, 1803
sampler size: 16¼” x 12¼” • frame size: 18¾” x 14¾”
Malden, Massachusetts is a small town north of Boston and just across the Mystic River from Charlestown, established on land purchased from the Pennacook Tribe. This sampler is inscribed, “Mary D. Herring her Sampler in the Eleventh Year of her Age. Malden 1803,” and above that presents a verse confirming that Mary was taught to make good use of her time. A pictorial register at the bottom includes large trees, a flowering plant, two little dogs and two large birds.
Mary Day Herring was the daughter of Ebenezer and Mary Herring and record of her birth on July 21, 1793 is in the records of Boston’s West Church. Her sister Sally was born in 1796 and we know of the existence of a sampler made by this Sally Herring, also in 1803. The Herring family appears in Malden records with the death of Ebenezer in 1810 and Mary, his widow, in 1836. Additionally, the History of Malden Massachusetts 1633-1785 (Malden, 1899) mentions that in 1808 the town meeting was held at the home of Ebenezer Herring, which was on Bailey’s Hill. Mary and her sister remained single and in Malden; they were listed as contributors to the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1855.
The sampler was worked in silk on linen and a fine drawn work edging surrounds it on four sides. It is in excellent condition and has been conservation mounted into a molded and painted frame.