Rosena Disery 1820 Sampler Chart


The Rosena Disery 1820 sampler is in the collection of the New-York Historical Society Museum & Library (NYHS). It was charted as part of a joint project between the Embroiderers’ Guild of America’s Metropolitan Region and the NYHS and a replica was stitched and presented to the NYHS. This project is available as a PDF downloadable chart. All proceeds benefit EGA and EGA’s Metropolitan Region.

Two bookmarks adapted from the Rosena Disery 1820 sampler are also available separately: Honeysuckle Bookmark | Wrapped Vine Bookmark

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Rosena Disery (1805–1877) stitched her sampler in 1820 when she was a student at the New York African Free School. The explicit mission of the school, founded in 1787 by members of the Manumission Society, was to educate Black children to take their place as equals to white American citizens.

The moralizing verse stitched by Rosena is the final stanza of a poem by the French mystic Madame Jeanne Guyon (1648-1717) titled “Self-Love and Truth Incompatible”: “O Truth, whom millions proudly slight; O Truth, my treasure and delight; Accept this tribute for thy name, And this poor heart from Which it came.” The translation by the popular English poet and anti-slavery advocate William Cowper (1731-1800) was published in London in 1779 and reprinted in the US in the early 19th century.