Sentimental Value

PZ has a post about an old pocket watch that he inherited that includes:

Not particularly rare or valuable, but I didn’t expect much — it’s value is all sentimental to me.

I thought of adding a comment, but it wouldn’t have been about watches, so rather than hijack PZ’s comment thread, I decided to write a short post of my own.

Years ago, my maternal grandmother found an old sampler in a trunk; and she put it in a frame and hung it on her wall.  I was the only grandchild who stood up on a chair, pointed to each of the letters, and said, “A-B-C-D…”, so I inherited it.

About thirty years ago, I showed it to a woman (I can’t remember her name) who was the curator of fabrics at the St. Louis Art Museum.  As soon as she saw it, her face dropped.  It’s in a rather common style for the time, and it’s unfinished.

But I got her to clean it up as best she could and mount it on an acid-free backing.  That cost me way more than the object is worth by itself; but, yeah, it’s sentimental.

photo of sampler


  1. says

    “Out of friendship and love”; That’s quite touching.

    Was it made in what it now Germany, or by someone who grew up there?
    The Fraktur typeface is something you mostly find in Germany.

  2. Katydid says

    The first row: the J is missing, but it’s there in other rows. Most of them, at least; some were hard to read.

    That sampler is so very old–it’s definitely a keepsake, and the fact that your grandmother framed it and passed it down to you makes it extra-special. I’m glad you spent the money to preserve it longer.

  3. Allison says

    Actually, the J is missing in all rows, although some of the Is are sufficiently ornate that someone might take them for Js. My guess is that I and J were somehow seen as the same letter.

    The first name is Maria, I can’t read the last name, although I assume it starts with K. It says born in 1858. (1858 appears in a number of places.)

  4. says

    The “Fraktur” typeface doesn’t distinguish between uppercase I and J.

    My reading of the last name is “Kempf”.

  5. billseymour says

    rsmith:  All my grandparents were born in the U.S., but my great-grandparents, or maybe great-great, on my mother’s side were German immigrants.

    Back when my mother was growing up (she was born in 1911), it wasn’t unusual for several generations to live in the same household with grandparents sharing child care.  My mom often remarked that her grandmother spoke German.

    When I was a little kid, I created a family tree in a bible that I had then (and still do, but I can’t find it).  I remember Anna Maria Kempf being in there somewhere.

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