Wednesday, 5 August 2009

An Ackworth Needlecase

I got rather waylaid reading the letters that accompanied the 'trifles' made by the Ackworth girls, and I thought you might like to see one or two of them for yourselves. So, we'll come back to bookmarks tomorrow. But at least there is a needlecase for you to see and I have created a .pdf file of a blank outer cover of the needlecase, so you can download it on thin card (or paste paper on thin card) to make your own trifles for friends.

Inside the case is simply a strip of flanelette which has been decoratively finished around its edge and it is held in place by ribbon. The front cover reads: Remember me and the reverse: Accept this token from a Friend whose love for thee will neaver end. The mispelled never has been corrected but perhaps it hints at the northern origins of the writer.
Before I go any further, I should say this extraordinary cache of trifles and bookmarks were almost entirely addressed to the same person, Mary Stickney, by her pupils when she left the school in 1844. Why she didn't take them with her is a mystery unexplained so far. I have grouped these items simply because of their revisions which I think are quite telling:
This first one reads:
Dear Teacher, Please accept this small token of remembrance from Thy affectionate Friend (revised to Pupil). I think Elizabeth Wilson wanted Mary to see that Friend-she is both revealing and concealing.

The second letter shows that it is not only on stitched samplers that one ends up in the cul-de-sac of insufficient space to squeeze in that final word!

And finally this last one is after my own heart: My dear Teacher, I thought I would just write to thee to tell thee that I really intend to be a good girl. Revised to: I really intend to try to be a good girl. Oh yes, we would try and try and try again but somehow it never quite worked.
So, for the needlecase download, just click here, you have three copies in case you try too hard and don't quite make it first time round!

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