Edith’s needlework is offered to you in two different formats ~ as a printed booklet and as an instant PDF download. Details of the PDF download can be found HERE.
Forword by Cassie Rothman
Recently, while reading The Paper Pomegranate, a Pomegranate Guild of Judaic Needlework publication, I wondered whether any antique childhood Aleph-Bet samplers existed. Certainly, I had never seen one charted.
An Internet search showed that such a sampler, indeed two, was to be auctioned within a few days. I would try to acquire Edith Levy’s samplers and chart them myself. Alas, I had no experience with auctions and was not approved for bidding in time. As she slipped away, my only hope was that Edith’s samplers would go to a loving home.
Imagine my reaction several weeks later, during Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, when my eyes fell upon Edith’s samplers perched in pride of place on Nicola’s display table during a Hands Across the Sea Sampler’s Flosstube. It is no wonder that Nicola was drawn to Edith’s samplers and sought to chart them, as her research revealed that the little girl’s ancestors had lived near her during the 1800s. Edith’s seemingly rare example of childhood Judaic needlework is now available for all needleworkers to stitch. Edith’s samplers will reside in many loving homes. A simcha!
Most nights, before I settle down to sleep, I take a moment to check on new samplers being listed that day for sale by auction. There was no sleeping for me when I saw Edith Levy’s needlework come up for sale. Why did two small monochrome samplers call to me so loudly?
I immediately started to research Edith. The little girl had given us some clues, but she did not make it easy. A lot of hunting through census records was required. With no date of birth or even a time frame for when the samplers were stitched, I needed to find an Edith Levy living at an 11 Clifton Gardens in an unspecified town or city. I decided to focus on London first and to work my way back from 1891. Before first light, I had found our Edith.
Edith Helen Levy was born in Annerly, Surrey on April 13, 1869. Her parents were Joseph Solomon Levy and Maria, née Davis. Joseph was a prosperous merchant. Maria lived in Ireland, and the marriage took place in Dublin.
In the 1881 census return, Edith can be found living at 11 Clifton Gardens in London with her parents and seven sisters. Her one brother was absent. A governess, nurse, cook, and house maid lived in. The 22-year-old “professional” governess was Celestine Deranger. She had been born in Geneva, Switzerland. It was probably Celestine who taught Edith needlework and supervised the samplers being stitched. Unfortunately, we cannot find any further record of Celestine.
In the January of 1900, Edith married Emile John van Noorden, a dental surgeon. Emile had been born in London but through the centuries his family had emigrated from Germany to The Netherlands, then settled for a time in Scotland before moving south.
Edith and Emile set up home at 33 Chatsworth Road, Willesden, London. In the 1901 census return, Emily and Emile had been blessed with a daughter, Eileen. They can be found living with a nurse, cook, and housemaid.
The 1911 census shows the family still living at number 33, but their family had grown. A son, Eric, and a second daughter, Nancy, had been born to the couple. This census records that all three children had been born at home. We know that when the children grew up, Eileen married, but Nancy remained a spinster. Eric followed his father and became a dental surgeon.
Emile died on December 5, 1933. At the time, the van de Noordens were living at 18 Dartmouth Road, Brondesbury, London. Edith died on November 7, 1956 at 23 Park Road, Hoddesdon, London. She was 87years of age. She had undergone a mastectomy, but the breast cancer metastasised.
So why did Edith’s needlework call to me?
When researching her family, it appears that Edith’s forebears, the Levys and the Jospehs, had once lived near to my home in Cornwall. The Levys were originally from Alsace. The family through marriage and commerce migrated throughout the West Country. Edith’s father was born in Bristol.
The Josephs were from Germany. Lyon Joseph had a colourful and eventful life. He started out as a pedlar in buckles, cutlery, watches, and jewellery. It is probable that he would have visited the areas around Falmouth peddling his wares. I wonder if on one such visit, as he passed through Poldhu Cove, he paused taking a moment to admire the magnificence of the waves pounding the shore. The very same view that I have admired from the window of my study as I reproduced, researched, and stitched Edith’s samplers.
I hope that you enjoy stitching Edith’s samplers, I certainly did.
Edith’s samplers have been reproduced using Soie 100.3 from Au Ver à Soie. We have provided conversions for Soie d’Alger and DMC.
The samplers are stitched with cross stitch over two threads of linen, double running stitch, open backstitched herringbone stitch, satin stitch, and long straight stitches. They have been rated as suitable for needleworkers of all abilities.
At the very core of Hands Across the Sea Samplers there is a team of needleworkers who are passionate about antique samplers and being able to share those samplers with you. Hands Across the Sea Samplers are on hand to help those stitching our charts.