"Nur Die Tugend ist Der Weisen Zicht" which translates to "Only the quality of wisdom counts" is the aphorism inscribed on this rare Pennsylvania German sampler. The maker was Mary Ann Hoch of Hanover Township, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania who was born there in 1819, the daughter of Henry and Susan (Frantz) Hoch. Mary Ann's sampler is listed in Tandy and Charles Hersh's book, Samplers of the Pennsylvania Germans, the definitive book on this subject.
This is a very interesting sampler, notable for many reasons. Both Pennsylvania German and Anglo motifs and treatments were included by Mary Ann; although the overall sampler bears a far closer relationship to those made within the Pennsylvania German communities. Typical of that type of sampler, this is without a border, and the bottom register features many motifs arranged in a floating or random fashion. One of these has been documented on samplers made by the Schwenkfelders, a sect that lived predominantly in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Others have their origins in German samplers from the 17th and 18th centuries: the fruited tree motif, the lady with an open–front gown and the font used for the inscription and one of the uppercase alphabets. Much of this information is documented in a letter written by Tandy and Charles Hersh regarding this sampler.
English traditions, specifically Quaker ones, are evident in the uppermost alphabet, the italicized version of the uppercase Quaker block lettering used on English and American samplers (see Betty Ring's Girlhood Embroidery, vol II, page 287 for this alphabet as it appears in a 1779 Philadelphia Spelling Book) and the large flower and bud at the bottom center of the sampler. Of course designs and motifs were shared, crossing cultures and oceans, as so many samplers document.
The Hoch family came from Rotterdam, when Jacob Hoch, Mary Ann's grandfather, sailed in 1748. A photocopy of his 1789 will, the inventory of his estate and other relevant documents, written in German, accompany the sampler. Mary Ann married Elias Lapp and they had four children. She died in 1889 and, along with her husband, is buried in the Schoenersville Church Cemetery in Lehigh County.
The sampler was worked in silk on linen and it is in excellent condition. It has been conservation mounted and is in a beveled frame.