Studying historic needlework offers a perspective into the complex lives of women often not present in the written records of the 18th and 19th centuries. Material culture scholar Susan Schoelwer authored Connecticut Needlework: Women, Art, and Family, 1740–1840, which included pieces from the Connecticut Historical Society’s rich Collection of period needlework. In my conversation with Dr. Schoelwer, she explains how needlework from bed rugs to samplers provides a more complete accounting of the values, aesthetics and lives for women in Connecticut. Schoelwer received her Master of Arts from the University of Delaware’s Winterthur Program in 1978 and she completed her PhD in American studies from Yale in 1994. Today, she is a museum curator at one of the most prominent historic sites in the United States, George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate.