Published: February 12, 2008
A pioneer in the research of Ohio schoolgirl needlework, Sue Studebaker, 74, died January 21 after a sudden illness.
A native Ohioan, Sue attended The Ohio State University majoring in speech education. She also attended the Winterthur Institute, the Summer Institute at MESDA (twice), and the Attingham Summer School. She lectured regularly on American antiques and offered classes at local museums and universities.
Sue was a charter member and past president of the Centerville (Ohio) Historical Society and a charter member and past president of the Dayton Antiques Study Club. She served as a trustee of the Decorative Arts Society of Cincinnati and she was a member of the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, the Winterthur Guild, the Dayton Art Institute, and the Ohio Folk Art Association.
Sue’s passion was, of course, Ohio samplers. She documented and researched hundreds of Ohio samplers. In 1988, she published her first book, Ohio Samplers †Schoolgirl Embroideries 1803‱850, which accompanied an exhibition at the Warren County Historical Society, which she guest curated. Her magnum opus, however, was 2002’s Ohio Is My Dwelling Place, a landmark study of Ohio’s early schoolgirl needlework, which won the 2005 Ohioana Citation for Historic Preservation in the Decorative Arts. In 2003, she guest curated Ohio’s bicentennial exhibition of samplers at the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio in Lancaster.
Sue is survived by two sons, four grandchildren, and her husband, Dr Richard Studebaker, with whom, in 1958, she purchased her beloved Quaker Hill, a 1797 home. The couple restored and filled the home with period furniture and accessories.
Donations may be made in her name to the Centerville-Washington Township Historical Society, 89 West Franklin Street, Centerville, OH 45459.
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