Deborah Sampson


Deborah Sampson

Joseph Stone, Artist
Oil on Paper

This painting inspired the frontispiece of Deborah Sampson’s memoir, the Female Review, published fifteen years after Sampson’s service. In the image and text of her book, Sampson carefully navigated a line between celebrating service and reassuring readers of her proper gender behavior, which she highlighted by wearing a gown in her portrait.

Courtesy the Rhode Island Historical Society

Wedding Gown

England, France, Massachusetts
1770 – 1790
Blue Floral Copperplate Printed Linen

Deborah Sampson wore this dress at her wedding to Benjamin Gannett in 1785, two years after the war ended. While Sampson dressed as a male to fight in the war, she returned to the life of a Massachusetts woman of her era.

The dress descended in Sampson’s family. Its design is consistent with the date of her marriage, though it shows evidence of alteration from an earlier design, probably from the 1770s.

Courtesy of Historic New England. Gift of Ann B. Gilbert, Carol Bostock Kraner, Susan Goldstone and Louise Bostock Lehman Sonneborn in memory of Beatrice Weeks Bostock, 1998.5875


Made at Charleville Armory
Charleville, France
ca. 1766
Iron, Steel, Wood (Walnut)

Deborah Sampson probably carried a French musket, like this one marked “UNITED STATES,” during her Revolutionary War service.

Museum of the American Revolution.