Stitching (for) his life: Morris william larkin's prisoner of war sampler

Maureen Goggin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Of the 143,374 Americans in the armed forces who were taken as prisoners of war (POWs) during the Second World War, Sergeant Morris William Larkin (1919-2009) was one. This essay tells the story of his capture and time as a POW, a story that is central to and embedded in the sampler he meticulously stitched while imprisoned. Sergeant Larkin's sampler acts as a synecdoche, a commemoration of the Second World War, a commemoration of the POW experience, and a personal commemoration of the time and experiences of Larkin and those who served in the Second World War with him. This article demonstrates how handcrafts play complex roles beyond the aesthetic-commemorating and memorializing experiences, acting as a form of discourse in abject spaces, railing against political forces, crafting identities, and working through trauma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-163
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Modern Craft
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2013


  • Commemoration
  • Embroidery
  • Handcraft
  • Identity
  • Memory
  • Prisoner of war (POW) camps
  • Rhetoric
  • Second World War
  • Trauma
  • Visual rhetoric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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