Being able to produce fine embroidery was a sign of female accomplishment and education in the 19th century. Martha "Patty" Phelps came to Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, Massachusetts, in May 1804, only one month after her mother died. She spent the summer stitching this silk-on-silk embroidery recording her mother's and her young brother's deaths. Mourning pictures like these were a way of expressing a family's grief and sense of loss. The weeping willows and neoclassical funerary urns Patty Phelps painstaking sewed were traditional symbols of mourning in the 19th century.