Monday, November 10, 2014

Elbe Herbert Johnson's Sampler

Elbe's Sampler
Collection of the Sanibel Historical Museum & Village

Willow Ann snapped this picture of a wonderful turn-of-the-20th-century sampler when she was in Florida. See her post here:


Here's a link to the Museum:

The initials are EHJ for Elbe Herbert Johnson, whose first name was pronounced LB. He was born in Traverse City, Michigan in 1887, so we can guess the quilt was made some time between 1887 and 1907 or so, while he was growing up.

The images are fanciful and familiar.
Perhaps the goblet hopes the Elbe will be temperate.
The flag and Christian cross speak of other hopes.

Knox County, Ohio grave
of Elbe (1887-1967) and Bertha Beckwith Johnson

Elbe grew up to be a physicist who was on the faculty at Ohio's Kenyon college for 41 years. He retired to Danville, Ohio, where he is buried. He seems to have had a long and successful life.

His quilt is in a popular turn-of-the-century style
for samplers. Quilters combined blocks of
different sizes in rather disorganized fashion...

as in these three samplers from the same period.

Elbe's is unusual in it's variety of images and in the building in the center.

One might consider the center block a schoolhouse
but with two stories and two bay windows it
looks like a Queen Anne-style Victorian house...

Perry Hannah house Traverse City, Michigan

something in good supply in Traverse City.
Perhaps the house in the quilt was Elbe's home.

Minick and Simpson, Austin Bluebird Sampler, 2014

Polly and Laurie have captured the circa 1900 sampler style in their Austin Bluebird Sampler.

Here's a link to more about their pattern:


  1. That is such a charming quilt. It may be in the style of the samplers of the day, but I like how it seems more organized. And I also like the triangle borders. Thanks for sharing this quilt!

  2. Love all of the designs he incorporated into his quilt.


  3. Now I see I implied that Elbe made the quilt. I bet it was made for him.

  4. I had the privledge of knowing both Dr. and Mrs. Johnson. He was an exceptionally man. He also was a clock collector and among his clocks was a "Hickory Dickory Dock Clock.... I don't know if Bertha made the quilt or not, but she loved to crochet and knit and I have one of her books with knitting patterns.