Monday, February 5, 2018

Daniel Dobler's Album Quilt

At the Maryland Institute Fair in 1852 Daniel Dobler showed a quilt he'd been given by students when he left teaching in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania to return to Baltimore.

Remarkably, his quilt survives.

Daniel's great-granddaughter Mary Sauerteig (1931-2016) showed the quilt she'd inherited. Her grandfather's name was on one of the blocks.

"From John William B??? Dobler
To his affectionate Father
Elizabethtown Lan Co Pa
Nov 12th 1849"

UPDATE: Virginia tells me: John William Baehr Dobler (1827–1892)
"It was given to Mary Sauerteig's great-grandfather, Daniel Dobler, by students, relatives and friends upon his retirement from teaching in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania. Mary's grandfather, along with another of Daniel Dobler's sons, each provided one of the squares."
Variations of the fleur-de-lis pattern were popular 
for album quilts at the time. I have pictures of five with dates of 1849
 on them, this one from the Moda collection.

In a history of Lancaster County Dr. Daniel Dobler (1804-1859) is described as a physician with no formal medical training. "After working in a drugstore he became a practicing physician at 28." In 1844 "he decided to teach at the schoolhouse adjacent to the Lutheran Church." Son John William also maintained a school in Elizabethtown. The quilt may have been made by members of a Lutheran church, perhaps Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church where two infant Doblers who died in the 1830s are buried.

Quilt dated 1849

Another son Gustavus (1839-1903) became a Maryland state senator. His biographies reveal a bit more about his father. Daniel was born in 1804 in Baltimore to German immigrants.
Christina Dobler's grave. Husband
and wife are buried in the Baltimore Cemetery

 He married Christina Barbara Iehle (1802-1867) from Wurtemburg, Germany. He is described as a "chemist, physician and teacher [and] a manufacturer of paper boxes" in Baltimore. 

 Dobler quilt on display

The Doblers had at least seven children and it seems that some also entered handiwork at the Baltimore fairs. In 1852 Miss P.T. Dobler of Elizabethtown entered a vase of paper flowers (presumably daughter Paulina Theodora) and Miss Catherine Dobler showed two cases, crochet work.

Block from a quilt dated 1849 for Sarah Mullen,
Lancaster County, Collection: Lancaster History.

Links among  people who signed mid-19th century album quilts are mostly unknown, but church connections are obvious in many. School connections are not found so often. Daniel Dobler's is one of perhaps twenty school-related signature quilts I have in my picture files. This year's Block of the Month at my Civil War Quilts blog is focused on school connections with a dozen pieced album blocks planned. See the first post in Antebellum Album here:

A pattern of sorts for this combination of hearts and fleur-de-lis.
Print it at 200%.

And read more about the fleur-de-lis albums here:


  1. My comment went under the wrong blog😞! I was fortunate to see this quilt in person and the photos don’t do it justice! Just hope it is well cared for to ensure it’s future!!

  2. Dear Barbara,
    I just came across your post as I was researching some of my family. John William Baehr Dobler, oldest son of Daniel Dobler, was my great great grandfather. He was the President of West Side Bank in Brooklyn New York. His son, John William David Dobler, was an Accountant in New York for many years before moving to Canada and then Detroit and finally settling in Indiana, which is where his children grew up. His son Stephen Luther Dobler was my grandfather, and my father Richard Dobler was born in Indiana in 1945. I would love to get in touch with the owner of the quilt to see if we might share some family stories. I enjoyed your post. Would it be possible for you to share my contact information with the quilt owner? I live in Tampa FL. My email address is barbdawes88@gmail.com and my cell is 813 385 7648. Thanks so much, Barbara Dobler Dawes