An Excellent Likeness: A Founding Portrait

Thanks to our volunteer archivist, we recently found the story behind our office’s portrait of Seabury’s founder, Mrs. William Channing Johnson (pictured below). Enjoy this recap from 1958:

In the early spring of 1958, the Women’s Board of the Episcopal Church Home voted to have a portrait painted of Mrs. William Channing Johnson, [Seabury’s] founder, to be hung in the Home at 1515 32nd Street. The following committee was appointed to look into the matter and select the artist: Mrs. Anderson, chairman, Mrs. Marshall, Mrs. Flaherty, Mrs. Blair.

Many artists were interviewed and in July they authorized Mr. Bjorn Egele’ to see Mrs. Johnson and make arrangements to carry out their wishes.


When the portrait was completed and accepted by the committee, the Women’s Board issued invitations to a tea to be given at the Home on March 6, 1959, at which time the portrait would be shown. The committee in charge of the tea was as follows: Miss Dorothea McCandish, chairman, Miss Dann, Mrs. Flaherty, Miss Clifford. It was a beautiful afternoon and many friends of the Home were present. All declared it a success and the portrait an excellent likeness.

Mr. Samuel E. Neale, 1st Vice President of the Board of Governors, made the presentation speech in the absence of Bishop Dunn who could not be present.

Mrs. Johnson responded, expressing her sincere appreciation of the gracious gesture of the Board, and to all who had made the Home possible, especially Mr. and Mrs. John Sevier for their magnificent gift enabling us to enlarge our stakes and strengthen our cords giving our family more complete comfort.

Then all adjourned to the recreation room where tea and sandwiches were served and everyone was then given an opportunity to see the Home and gardens.

Seabury is proud of our historical connection to the Episcopal Church. Click here to learn more about our current work to support older adults in congregations of many faith traditions.


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