Category Archives: Calligraphy

Fraktur Quilts from the Schleifer-Kichlein Family

 

Prior to the year 1897 Fraktur was clearly understood by everyone as an angular broken-lettered calligraphy or typeface. Thereafter an additional meaning was introduced that has redefined the way we think of Pennsylvania Dutch and Moravian material culture. In September of that year Henry Chapman Mercer gave a talk The Survival of the Mediaeval Art of Illuminative Writing Among Pennsylvania Germans to American Philosophical Society members in Philadelphia. Most likely thinking of all the illuminated manuscripts containing both visual decorative elements, and Fraktur script, he suggested that all Pennsylvania German illuminated manuscripts be called Fraktur. However, people came to understand this as nomenclature for objects with or without Fraktur script. Since then, birds, flowers, geometric designs, etc. on paper, textiles, clay, wood, glass, metal, or stone with or without any text can be referred to as Fraktur. The material culture of both groups, therefore, is represented through visual, as well as written Fraktur.

There are then two kinds of Fraktur quilts: one made up exclusively of blocks signed in Fraktur script; [1] and Fraktur quilts whose central owner/maker block is the only block to be embroidered with initials or name and date in Fraktur script, the remainder being pieced, embroidered or appliquéd with decorative motifs used by the Pennsylvania Dutch in all their media, and commonly called Fraktur. Most frequently seen on illuminated manuscripts, textiles and tombstones, they include geometric designs, doves, pelicans, peacocks, tulips, carnations, pomegranates, trees, stars, and so forth.

Members of the Schleifer-Kichlein family, (Küchlein, Kickline) created four such quilts using Fraktur script, and decorative elements associated with the material culture of the Pennsylvania Dutch, as well as, amazingly enough, embroidering in the center of two of these quilts a tambour worked [2] scene of the latest in fashion design for men, women, and children among both the American English-speaking society, and the well-dressed European family of the 1820s and 1830s.

John Joseph Stoudt in his 1966 Pennsylvania German Folk Art (p. 334) cites possibly the oldest among the quilts, which at that time belonged to Mr. Oliver Lewis Christman, an antiques dealer and florist living in Pottstown, Pa. One of its blocks is initialed in Fraktur script “E K 1829”.   A pieced reel design, along with tambour embroidered Fraktur motifs such as two birds flanking a tulip tree, and French-knotted cherry trees are similar to those found in three other known quilts: an undated/unsigned quilt and two shams reportedly made by Christina Kichline ca. 1830 (Moravian Museum of Bethlehem, Pa, M849.01 & M849.02-01-02), and two other quilts, one initialed in Fraktur script “E S 1830” (Winterthur Museum collection, 2000.0071) in the center owner/maker’s block, and the other, also embroidered in the center owner/maker’s block, in Fraktur script as “Euphemia Kichlein 1832” (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2016.432).

According to the Church Register of Christ Lutheran Church in Trumbauersville, Pa., Christina Schleifer (1795-1884) was born on 11/30/1795 to Heinrich and Dorothea Schleifer.[3] Per the same records her brother John and she were confirmed in 1811. She was married to Jacob Kichlein (1795-1854), and was the mother of seven children, [4] three of whose death certificates—Charles, [5] John Abraham, [6] and Mary Ann Kichlein Applegate Christine, [7] confirm parentage as Jacob Kichlein and Christina Schleifer. That Christina was Euphemia Kichlein Scholl’s (1819-1884) mother is attested to by the 1880 United States Federal Census for Rock Hill, Bucks County, Pa. in which John Scholl, his wife Euphemia, and mother-in-law Christina Kechline are listed. [8] The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania death certificate for William H. Scholl cites John Scholl and Euphemia Kichline (maiden name) as parents.[9] Jacob Kichlein (1795-1854) was born in Rock Hill, Bucks County, Pa. on 4/9/1795 to Elisabeth Kepler (Köbler), and Johannes Kichlein (1768-1852). The U. S. 1850 Federal Census lists fifty-five year old Jacob Kichline as a tavern keeper in Lower Saucon Township, Northampton County, Pa., and head of a very large household including thirty-two year old Euphemia Kichline. [10] He died in Lower Saucon, Northampton County, Pa. 9/28/1854.[11]

The beautifully embroidered and pieced Fraktur motif quilt and pair of pillow shams, now housed at the Moravian Museum of Bethlehem, Pa., was a gift of Mrs. Vernon Melhado, and was accessioned in May 1939. It is described as a

Quilt of red LeMoyne stars of wool on white cotton. Tambour embroidery in wool yarn of birds, tulips, trees, in blue, red and gold colors. Centerpiece tambour work depicts [a] man, woman [,] and child. Braid on 3 sides finished with fringe edges in red and grey is 4.5 inches long. Backed with white cotton.

The accession report dates the quilt to ca. 1830, noting that Christina Schafer [sic] [Schleifer] Kichline made this as her wedding quilt, having married Jacob Kichlein in 1817 at age 16. N. B. In 1817 she was twenty-two. The aforementioned information, along with a note that she carded the wool that was produced on land owned by the Unangst family near Quaker Hill in Northeast Bethlehem in 1815 comes from the original catalogue card. It is not unusual for facts to become blurred by time and memory. Neither are church records always right, but, as already noted, the official birth and baptismal entry for Christina indicates that she was born in 1795 and baptized in 1796. She would have been sixteen in 1811, the date she was confirmed at Christ Lutheran Church, not 1817, and 35 by 1830 when it is estimated the quilt was made.

This is the work of a skilled needleworker. Christina may, indeed, have made it as a wedding quilt, but not for herself. It was traditional for Pennsylvania Dutch grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters to make quilts for young boys and girls in the immediate family as early as age eight or nine  for their Aussteuer, i.e. future wedding trousseau. Finished quilts were stored away in dower chests waiting to be given several years hence to the now young man or woman when he/she “went housekeeping.”   Christina could have made this quilt for any one of her then living children as a future wedding gift.

A similar quilt, in the Winterthur Museum Textile collection, replaces the LeMoyne stars with a reel pattern.   French knotted cherry trees with pomegranates placed on either side alternate with the reel block to form an attractive border that, like the second example, is embellished on three sides with a braided edging finished in red fringe.

Tambour work beautifully renders two birds flanking a tulip tree with trailing pomegranates, a design that is common to all quilts in varied forms.

“E S 1830” is embroidered in Fraktur script on the center owner/maker block, and surrounded by flowering tambour worked tulip vines. At the moment we do not know the maker of this quilt, but can definitely say that it was someone within the Schleifer-Kichlein family.

Although not a quilt, a one-of-a-kind embroidered Taufschein owned by the Goschenhoppen Historians (1971.01.55) [12] is also linked to the embroidery achievements of members of the Schleifer-Kichlein family. It was embroidered by J K in 1830 to commemorate a special moment in the past, the October 9, 1776 birth of Elisabeth Köbler Kichlein, grandmother to Jacob and Christina’s seven children. Atypical for the Pennsylvania Dutch, this is a Taufschein intended to be hung on the wall and shown. Its frame, original to the work, encloses two embroidered pieces: The upper one shows the initials of the maker and date J K 1830 in Fraktur script, and the lower one the birth and baptismal certificate. The needleworker’s choice of decorative elements is an interesting combination of motifs contemporary to her time period such as the putto, angels, and birds from Heinrich Ebner’s printed Taufscheins of the 1820s, along with more traditional Pennsylvania Dutch sampler-like objects such as French-knotted cherry trees, embroidered sleek birds, and creeping tulip and other floral vines to form the border framing the text. The tambour work is not as finely done as in the quilts. The ever present baptismal verses announcing the brevity of life and importance of baptism usually found on printed Taufscheins of the period are noticeably absent from this piece. Although it is still unknown who embroidered it, and for what occasion, perhaps it was a fifty-fourth birthday present for a very special grandmother.

Elisabeth’s parents Jacob and Christina Kerschner Köbler (Kepler, Keppel, Koepler, Käbler, Kebler, Kepple) were married 5/18/1762 [13] in St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Coopersburg, Pa., a church still better known as the Blue Church for the bluish-hued plaster that once covered the outer masonry as insulation and protection.

All of their children’s birth and baptismal records are in the Blue Church Register: Elisabeth was the fifth child of seven children. Her siblings included Johan Georg (2/23/1763); Johann Jacob (4/4/1765); Johannes (6/5/1771); Maria C. (2/20/1774); Elisabeth (10/9/1776); Andreas (3/16/1779); and Susanna (4/7/1781). According to a will registered in Bucks County on 4/10/1824 under File No. 5388, Volume 10 (1821-1831 wills), pp. 357-359, and probated 3/22/1825, her father Jacob is identified as a yeoman, late of Richland Township, Bucks County, Pa. He sets forth in his last testament how moneys and other assets are to be divided among his beloved wife Christina, children and grandchildren, and appoints Elisabeth’s husband Johannes Kichlein (1768-1852) and Jacob Smith as executors. Johannes and Elisabeth had two children John K. Kichline (8/24/1793-5/7/1865) and Jacob S. Kichline (1795-1854), husband to Christina Schleifer (1795-1884), and father of Euphemia (1819-1884), Jacob (1821-1911), Thomas (1823-1857), Mary Ann (1826-1908), Elizabeth (1832-1890), John Abraham (1835-1907), and Charles (1837-1916). Both Johannes and Elisabeth Kepler Kichline are buried, side by side, at Christ Church, old section in Trumbauersville, Bucks County, Pa., Plot: Row F1, F2.

“Euphemia Kichlein 1832” is embroidered in Fraktur script in the central owner/maker block of the quilt now part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Textile collection. Euphemia was thirteen when this quilt was made. Perhaps an experienced family seamstress and she completed it together, or perhaps, as previously suggested, her grandmother, mother, or aunt created it for her Aussteuer or future wedding trousseau.

The skillfully executed tambour worked variations of Pennsylvania Dutch bird and tulip tree designs alternate with the pieced reel pattern.

The reel pattern is used again in the border, alternating with an angel familiar to those of us who spend time with printed Taufscheins. She balances a bird on her uplifted right hand, and holds a lyre in her left, but shorn of her wings, is now mortal and forever fated to remain on earth.

Unlike the winged angel on the Elisabeth Köbler embroidered Taufschein, who still can access celestial realms, the wingless quilt angel, probably copied from a Heinrich Ebner Taufschein of the early 1830s, is destined to walk forever among the tambour worked flowers of this quilt border. Such was the imagination and will of its designer and maker.

The Moravian Museum of Bethlehem and Metropolitan Museum of Art quilts feature in their center a strolling couple with a young boy. The man, woman, and child are worked in tambour stitch and boast the fashionable styles worn in the 1820s and 1830s by both discerning English-speaking Americans, as well as trendsetting Europeans. Tulip vines and flowers create an arbor-like frame around the scene. Such an addition to quilts principally embellished with Pennsylvania Dutch inspired stars, birds, wingless angels, tulip trees, and pomegranates is unique and quite unexpected. However, if we turn to three fashion plates of the period taken from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Fashion Plates: 1800-1866, [14] we can see the similarity in dress and perhaps the inspiration for the figures on the quilts. Also, Henry Young’s 1829 Fraktur drawing of “Miss Catherine McKnight her Picter in the year 1829” shows us an example of the fashion and style of the time in which the quilts were made. Local sources would have included newspapers, and the extremely popular Godey’s Lady’s Book, a magazine founded by Louis Godey in Philadelphia in 1830 with monthly detailed descriptions of the latest in modish clothing and hand-colored fashion plates.

Although the Schleifer-Kichlein family’s roots were firmly anchored in Pennsylvania Dutch customs, they were also tavern keepers; served  the general public; and participated in the contemporary life of the 1820s and 1830s. It was a time of vast change in America. Young people were crossing cultural boundaries, and even as today, merging and blending different cultural milieus.  So, perhaps embroidering clothing advertisements directed at English-speaking Americans onto the center of two quilts family needleworkers had otherwise embellished with traditional decorative Fraktur motifs, was an artistic and creative way to express the acculturation of the time period, featuring what was precious from the past while introducing the lifestyle of the present.


ENDNOTES
[1] For more detailed information on this type of Fraktur quilt, see Pennsylvania German Blog Post Nr. 8: Friendship-Fraktur-Signature Quilts.

[2] Tambour work is a needlework form that derived its name from the drum-shaped frame used to stretch the fabric. Instead of a needle, a tiny hook draws a loop of thread from below the fabric to the surface. Reinserting the hook and repeating this operation produces a chain stitch much faster than using a needle.

[3] Christina Schleifer (1795-1884) Christ Lutheran Church Register, Trumbauersville, Pa.: Births/Baptisms, p. 20, accessed 24 August 2016 http://tinyurl.com/zu8jmjn & Namen der Confirmanten vom Jahr 1811. accessed 24 August 2016 http://tinyurl.com/jlf6ygt

[4] Jacob Kichline’s and Christina Schleifer’s children include: Euphemia (1819-1884) , Jacob (1821-1911), Thomas (1823-1857), Mary Ann (1826-1908), Elizabeth (1832-1890), John Abraham (1835-1907), Charles (1837-1916).

[5] Charles R. Kichline Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Death Certificate, File N. 17671; Registered No. 9 (born 6/30/1837; died 2/13/1916) Accessed 25 August 2016 http://tinyurl.com/hdkw87a

[6] J.[ohn] A.[braham] Kichline Commonwealth of Pa Certificate of Death, File No. 115188; Registered No. 227 (born 1/30/1835; died 12/17/1907). Accessed 24 August 2016 http://tinyurl.com/hqzdbyl

[7] Mary Ann Kichline Applegate Christine Commonwealth of Pa Certificate of Death, File No. 86431; Registered No. 45 (born 4/24/1826; died 9/10/1908) Accessed 24 August 2016 http://tinyurl.com/guybxju

[8] Christina Schleifer Kichlein (1795-1884 U. S. Federal Census 1880 for Rock Hill, Bucks County, Pa., 22 June 1880 by Joseph a Fluck, p. 41, lines 42-44. Accessed 24 August 2016 http://tinyurl.com/j4zqs75

[9] William H. Scholl (1841-1907) Pennsylvania Death Certificate, File No. 109911, Reg. No. 147. Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Accessed 24 August 2016. http://tinyurl.com/z2j9fyb

[10] Euphemia Kichlein (1819-1884) U. S. Federal Census 1850 for Saucon Township in Northampton county, Pa., 13 August 1850 by Wm J Brownle, p. 43, lines 40-42. N. B. Jacob Kichlein is listed as a tavern keeper, and Euphemia Kichlein as thirty-two years of age. Accessed 24 August, 2016. http://tinyurl.com/zmrlssr

[11] Jacob Kichlein (1795-1854) Find a Grave. Accessed 24 August 2016. http://tinyurl.com/z9yhdhw

[12] For more detailed information on the Elsabeth Köbler Embroidered Taufschein, see Pennsylvania German Blog Post Nr. 7: The Elisabeth Köbler Embroidered Taufschein.

[13]Jacob Kepler & Maria Christina Kerschner Marriage Entry 5/18/1762,” in Records of St. Paul’s Lutheran and Reformed Church (Blue Church) in Upper Saucon Township, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, 1748-1892, edited by Clarence E. Beckel. vol. II, p. 186. Bethlehem, Pa., 1939.

[14] Metropolitan Museum of Art. Thomas J. Watson Library Digital Collections. Costume Institute Fashion Plates: 1800-1866:

Plate 034, public domain. Accessed 7 August 2016
http://libmma.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/p15324coll12/id/11871/rec/36

Plate 046, public domain. Accessed 7 August 2016 http://libmma.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/p15324coll12/id/3851/rec/21

Plate 062, public domain. Accessed 7 August 2016http://libmma.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/p15324coll12/id/3867/rec/53


SOURCES
Sharon P. Angelo et. alia.
Quilts: the Fabric of Friendship. Atlgen, Pa.: Schiffer Publishing Ltd. for the York County Heritage Trust, Pa., 2000.

 Lucinda R Cawley. “Ihr Teppich: Quilts and Fraktur.” Uncoverings 2004 vol.25,
11- 40.

Mary Ann Kichline Applegate Christine Commonwealth of Pa Certificate of Death, File No. 86431; Registered No. 45 (born 4/24/1826; died 9/10/1908) Accessed 24 August 2016 http://tinyurl.com/guybxju

Russell D. and Corinne P. Earnest. Papers for Birth Dayes: Guide to the Fraktur Artists and Scriveners, East Berlin, Pa.: Russell D. Earnest Associates, 1997. 2nd ed., vol. 1, pp. 287-290.

Linda Eaton. Quilts in a Material World: Selections from the Winterthur Collection. New York: Abrams in association with the Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum, 2007, 68-69.

Patricia Herr. Quilting Traditions. Atlglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing Ltd. for The Heritage Center of Lancaster County, 2000.

Andreas Kachline (1728-1781) Find a Grave. Accessed 24 August 2016
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=73730710

Susanna Benner Kachline (1734-1777) Find a Grave Accessed 24 August 2016 http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=73730729

Jacob Kepler Will probated April 10, 1824 and proved in Bucks County on March 22, 1825 under File No. 5388, Vol. 10, 1821-1841 pp. 357-359, Executors John Kachlein and Jacob Smith; Registrar Samuel Smith. Bucks County (Pennsylvania). Register of Wills; Probate Place: Bucks, Pennsylvania. Accessed 25 August 2016 http://www.pa-roots.org/data/read.php?28,59982 as well as http://tinyurl.com/zablvvh

Christina Schleifer Kichlein (1795-1884)
U. S. Federal Census 1880 for Rock Hill, Bucks County, Pa., 22 June 1880 by Joseph a Fluck, p. 41, lines 42-44. Accessed 24 August 2016 http://tinyurl.com/j4zqs75

 _______________ . Find a Grave. Accessed 24 August 2016. http://www.findagrave.com/cgibin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=63231022&ref=acom

Elizabeth Kepler [Köbler] Kichlein (1776-1861) Find a Grave. Accessed 24 August 2016 http://www.findagrave.com/cgi bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=51926818

Euphemia Kichlein 1832 Fraktur Quilt. Metropolitan Museum of Art Quilt Collection 2016. Accessed 23 August 2016 http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/717944

 Johannes Kichlein (1768-1852) Find a Grave. Accessed 24 August 2016. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=51926842

 Charles R. Kichline Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Death Certificate, File N. 17671; Registered No. 9 (born 6/30/1837; died 2/13/1916) Accessed 25 August 2016 http://tinyurl.com/hdkw87a

 J.[ohn] A.[braham] Kichline Commonwealth of Pa Certificate of Death, File No. 115188; Registered No. 227 (born 1/30/1835; died 12/17/1907). Accessed 24 August 2016 http://tinyurl.com/hqzdbyl

 Jacob S. Kichline (1795-1854) Find a Grave. Accessed 24 August 2016 http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=86545893&ref=acom

 Thomas J. Kichline. The Kichlines in America. Manuscript presented at the Northampton County Historical and Genealogical Society of Easton, Pa., January 15, 1926. Accessed 25 August 2016 http://www.kichline.com/documents/archives/kichlinesinamerica.htm

Metropolitan Museum of Art. Thomas J. Watson Library Digital Collections. Costume Institute Fashion Plates: 1800-1866, Plate 034, public domain. Accessed 7 August 2016
http://libmma.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/p15324coll12/id/11871/rec/36

_______________. Thomas J. Watson Library Digital Collections. Costume Institute Fashion Plates: Women 1827-1829, Plate 046, public domain. Accessed 7 August 2016 http://libmma.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/p15324coll12/id/3851/rec/21

_______________. Thomas J. Watson Library Digital Collections. Costume Institute Fashion Plates: Women 1827-1829, Plate 062, public domain. Accessed 7 August 2016http://libmma.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/p15324coll12/id/3867/rec/53

Donald and Nancy Roan. Lest I Shall Be Forgotten: Anecdotes and Traditions of Quilts Green Lane, PA: Goschenhoppen Historians, 1993.

Nancy Roan and Ellen Gehret. ‘Just A Quilt’ or Juscht en Deppich. Green Lane, PA: Goschenhoppen Historians, n.d.

Christina Schleifer (1795-1884) Christ Lutheran Church Register, Births/Baptisms, p. 20, accessed 24 August 2016 http://tinyurl.com/zu8jmjn

_______________. Christ Lutheran Church Register. Namen der Confirmanten vom Jahr 1811. accessed 24 August 2016 http://tinyurl.com/jlf6ygt

Euphemia Kichlein Scholl (1/16/1819-9/6/1884) Find A Grave. Accessed 24 August 2016. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=64248403&ref=acom

William H. Scholl (1841-1907) Pennsylvania Death Certificate, File No. 109911, Reg. No. 147. Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Accessed 24 August 2016. http://tinyurl.com/z2j9fyb

Robert Shaw. American Quilts: The Democratic Art, 1780-2007. New York: Sterling Publishing, 2009, 44-45.

Klaus Stopp. The Printed Birth and Baptismal Certificates of the German Americans, vol.1 of 6. Mainz, Germany and East Berlin, Pa: privately published, 1997-1999.

John Joseph Stoudt. Pennsylvania German Folk Art. Publications of the Pennsylvnia German Folklore Society, vol. 28, Allentown, Pa: Schlechters, 1966, 334.

 


Winterthur Research Fellow, Moravian and Pennsylvania Dutch Material Culture, 2016

Every year Winterthur provides fellowships to a select group of scholars for research 
in their chosen areas of study in social and cultural history, including material culture, architecture, decorative arts, design, consumer culture, garden and landscape studies, Shaker studies, travel and tourism, the Atlantic World, and objects in literature. ~
Winterthur Research Program

Thanks to a short-term research fellowship this summer at Winterthur,   I have been able to study rare books in the Winterthur Museum Library Collection of Printed Books and Periodicals; objects in the Winterthur Museum Collection; and manuscripts in the Joseph Downs Collection of Manuscripts and Printed Ephemera.  All has contributed to my research for a book in progress Heavenly Fraktur: How Fraktur Influenced Pennsylvania German and Moravian Material Culture. This blog post is based on that research. My sincere thank you to all at Winterthur who have made this fellowship possible.

My thanks also to Patricia Herr, Author and Collector; the Rev. James Hammond, and Kathy Exner of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran “Blue Church” of Coopersburg, Pa.; Janine Pollock and Joseph Shemtov of the Rare Book Department at the Free Library of Philadelphia; Joanne Kintner, Pat Gottschalk, Nancy Roan, Linda Szapacs, and Robert Wood of the Goschenhoppen Historians, Inc.; Charlene Donchez, Lindsey Jancay, and Keith Sten of Historic Bethlehem, Inc.; Dorothy McCoach, Independent Textile Conservator; Dave Luz, Candace Perry, and Hunt Schenkel of the Schwenkfelder Library & Heritage Center; Linda Eaton, Tom Guiler, Julia Hofer, Susan Newton, Catharine Roeber, and Roberta Weisberg of Winterthur Museum.

Fraktur Quilts from the Schleifer-Kichlein Family Blog Post 13 including transcriptions; translations; and photo images, except for images of E. S. 1830 Quilt Winterthur Collection 2000.0071; E. K. 1829 ILL. in John Joseph Stoudt Pennsylvania German Folk Art (1966, p. 334); Photo © Patricia Herr Euphemia Kichlein 1832 Quilt; MMA Fashion Plates 064, 034, 046,
© 2016 Del-Louise Moyer.

How God Spoke to the Pennsylvania Dutch and Moravians Through the Media

Dedication
This blog post is dedicated to Corinne Earnest who left time on May 26, 2016. Without Corinne, Patricia, and Russell Earnest’s unflagging dedication to Fraktur, we would all still be trying to put together many of the pieces of the historical puzzle that they have researched, and solved. She was not zealous for her own purpose, but rather reached out and shared freely her great love and knowledge of Fraktur with everyone. We all shall miss Corinne.

Introduction
The Pennsylvania Dutch and Moravians produced their everyday tools and utensils from seven media: stone, wood, glass, metal, clay, textiles, and paper. Both decorative Fractur script and motifs, as well as everyday cursive calligraphy adorned this material culture, capturing both the spiritual and secular principles then prevalent. In this post we take a look at the scripts and motifs; the practical aspects of time and materials; and how God spoke to the Pennsylvania Dutch and Moravians through the media.

Adam & God
When Adam, father of all mankind, realized his memory wasn’t going to be good enough to remember all the names he had given to earthly living things, he thought he’d better have a talk with God. Now God didn’t want Adam to remember everything, so He said: “Adam, a man can’t keep everything in his head. There should be another way to remember, don’t you think?” Adam, being very relieved, agreed, and so God gave Adam a set of symbols that could be used to keep a record of things. Adam’s children carried on the tradition, and their children’s children, and over time others called these symbols letters or alphabets, and this way of remembering writing.

Writing School in Session
Today, the world over we find varying alphabets, and mankind is still using them to remember. So it was, too, in the eighteenth century when around 1760 people began to ask Johann Michael Schirmer, a writing master, mathematician, and school teacher in the free imperial city of Frankfurt am Main to put together a practical self-instructional handwriting book for the use of young people and adults. Schirmer had very little free time and was reluctant, but finally realized he was the only one who had the broad knowledge and skill necessary to inspire youth to take up the pen and learn to write German in Fraktur, Current, and, chancery scripts, and to notate their Latin, Italian and French in round lettering known as Literae Rotundae and square lettering or Romanae Quadratae. Schirmer’s title page indicates that Current, Canzleÿ, and Fractur are to be understood as German calligraphy, and Cursiva, Rotunda, and Quadrata as Latin calligraphy.

Current Script
Current, also known as German script, was so named, according to Schirmer, because it was “currently” in common use among the general public. He emphasized that his exercises were so designed to teach one to write in this cursive script with ease and clarity as if one letter grew out of the other.

Chancery Script
Canzleÿ or chancery script was created from Fractur quite by accident in the chanceries and scriptoria. As shortcuts were found to speed up the making of initial capital letters, first lines, and other applications in Fractur script, rules were altered. Eventually a whole new set of criteria was recognized under the name of chancery script. Schirmer advises the reader that there was no uniform agreement among writing masters concerning this.

Fractur Script
Initially German-speaking calligraphers preferred writing in Fractur, but found it required a great deal of time and skill to do so. This made it unsuitable for everyday situations, and, as already mentioned, encouraged simplification in the rules. So it is not surprising that scribes naturally developed a handwriting for daily use, and eventually designated Fractur exclusively for the ornamentation of initial letters, opening text, and important words in documents. Schirmer notes that only after the introduction of the printing press, [1] did people begin referring to the script as Fractur. Although there is no proof of this, one thing is certain: Fractur deriving from the Latin word Fractus, and meaning fractured or broken, certainly was used by those printing or handwriting these angular broken letters, and is still used today to describe its fonts and calligraphy.

Cursiva, Round Letters, Square Capitals
Schirmer categorizes Cursiva, Rotunda, and Quadrata as Latin calligraphy. Quadrata or Square Capitals were tedious to form because of their straight lines and angular configuration, making them more suitable for carving inscriptions on stone with a chisel than for writing a text on parchment or paper with a pen. Calligraphers, therefore, as with Fractur, in the course of time modified the shape of this script to a rounder lettered form that could be written with a flowing connected hand and speed for everyday use, calling it Cursiva. They reserved the Square Capitals for special headings and text on paper, and used them on readily conducive media such as stone or metal.

Intended for cursive handwriting, Schirmer includes large and small Round Letter (Literae Rotundae) alphabets in lower case (Gemeine), as well as decorative upper case (Versalien) examples,. He also introduces Literae Romanae Quadratae (Square Capitals) to be used as ornamental lettering.

Ornamented Letters in Latin and French
For those writing in Latin and French, Schirmer recommends twelve (12) examples in round capital letters to decorate introductory lines.

Ornamented Letters in German
When writing in German, he suggests using any of the following thirty-eight designs in lowercase Fractur to ornament initial text.

“Youth’s Lifelong Obligations”  Vorschrift by Johann Michael Schirmer, ca. 1760
Schirmer’s European writing samples are not only exercises to master the various scripts, but are also reminiscent of what we find in similar Pennsylvania Dutch and Moravian Vorschriften in America: a combination of design examples, practice formulas, and moral tips, taken mostly from the Bible, hymns, and religious poems, to keep young and old on the path to heaven. The following text from his “Youth’s Lifelong Obligaions” parallels what we find in American writing samples of the time period:

Focus on your Creator when young, and have Him ever before your eyes and in your heart.
With unfeigned love, childlike diffidence, and total confidence, dedicate the first fruits
of your endeavors to Him. Accustom your lips not to curse or swear, and never be afraid
to use them in prayer, praise, and thanks. Be diligent in learning the Word of God, and live
your life accordingly. Be humble towards everyone, and respect the elderly. Always be willing to oblige your friends and enemies. Avoid hateful words and foolish actions. Shun the temptations of youth, and remain chaste and virtuous. Be steadfast in your work, and eat your bread with dignity. Bann all falsehoods and lies. Harbor no evil thoughts nor associate with bad company. [2]

“Connoisseurs’ Writing Sample for Reading and Writing” by Wilhelmus Faber, 1812
A comparable American Vorschrift created by Wilhelmus Antonius Faber (active ca. 1790-1820) in 1812 for Johannes Klinger, a school boy living in Exeter Township in Berks County, Pennsylvania, demonstrates not only text similarities, but also mirrors a number of precepts found in Schirmer’s Writing School in Session or German, Latin, and French Writing Samples:

  • Firstly, Faber uses Fractur script for the initial lines as suggested by Schirmer, and chooses a double band decorative element similar to Illustration 7 of How to Decorate Opening Lines Written in German, (Copperplate No. 46 ) to ornament the opening religious text “Wohl dem den der Herr in…” Just as Schirmer demonstrates the use of calligraphic flourishes in Youth’s lifelong Obligations, (Copperplate No. 40), so too we find Faber embellishing not only the initial letter “W” with flourishes, but also, in similar fashion, all along the top of the line.
  • The religious text in Fractur script paraphrases the Psalmist David, and then in German script quotes verses 9-11 from Psalm 91, demonstrating the every day cursive handwriting the student is more likely to use throughout his life. The upper and lower case alphabets in Current script are included for practice purposes.
  • The final line Johannes Klinger’s Writing Sample, 28th November 1812 is important text identifying the owner, and, accordingly is also done in Fractur.

Connoisseurs’ Writing Sample for Reading and Writing, 1812
He whom the Savior blesses in his work and household shall prosper. For the Lord is your refuge, and the Most High your deliverance. No evil will befall you, and no plague come nigh unto your dwelling. For He has entrusted you to his angels that they may protect you wherever you may be [Psalm 91:9-11].
A B C D E F G H I K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A a | b c d e f fs g h j i k l ll m n o p q r s ss s t u v w x y z tz ch ß sch sl si tz
Johannes Klinger his Writing Sample, Exeter the 28th of November 1812 [3]

Faber was most likely a school teacher, and is best known for his decorative Scherenschnitte or cutwork that frequently encircles the text. However, he also made writing samples such as the FLP example. It has been suggested that he was Moravian since he reputedly once lived in Lititz, Pennsylvania, a Moravian community in northern Lancaster County. He was also, however, active in Berks, Bucks, Chester, Dauphin, Lebanon, Montgomery and Northampton Counties. Knowledgeable in German, Latin, and English, his calligraphy is remarkably fine, and that of a trained scrivener.

A New Definition of Fractur, 1897
In 1897 another meaning of Fractur was introduced that has redefined the way we think of Pennsylvania Dutch and Moravian material culture. In September of that year Henry Chapman Mercer gave a talk The Survival of the Mediaeval Art of Illuminative Writing Among Pennsylvania Germans to American Philosophical Society members in Philadelphia. He suggested that it would be much more convenient if all Pennsylvania German illuminated manuscripts be called Fractur. Since then objects with or without Fractur script can be called Fractur. For example, a bird or flower or geometric design on paper, textiles, clay, wood, glass, metal, or stone with or without any text can be referred to as Fractur. The material culture of both groups, therefore, is represented through visual, as well as written Fractur. Stone and textiles, per Ellen Gehret in This is the Way I Pass My Time, vie with works on paper for containing the most Fractur script, and hand towels are “more verbal than any other form of Pennsylvania German needlework with the exception of samplers.” [4]

“My God, Through the Blood of Christ” Sampler by Elisa Kulp, 1816
Elisa Kulp, a Mennonite living in the Franconia area of Montgomery County Pennsylvania, worked a most extraordinary sampler in 1816. An A B C sampler with square capital letters in the upper half, along with floral and geometric designs in the lower ensured that she would be able to number and mark her linens with her name or initials for inventory, as well as have a template of decorative motifs to embellish other textiles throughout her life. It is worthwhile pointing out that household textiles were highly valued, and an important part of one’s estate.

Elisa embroidered her name in full twice, and also added her initials so that there would be no doubt to whom this lovely piece belonged. She also embroidered two spiritual reminders, both in square capital letters:

  • MEIN GOTT ICH BITT | DURCH CHRISTI BLUT | MACHS DOCH MITT | MEINEM ENDE GUT or MY GOD I ASK YOU THROUGH THE BLOOD OF CHRIST TO ASSURE ME A PEACEFUL END.
  • O EDEL HERZ BEDENKE DEIN ENDE or O NOBEL HEART CONTEMPLATE YOUR END.

The origin or inspiration of these phrases can be traced to Ämilie Juliane, Imperial Countess of Schwartzburg-Rudolstadt (1637-1706), who was born in 1637 in Barby, a place which in the eighteenth century was to become strongly associated with the Moravians. Like Luther, this noble lady considered prayer and diligence key necessities to one’s life, meditating three times daily. She died in Rudolstadt in 1706. Ämilie Juliane is known to have written over 500 hymns, one of which Die Eile des Lebens or The Hurriedness of Life contains the phrase Elisa cross-stitched “Mein Gott ich bitt durch Christi Blut Machs doch mit meinem Ende gut.” This refrain comes at the end of each of twelve verses, “My God, my God, I ask you through the blood of Christ to assure me a peaceful end.” The beginning of the third verse “Lord, teach me always to contemplate my end,” or “Herr, lehr mich stets mein End gedenken’ may have inspired Elisa to encircle a flowering heart motif in the center of the bottom half of her sampler with the entire command “O Edel Herz Bedenke Dein Ende” or “O Noble Heart, Contemplate your End.” This was a saying near and dear to the Pennsylvania Dutch and appeared frequently on samplers and towels in the abbreviated form OEHBDDE.

“That Which You Want Others to Do” Susanna Steltz Plate by Georg Hübner, 1789
There are two kinds of Pennsylvania Dutch and Moravian redware: the greater majority falls under utilitarian in glazed, unglazed, or partly glazed ware; and a much smaller group of “fancy” glazed and decorated ware. Georg Hübner, a potter in Limerick Township, Montgomery PA made a slip decorated, sgrafitto dish thirteen inches in diameter for Susanna Steltz in 1789 that falls into the latter category. Slipware refers to glazed pieces that have had an element of design added such as a drawing, date, name, or saying. For sgraffito, from the Italian for “scratched,” the slip is painted on the surface and the design is scratched through the slip revealing the contrasting red clay beneath. Although such a piece showed off the potter’s skills, and was less likely to be used daily, there is evidence from marks of wear and tear on some that not all were presentation pieces. The Steltz piece, however, appears to have been rarely used, and does, indeed, demonstrate Hübner’s masterful work.

The potter inscribed the outer rim of the plate in Fractur script with a command Jesus gave to the multitude in his sermon on the Mount found in chapters 5-7 of St. Matthew, and chapter 6 of St. Luke—specifically Matthew 7:12, and Luke 6:31, as well as the date and name of the plate owner: “ March 5th 1789 the plate of Susanna Steltz. All that you would have others do unto you, do unto them.” [5] The inner portion is decorated with a double-headed eagle as per the Fractur script between the two heads: “Portrayed here is a double-headed eagle.” [5] Please note that this is not a Holy Roman Empire double-headed eagle bristling with authority and might, but rather a double-headed eagle of totally different temperament to whom Hübner gave a broad and flowering Pennsylvania Dutch heart.

“Dear People, Observe” Pennsylvania Stove Plate, 1753
Radiant-heat stoves existed in northern Europe as far back as the mid-sixteenth century. The tradition of casting them in iron with low relief decorative and textual elements, both secular and religious, also originated on the Continent. Some of the eighteenth-century German-speaking immigrants to Pennsylvania brought these cast iron stoves along with them to heat their homes, and when they needed to replace or repair damaged or worn plates, found iron masters who could replicate the traditional plates at local forges.

The Pennsylvania Dutch house in the mid- to late eighteenth century consisted of three rooms on the main floor: a Küche or kitchen on one side of a centrally-located chimney, and a family living space known as the Stube or “room,” as well as the Kammer or “sleeping chamber” on the other. The fireplace opened into the kitchen and, just as in Europe, the most economical way to heat the Stube was via the cast iron five-plate jamb stove, which when put together, formed an open box that could be put against an opening in the wall shared with and opening into the kitchen fireplace. Placing hot coals or burning wood from the fireplace side into the stove opening provided heat in the Stube without the annoyance of smoke.

These plates were made in the same way as in Europe, and typically were adorned with secular or religious inscriptions done in Romanae Quadratae or Capital Square Letters. Fractur visual motifs such as tulips, stars, medallions, wheat sheaves, and human figures often depicted a Biblical story with or without a saying, reminding the viewer of his temporal existence, and need to take stock of the eternal path he was forging.

One unusual stove plate, however, stands apart from all the others, and appears to be a political satire on an event taking place on September 14, 1753. As Henry Chapman Mercer noted in 1914 in his work The Bible in Iron, and as is still the case:

No event on September 14, 1753, either in Pennsylvania, where James Hamilton
(1748-54) was Governor, or in Germany or England, where Frederick the Great
and George the Third reigned, appears to explain this joke or satire (the only
caricature in the whole collection), upon some person, so publicly well known as
to strike the popular fancy and increase the sale of a stove at that time. [6]

This stove plate’s message was easily understood by the denizens of southeastern Pennsylvania in 1753, and although we don’t yet know the true significance of its imagery and text, we can at least contemplate both its visual, and verbal elements.

Two vaulted panels are divided by a vertical molding: At the top on the left in relief are the letters “17.” In the center a rider, in tricorn hat and long coat, clenches a sword in right hand, while holding aloft possibly a torch in his left hand. He conspicuously sits upon a goat. At the top on the right are the letters “53.” In the center a man on foot, wearing a headdress and long coat faces the rider, and with both hands holds a sword in horizontal position in front of him.

Underlined Romanae Quadratae or Square Capital Letters follow:

SEHET. ZU. IHR LIBEN.      DEAR PEOPLE, OBSERVE
LEUT. WIE. DER. HERR      HOW THE GENTLEMAN
AUFF . DIESEM PFRTE       RIDES UPON THIS HORSE.
REIT. D 14 SEPTEMBR      THE 14th OF SEPTEMBER

“Michael Weber Rests Here in God” Tombstone

“Well over one thousand examples of handcarved decorated gravemarkers exist in Pennsylvania German graveyards with German inscriptions and decorations not unlike those on Fraktur.” [7] The tombstone of Michael Weber, a Revolutionary War veteran, is one of these, and, although the tombstone cutter failed to include any Fractur visual motifs, he chose to inscribe Fractur script, a much more difficult task than if he had used the Square Capital Letters or Romanae Quadratae so suited to stone carving. This marker, unlike many that have been damaged by vandalism, acid rain, and neglect is well cared for and clearly legible: “Michael Weber rests here in God. He was born September 29, 1735 and died December 24, 1826 at age 88 years, 2 months, and 25 days.” [8] As so many others before him, who had used the tools of their trade upon stone, wood, glass, metal, clay, textiles, and paper, this tombstone carver consciously left a lasting warning and promise, one which reaches us even today as we read upon the gravemarker: “O wayfarer, consider your end, which can come all too quickly. Put on Christ Jesus, through whom you can be redeemed.” [8]


Endnotes
[1] Johannes Gutenberg introduced the first movable type printing press in Mainz ca. 1440.

[2] Youth’s Obligations Towards Life, a translation of Schirmer’s writing sample “Lebens Pflichten der Jugend,” in Geöfnete Schreib=Schule…Franckfurt am Maÿn: Selbstverlag, ca. 1760, copper plate No. 40. For original Fraktur script see Fig. 8. The following is a transcription thereof: Bedenke an deinen Schöpfer | in der Jugend, und habe denselben immer vor Augen | und im Herzen: widme ihm die Erstlinge deiner Kraft, in hertzlicher Lie= | be, kindlicher Furcht und vollkommenem Vertrauen. Bewohne | deinen Mund nicht zum Fluchen und Schwören, und schäme dich | nicht, denselben im Beten, Loben und danken aufzuthun. Lerne fleis= |sig das Wort Gottes, und führe dein Leben darnach [.] Sey demü= | thig gegen jedermann, und ehre die Alten. Befleissige dich der | Dienstfertigkeit gegen Freunde und Feinde. Schandbahre | Wort und Narrentheidung laß ferne von dir seyn. Fliehe die Lüs= | sten der Jugend, und halte dich keusch und züchtig. In deinem Be= | ruf sey fleissig, und esse dein Brod mit Ehren. Verbanne die | Falschheit und Lügen. Hege keine böse Gedanken, und meide | endlich alle böse Gesellschaft.

[3] “He Shall Prosper Whom the Savior Blesses,” a translation of Wilhelmus Faber’s 1812 Johannes Klinger Vorschrift. For original Fractur and German script, see Fig. 9. The following is a transcription thereof: Vorschrift der Liebhabern zum Lesen und Schreiben, 1812. Wohl dem, den der Herr in | seiner Arbe[i]t segnet, und seine Haushaltung beglücket. |[Luther Bibel, 1545; Psalm 91: 9-11] Denn der Herr ist Deine Zuversicht der Höchste ist Dein Zuflucht. Es wird Dir kein |übels [sic] begegnen, und keine Plage wird zu Deiner Hütte sich nahen. Denn er hat seinen [sic] | Engel befohlen über Dir, daß sie Dich behüten auf allen Deinen Wegen.
A B C D E F G H I K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A a | b c d e f fs g h j i k l ll m n o p q r s ss s t u v w x y z tz ch ß sch fl fi tz
Johannes Klinger seine Vorschrift, Exeter d 28ten November 1812

[4] Ellen Gehret, This is the Way I Pass My Time: A Book About Pennsylvania German Decorated Hand Towels (Birdsboro, PA: Pennsylvania German Society, 1985), 5.

[5] For original Fractur script, see fig.10. The following is a transcription of the plate rim: “Mertz.5ten 1789 Susanna Steltz, ihre schüssel, Alles was ihr wolt das euch die Leute Duhn sollen Das Duth ihr ihnen.“ Between the two eagle heads, the transcription reads: “Hir ist Abgebilt ein dobelter Adler.”

[6] Henry Chapman Mercer. The Bible in Iron (Doylestown, PA: Bucks County Historical Society, 1961), 59, No. 73, “The Man and the Goat.”

[7] Gehret, 5.

[8] For original Fractur script, see Fig. 12. The following is a transcription of the tombstone: “Hier | ruhet in Gott | Michael Weber | er war gebohren den 29 . | September 1738, und starb | den 24 . December 1826, | in dem Alter von 88 Jahre, | 2 Monate und 25 Tage. | O, Wanders Mann | Gedenk ans Ende. | Das leichtlich kommen kann; | Vielleicht auch gar behende, | Und ziehe Christum Jesum an, durch den man selig werden | kann.


SOURCES
Arthur Cecil Bining. Pennsylvania Iron Manufacture in the Eighteenth Century. Harrisburg: PA Historical Commission, 1938.

“Wilhelmus Antonius Faber” in Russell D. and Corinne P. Earnest, Papers for Birth Dayes: Guide to the Fraktur Artists and Scriveners. East Berlin, Pa.: Russell D. Earnest Associates, 1997, 2nd ed., vol. 1, 264-265.

Wilhelmus Faber’s Johannes Klinger 1812 Vorschift in Henry S. Borneman, Pennsylvania German Illuminated Manuscripts. Norristown, Pa.: Pennsylvania German Society, 1937, published as plate 3.

Ellen Gehret. This is the Way I Pass My Time: A Book About Pennsylvania German Decorated Hand Towels. Birdsboro, PA: Pennsylvania German Society, 1985.

Tandy and Charles Hersh. Samplers of the Pennsylvania Germans. Birdsboro, PA: Pennsylvania German Society, 1991.

Stacy C. Hollander et al., American Radiance: The Ralph Esmerian Gift to the American Folk Art Museum Catalog. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2001, 141-142, no. 104 [Georg Hübner].

 Catherine E. Hutchins., et al. Arts of the Pennsylvania Germans. New York, NY: Published for the Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum by Norton: 1983.

Henry J. Kauffman and Quentin H. Bowers. Early American Andirons and Other Fireplace Accessories. Nashville, Tn: Nelson [1975].

Henry J. Kauffman. American Copper & Brass. [Camden, N.J.]: T. Nelson [1968].

_______________. Early American Ironware: Cast and Wrought. Rutland, Vt.: C.E. Tuttle Co., 1966.

_______________. Pennsylvania Dutch: American Folk Art, New York: Dover Publications, [1964], 94-95 [Georg Hübner].

Henry Chapman Mercer. The Survival of the Mediaeval Art of Illuminative Writing Among Pennsylvania Germans. [Doylestown, Pa: Bucks County Historical Society], [1897].

_______________. The Bible in Iron. Doylestown, PA: Bucks County Historical Society, 1914, 59, No. 73, The Man and the Goat. Google Books, Accessed 22 July 2016 https://books.google.com/books?id=kC9PAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

Lisa Minardi. A Colorful Folk: Pennsylvania Germans & the Art of Everyday Life. Winterthur, DE: Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum, Inc., 2015, fig. 20, 22 [Georg Hübner].

_______________. “A Colorful Folk: Pennsylvania Germans And The Art Of Everyday Life, In Collect Interiors + Collections Online, Fig. 5. Photograph by Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library. Accessed 27 July 2016.   https://www.incollect.com/articles/a-colorful-folk-pennsylvania-germans-and-the-art-of-everyday-life

Betty Ring. Girlhood Embroidery: American Samplers and Pictorial Needlework,
1650-1850 . New York: A. A. Knopf, 1993.

Earl F. Robacker. “Pennsylvania Redware,” in Pennsylvania Folklife. Vol. 46, No. 3 (1997), 137-142. Pennsylvania Folklife Magazine. Book 150. Accessed 26 July 2016 http://digitalcommons.ursinus.edu/pafolklifemag/150 [Georg Hübner].

Margaret B. Schiffer. Historical Needlework of Pennsylvania. New York: Scribener, 1968.

Johann Michael Schirmer. Geöfnete Schreib=Schule oder Deutsche, Lateinische, und Franzöische Vorschriften. Frankfurt am Maÿn: Selbst Verlag, ca. 1760.

Peter Steltz Sr., Last Will and Testament, with Codicil, 1832. Wills, Vol 6-7, 1821-1839. Proved and Letters Testamentary Granted to Valentin, Christian, and Peter Steltz Jr.; Author: Montgomery County (Pennsylvania). Register of Wills; Probate Place: Montgomery, Pennsylvania

John J. Stoudt. Pennsylvania German Folk Art: An Interpretation. Allentown, Pa.: Schlecters, 1966, 313 [Georg Hübner].

Stove Plate – Eighteenth Century. Pennsylvania. The State Museum of Pennsylvania. 33.107.3, accessed 9 July 2016 http://statemuseumpa.org/biblical-guidance-cast-iron/

Swan, Susan Burrows. A Winterthur Guide to American Needlework. Winterthur, Del.: Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum, 1976.

_______________. Plain & Fancy: American Women and Their Needlework, 1650–1850. Austin, Texas.: Curious Works Press, 1995.

Marjie Thompson, Kathleen L. Grant and Alan G. Keyser. Forgotten Pennsylvania Textiles of the 18th and 19th Centuries. Cumberland, ME: Linen Press, [2005?].

Daniel Berkeley Updike. Printing Types Their History, Forms, and Use: A Study in Survivals. Cambridge:Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1962, 2 vols.

Anna Maria Weber, m. n. Angelmayer (6/21/1749-4/3/1834), Friedensville Cemetery, Friedensville, Pa Accessed 10 July 2016 http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=80302681

Michael Weber (1738-1826), Friedensville Cemetery, Friedensville, Pa.Accessed 10 July 2016 http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=16462194&ref=acom


Winterthur Research Fellow, Moravian and Pennsylvania Dutch Material Culture, 2016
Every year Winterthur provides fellowships to a select group of scholars for research
in their chosen areas of study in social and cultural history, including material culture, architecture, decorative arts, design, consumer culture, garden and landscape studies, Shaker studies, travel and tourism,the Atlantic World, and objects in literature.
~ Winterthur Research Program

Thanks to a short-term research fellowship this summer at Winterthur I have been able to study rare books such as Johann Michael Schirmer’s ca. 1740 Geöfnete Schreibschule in the Winterthur Museum Library Collection of Printed Books and Periodicals; objects in the Winterthur Museum Collection; and manuscripts in the Joseph Downs Collection of Manuscripts and Printed Ephemera.  All has contributed to my research for a book in progress Heavenly Fraktur: How Fraktur Influenced Pennsylvania German and Moravian Material Culture. This blog post is based on that research. My sincere thank you to all at Winterthur who have made this fellowship possible.

My thanks also to Donald Trump of the Friedensville Evangelical Lutheran Church; Joanne Kintner and Robert Wood of the Goschenhoppen Historians, Inc.; Patricia Herr, Author and Collector; Dorothy McCoach, Independent Textile Conservator; Janine Pollock and Joseph Shemtov of the Rare Book Department at the Free Library of Philadelphia.

How God Spoke to the Pennsylvania Dutch and Moravians Through the Media Blog Post including transcriptions; translations; and photo images, except for images of the Elisa Kulp 1816 Sampler; the Susanna Steltz Plate; and Sehet zu ihr liben Leut Stove Plate,
© 2016 Del-Louise Moyer.

Geburtsbriefe and Taufwünsche: European Phenomena

An Alpbrief [1] from the fourteenth century is the earliest extant record in a German-speaking area of Europe that requires a Geburtsbrief as proof of identity: Any nonnative who wished to join one of the three communities in and around Klosters in the Canton of Graubünden Switzerland had to “…present a Geburtsbrief, that is, a written proof of birth; land of origin; and that he [was] of legal lineage…” [2] Geburtsbrief is the earlier form for Geburtsschein, a term recognized today for eighteenth and nineteenth century Pennsylvania Dutch birth records/certificates containing principally the names of the parents, baby, date and place of birth.

Such documents have become collectors’ items, serving no functional purpose. It is important to remember, however, that there was a time when they were an integral part of people’s lives, and could be used in both Europe and America as proof of one’s origins when needed.

Translation [3]
A son was born into this world to this wedded pair, that is to Johannes Landes, and his legal spouse Elisabeth, m.n. Schott. His name is Samuel Landes, and he was born on the 17 January in the Year of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ 1801 in America, in the State of Pennsylvania, in Bucks County, in Rockhill Township; Written on the 13 March in the Year 1816.

The Taufbrief or baptismal letter, also known as a Taufwunsch or baptismal wish, Taufzedel, Taufzettel, Taufzeddul or baptismal note, and Göttelbrief or godparent letter was used differently than a Geburtsschein, or Taufschein, and bears witness to the relationship and responsibilities between godparents and the consecrated infant. This was to be a lasting memory to the child of its dedication to God on that day, and the desire of its sponsor(s) that it might continue to thrive in its relationship with its Creator as it grew to adulthood. It always contains the names of the sponsors, and often the child’s first name, and the date of baptism. It may or may not contain the church affiliation and place, child’s last name, and date of birth. It almost never contains the parents’ names. The earliest known Taufbrief dates back to 1593 in Saverne, Alsace for a Catholic baptismal service.[4]

That the Taufzettel was well established and flourishing at the beginning of the eighteenth century is attested to in an all important source describing the practical details of a woman’s life: Gottlieb Siegmund Corvinus’ (Pseudonym: Amaranthes) Nutzbares, galantes und curiöses Frauenzimmer-Lexicon of 1715 (A Useful, Noble, and Curious Lexicon for Women): [5]

Pathen-Zettul are those printed papers with copper etchings
or engravings intended for a baby boy or girl, and are decorated
with all kinds of rhyming congratulatory verses. The godparents
sign their names on the sheets; tuck their gifts or sponsor money
into them; and usually wind something around to make them secure. [6]

These then were the Patenbriefe that publishers offered and marketed through local bookstores, as well as itinerant book sellers who canvassed the countryside with their wares. Some of the better known were Reinholden Printers in Leipzig; J. Balzer and E. W. Buchheister in Breslau; J. H. Hierthes in Weissenburg; Johann Andreas Endter in Nürnberg; F. J. Oberthür in Straßburg; and Gottfried Hoffmann in Waldenburg, who printed baptismal greetings from 1756 on, and whose heirs continued to do so into the beginning of the nineteenth century. Among the older printed Taufzettel are some fine examples depicting symbols related to baptism and virtue; scenes from the life of Jesus; the four Evangelists; and often the entire baptismal sacrament itself.

Translation [7]
[Center]
Baptismal Note
Most precious child, may you so live on earth that you attain bliss.
I also want to ask of God that after this sojourn here, he might
take you into Salem’s dwelling,[8] into joyful eternity. Amen
I, your most faithful godmother, wish this for you. Elisabeth Käster
at Kästers house on the 22nd Day of December
in the year 1811 you
were baptized in holy consecration at [Blank]

[Upper Left Corner]
May God give this child faith; cleanse it of all its sins; and give it an
upright spirit –

[Upper Right Corner]
to do as God the Father commands, according to His will while
living here on earth, and afterwards in eternal life.

[Lower Left Corner]
Take this penny from me. May God replace it with a better one.
Obey your father and mother—

[Lower Right Corner]
Be happy among pious people, and avoid the evil ones.
Then you’ll be able to enter heaven with God.

The hand-done Taufwunsch was represented first and foremost in the Alsace, and to a lesser extent in Silesia and Bohemia. Especially charming and artistically creative, their makers, whether teachers, ministers, or simple farmers, showed originality in their calligraphy and accompanying decorative elements, replicating on their baptismal greetings the tulips, forget-me-nots, roses, and carnations found in their gardens. The real world that surrounded them supplied the roosters, doves, swans, peacocks, and eagles. Architectural elements dating back to the Renaissance, and adorning town buildings, stone grave monuments, and the homes of the elite perhaps inspired the imaginative figures of unicorns, mermaids, mermen, and angels. The artist, who was more in tune with tradition than symbolism, added these to his design as well, and his love and joy in the artistic process more than made up for any drawing talent he may have lacked.

The following illuminated manuscript, attributed to the Tall-Soldiers Artist, is labeled Taufschein, but follows neither the European Taufbrief template nor the usual and customary formula of American Taufscheins as we understand them today. Rather, it is a baptismal or Tauf adaptation by the artist/scrivener in the form of a Schein or certificate, thus without a place to insert coin(s). More than likely the token gift of money accompanied the Taufschein.

Translation [9]
Michael Bossert was born into this world on 26 February in the year 1766 of Christian Lutheran parents. His Godfather Johann Michael Ritter has had this baptismal certificate made for him in celebration thereof. His Godmother was Margaretha Beck.

The Sussel-Washington Artist, active from 1760-1779, expressly created Taufwünsche that followed the European formula and so labeled them. He used a standard template of baptismal wishes in the center, flanked usually by the charmingly attired God or godmother on one side and the Peter, Pfeter, Pfetter or godfather on the other.

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Fig. 6a Christlicher Tauff Wunsch for Samuel Staud, Pennsylvania, 2/28/1785, 39.164.1 (Courtesy of Reading Public Museum, Reading, Pa.; Photo Image © Del-Louise Moyer)

Translation: [10]
Christian Baptismal Wish: O dear child in Christ, you have been bought through Christ’s death, who, purchased you from Hell with His blood. After your baptism I wanted to send this to you as a remembrance and ever-present reminder. Grow up to honor God, to give joy to your parents, for the benefit of your neighbor, and for your salvation. Samuehl Staud was born Feburary 28, 1785, and baptized by Pastor Henrich Dehkert [Deckert]. Baptismal sponsors were Samuehl Marburger and his wife Maria, in Braunschweig Township, Berks County, in America.

Fig. 6b Christlicher Tauff Wunsch for Johan Heinrich, Pennsylvania, 3/1/1771.
1961.1118 A (Courtesy of Winterthur Museum, Wilmington, De)

Translation  [11]
Johannes Siberi Godfather Susanna Siberi Godmother
Christian Greetings spring forth from the heart’s bower in seven hours. Along with that I wish you luck, health, blessings and prosperity in your life here, and in time may you enter into the kingdom of eternal joy that no man’s tongue can describe; that no eye has seen; and no ear yet heard. Grow up to honor God, for the benefit of your neighbor, and for your salvation. Johan Heinrich was born March 1, 1771 in Warwick Township [Lancaster County].

Fig. 6c Christlicher Tauff Wunsch for Maria Gertraud, Pennsylvania, 9/25/1776, Visual Grace: Important American Folk Art from the Collection of Ralph O. Esmerian, Lot 617 (Courtesy of Sothebys, New York, NY)

Translation [12]
Godmother Maria Hemperling  Godfather Ludwig Hemperling
Christian Baptismal Wish: O dear child in Christ, you have been bought through Christ’s death, who, purchased you from Hell with His blood. After your baptism I wanted to send this to you as a remembrance and ever-present reminder. Grow up to honor God, to give joy to your parents, for the benefit of your neighbor, and for your salvation. Maria Gertraud was born September 24, 1776, in the sign of Aquarius in Paxton [Township] in Lancaster County [now Dauphin County] in Pennsylvania in America. May God grant His blessing.

Fig. 6d Christlicher Tauff Wunsch for Stovel Ehmrich, Pennsylvania, 1958.0120.015A (Courtesy of Winterthur Museum, Wilmington, De)

Translation [13]
Christian Baptismal Wish: O dear child in Christ, you have been bought through Christ’s death, Who purchased you from Hell with His blood. After your baptism I wanted to send this to you as a remembrance and ever-present reminder. Grow up to honor God, to give joy to your parents, for the benefit of your neighbor, and for your salvation. Stovel Ehmrich was born January 23, 1771, and baptized by Pastor Schultz. Godparents were Stovel Herrold and his wife Catharina in Bethel Township in Berks County in America in Pennsylvania. [Different hand not original to text as created ] The parents were Johannes Emrich and his wife Gertraut.

Superstitious beliefs also influenced what one might add to the Taufzettel as a gift, and different areas had their own peculiarities. This is especially true as to whether the baptismal letter was to be sealed or left open:

  • In some places, at the end of the consecration the godparents would put a certain sum of money into their Patenbrief, and place it into the godchild’s cradle.   The baptismal letter was left unsealed. This was true, especially if it was for a baby girl, in which case one would wind one strand of thread, and one strand of silk around it. The thread was to be used to sew the child’s first shirt. The silk, which was usually red in color, was to be used some time later to wrap around the baby’s hands. [The reason for the latter custom is unknown].
  • For a baby boy, one added nine kinds of seed to the baptismal letter so that when he grew up, the grains he planted would grow well.
  • Similarly for a baby girl, one added several grains of flax seeds and a threaded sewing needle so that one day her flax crops would flourish, and she would learn to sew well.
  • Including bread, cheese, wool, or flax meant the child would never want when it grew up.
  • In some regions it was believed that the Taufwunsch was to be left open so that the child’s mind would be open to understanding. Otherwise the child’s ability to learn would be impeded.
  • In the Canton of Bern, Switzerland there were to be three Godparents, each one presenting the baby with a separate Taufzedel. If, when the child grew up, it kept the letters on its person, neither witches nor ghosts could ever have power over it. [14]

In 1856 Pastor J. Baumgart described the then current ceremony in middle Silesia:

Before the godparents leave the church, they place a coin into a special fold in so-called Patentbriefe, which are decorated with printed vignettes and appropriate verses. Colorful ribbons are wound around the baptismal letter. The least the sponsors can give a baby girl is one Reichstaler three Pfennig, and the three copper pennies better not be missing. [15]

 It is a curious thing that in the early twentieth century it was sensed and lamented both in German-speaking areas of Europe as well as in America that an era was coming to an end, and the demise of once flourishing folk customs such as the Geburtsschein and Taufzettel were at hand. Prior to World War II feeble attempts were made to reawaken the desire to return to such traditions, but ultimately people were too far removed from the lifestyle that gave birth to these customs. Today Geburtsscheine and Taufwünsche similar in design and content can be found in both museums and libraries in Germany, Holland, Poland, Austria, parts of the former USSR and America leaving little doubt that both forms of identity, one for the temporal needs of this world, and the other for the spiritual were European phenomena that German-speaking immigrants brought with them as they settled southeastern Pennsylvania and other areas in the Americas in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. Strong cultural ties to regional customs ensured that there would be no cookie cutter formula, neither in Europe nor in America, and that their usage would be adapted to the temporal and spiritual demands of the geographic areas where they would take root and flourish.

___________________

ENDNOTES
[1] Alpbrief was an agreement designating how residents of adjacent alpine areas were to distribute and care for the surrounding pastureland.

[2] Chur, Graubünden, Alpbrief des Hochgerichts Klosters Innern Schnitzes: Statutarrechte   von Graubünden im Brätigäu [14th century], VII, 3, 102ff.

[3] Transcription Fig. 1
Diese Beÿde Ehegaten | Als Johannes Landes Und | Seine eheliche
haus frau Elisabeth; eine | geborne Schottin Ist einen Sohn zur Welt
geboren | Namens; Samuel Landes | Ist geboren d[en] 17ten Jenner
im Jahr | Unsers Herren und Heilandes Jesu Christi | 1801 In america
Im Stat Pensÿlvanie[n] | Im bucks Cauntÿ Im Rockhill | Taunschp;
Ge=schrieben d[en] 13te[n] | Merz Im iahr 1816.

[4] Frederick W. Weiser. “Piety and Protocol in Folk Art: Pennsylvania German Fraktur Birth and Baptismal Certificates,” Winterthur Portfolio. 8: 1973, column 1, 22.

[5] Gottlieb Siegmund Covinus (Pseudonym: Amaranthes). Nutzbares, galantes und
curiöses Frauenzimmer-Lexicon.
Leipzig: Johann Friedrich Gleditsch und Sohn, 1715.

[6] Ibid, 1447. Pathen=Zettul = heissen diejenigen in Kupffer | gestochenen oder radirten abge= | druckten Blätter | auf Knäblein oder Mägdlein eingerichtet, und | mit allerhand glückwünschenden | Reimlein gezieret, worein die Ge= |vattern das Geschenke oder Pa= | the= | Geld mit Unterschreibung | ihres Nahmens, einzuwickeln und | zu versiegeln pflegen.

[7] Transcription Fig. 4
[Center]

Tauf= Zedel
Werthes Kind, leb so auf Erden, | Daß Du mögest selig werden. |
Ich will Gott auch für dich bitten; | daß er dich nach dieser Zeit
Nehme auf in Salems Hütten, | In die frohe Ewigkeit. Amen. |
Des wünsche ich, dein allergetreuste Tauf= | Goten Elisabeth Käster |
zu Kästers Haus | Den 22 Tag Christmonat im Jahr 1811 |
bist du getauft worden bey der heiligen Tauf zu [Blank]
[Upper Left Corner]
Gott geb den Glauben diesem | Kind, Und wasch ihm ab all seine |
Sünd; und geb ihm seinen guten Geist –
[Upper Right Corner]
Zu thun was Gott der Vater | heißt. Nach seinem Willen hier |
zu leben; Nach dieser Zeit das ew’ge Leben.
[Lower Left Corner]
Den Pfenning nimm und hab von | mir, Einen bessern woll’ Gott
ge= | ben dir. Thu Vater und Mutter gehorsam seyn—
[Lower Right Corner]
Thu gern bey frommen Leuten | seyn. Der schlimmen Leuten nimm |
dich nicht an, So kannst mit Gott | in Himmel gan.

[8] Salems Hütte or Salems Dwelling refers to the new Jerusalem in Revelations 21, and God’s tent in Salem in Psalm 76: 2.

[9] Transcription Fig. 5
[Original hand] Michael Bossert | ist von christlichen Lu= | therischen Eltern auf dieße Wett [sic] 
ge = | bohren den [different hand] 26 Febrar ann[o]1766|[Original hand] Dießen Tauffschein hat ihme sein | Peter Johann Michael Ritter zu | einem Andencken machen lassen | seine God ist geweßen, Marga | retha Beckin.

[10] Transcription Fig. 6a
Christlicher Tauff wunsch | du bist O: liebes kind in Christ[i] | Tod gekaufft, der dich mitt seinem Blutt, hatt von der Hell erkaufft | deß zur erinnerung, und stettem | angedenck, hab ich nach deiner Tauff, dir dieses wollen sen | den, wachs auff zu gottes | ehr, und deiner eltern Freud | zu deinem nechsten nutz und | deiner seeligkeit. Samuehl Staud \ gebohren den 28ten February 1785 | getaufft von Pfahrer Henrich deh= | kert Tauffzeige Samuehl mar | burger und sein ehe frau maria | in Braunsweig Daunsip in Bergs \ Caunty in amerika

[11] Transcription Fig. 6b
Johannes Siberi
Tauff Zeige |Susanna Siberi Tauff Zeige
Christlicher Wunsch kommt auß | dem herzen grund, in Sieben | Stund, winsch ich darbei, Glück | Heill, Seege und gedeien, in die = | sem leben allhier, Zu wandeln | und gehen ein, in die ewige | freud, die kein menschen Zung[e] | ausprechen kan, da kein auge | gesehen, und kein Ohr nie ge= | hoeret hat, wachs auff zu gottes | ehr; zum menschlichem nutz und | deiner Seeligkeit. Johan | Heinrich gebohren 1771. d| 1ten mertz warwick | Daunsip

[12] Transcription Fig. 6c
Tauf zeigin maria Hemperlinge Tauff Zeige Ludwig Hemperling
Christlicher Tauff Wunsch | du bist o liebes Kind in Christi | Tod getaufft der dich mit seinem blutt | hat von der Hell erkaufft, daß zur er = | rinnerung und stettem angedenck hab ich nach deiner Tauff, dir dießes wollen |senden, wachs auff zu gottes ehr | und deiner eltern Freud \ zu deinem nech = | sten nutz und deiner seeligkeit. Maria Gertraud gebohren | den 24ten September 1776 | im Zeichen Waßerman in | Becksten Caunty, Lenkester Caunty in Penselvani in | amerika Gott gebe seinen | seegen

[13] Transcription Fig. 6d
Christlicher Tauff wunsch, | du bist O: liebe kind, in Christi | Tod getaufft, der dich mit seinen |blutt, hat von der hell erkaufft | deß zur errinnerung, und stet = | tem angedenk, hab ich nach | deiner Tauff, dir dieses wol= | len sencken, wachs auff zu gottes | ehr, und deiner Eltern Freud zu | deinem nechsten nutz, und deiner | seeligkeit stovel ehmrich gebohren | den 23ten January 1771 getaufft | vom Phahrer Schultz Tauffzeige | stovel Herrold und sein ehe frau | Catarina in Bettel daunsip | Bergs Caunty in amerika in | Pensylvani [Different hand not original to text as created →] Die Eltern waren Johannes | Emrich und frau gertraut.

[14] Adolf Jacoby. “Taufbriefe,” in Monatsschrift für Gottesdienst und kirchliche Kunst. 13. Jahrgang, Heft I, Januar 1908. Göttingen Germany: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, herausgegeben [für] Dr. Friedrich Spitta and Dr. Julius Smend, 1908, 202-211.

15 Ibid, 204. Ehe die Paten die Kirche verlassen, werden dem Kinde noch die Patengeschenke eingebunden d. h. ins Bettchen gelegt und zwar Geld in besonders dazu gefertigten Couverts (sogenannte Patenbriefe mit Vignetten und bezüglichen Versen geziert) gewickelt und mit buntseidenen Bändern umschlungen. Die niedrigste Taxe für das Eingebind einer Magd beträgt 1 Rtlr. 3 Pf., der Kupferdreier darf nicht fehlen.


I’d like to thank Corinne & Russell Earnest of the Earnest Archives and Library; Bill Daley and Bod Wood of Goschenhoppen Historians, Inc.; Edwin Hild and Patrick Bell of Olde Hope Antiques; Jeanine Pollock and Joe Shemtov of the Free Library of Philadelphia; Scott Schweigert, and Ashley Hamilton Houston of the Reading Public Museum; Jean Solensky, Librarian for the Joseph Downs Collection of Manuscripts and Printed Ephemera; Susan Ishler Newton, Photographic Services Coordinator; Julia R. Hofer, Registration Database Specialist; and Lea Lane, Elizabeth and Robert Owens Curatorial Fellow, all of Winterthur.

Geburtsbriefe and Taufwünsche: European Phenomena Blog Post including transcriptions; translations; and photo image for Christlicher Tauff Wunsch for Samuel Staud © 2016 Del-Louise Moyer.

 

 

 

 

 

Johann Adam Eyer Roster Booklet 1779-1787

Ever wonder what kind of schools your progenitors attended in the eighteenth century in Pennsylvania? The Goschenhoppen Historians are the keepers of one-of-a-kind manuscript: Johann Adam Eyer’s (1755-1837) Roster Book from 1779-1787 for Birkenseh, Hilltown, and Deep Run Mennonite parochial schools in Bucks County, Pennsylvania that tells it all…or almost all. This booklet dates from when Eyer was just beginning his career as a schoolmaster and was keeping very detailed records of his students’ attendance. The school belonging to Birkenseh Meeting House was part of today’s Blooming Glen congregation in Hilltown Township; a still unidentified school was located in the southern end of Hilltown, possibly near Saint Peter’s Lutheran Church of Hilltown, Hilltown Township; the school for Deep Run meeting house was part of today’s Deep Run East and West Mennonite Churches in Bedminster Township.

The roll book is badly stained; the title page in fragments; and parts or whole pages are missing as can be seen from the illustration. Yet its contents are especially valuable to the genealogist, as well as to researchers investigating the inner-workings of schools organized during the eighteenth century, and associated with Mennonite, Schwenkfelder, Lutheran, and/or Reformed congregations.. Although he sometimes taught two successive terms at the same school, Eyer divided the year into quarters, usually rotating his teaching among the schools. He planned his teaching time with the children according to the agrarian calendar. Children enrolled could take time off whenever they needed to help with farm work or because of illness. Although prices could fluctuate, it usually cost 7 shillings 6 pence for three months of instruction, and most students stayed the whole quarter, returning for the next. If a child was absent, Eyer recorded it next to its name, and made monetary adjustments accordingly. By keeping a list of what each child paid, he was also keeping a record of his income, which could be as high as seventy pounds in a good year.

To supplement the lack of printed textbooks, Johann Adam Eyer created illustrated Vorschriften or writing samples, and rewarded children with Belohnungen, often a drawing with an inspirational saying on it to encourage and thank the student for his or her good work. He was raised Lutheran, and knew its music and liturgy well. As a musician well schooled in theory and practice, Eyer shared his love of hymns, and singing with his children, creating the very first Notenbüchlen or tune booklets to teach Pennsylvania Dutch children the rudiments of music so that they might learn the hymn melodies sung in church and home services. The hymnals used by their parents contained no music, but only the hymn verses with the title of the hymn tune to which the congregation would sing the text. The metrics, and topic of the poetry usually determined which melodies were chosen, and the congregation knew the tunes by heart. Harkening back to Lutheran musical tradition, Eyer knew that the music would inscribe the words on the children’s hearts forever.

Henrich Honsperger attended the late winter quarter of 1780 at Birkenseh (Blooming Glen, Bucks County, PA), starting on the 7 February and ending on the 15 April 1780. The cost to his parents was a bit higher than usual at 11 shillings. On April 12, 1780, just before the close of the school quarter, he became the proud owner of the earliest known tune booklet ever made.

The title of the tune booklet informs us that the best known hymns from the Marburg Hymnal are included in the booklet: There are 73.  

Proverbs, poetry, and Biblical excerpts often decorated title pages, and educated children in spiritual and practical matters. Along the left side of the center sphere we find the Latin proverb Artem quaevis, terra alit which translates into German as Wer Etwas kan den hält man werth or in English as He who is skilled is sought after by everyone. Along the right side the phrase concludes with Den Ungeschickten Niemand begehrt or He who is unskilled is sought by no one. At the bottom of the sphere is the saying Lerne Wie du kanst allein, singer buch und Tempel seÿn or Learn how you yourself can be singer, book and temple. This is the first verse of a poem taken from page 1 of the Marburg Hymnal.

Another child whose name appears on the roll book is Elisabetha Lädtermann.  According to the entry in the roster book for the winter quarter from 15 December 1783 to 15 March 1784, she attended the Deep Run school for the entire quarter and paid 7 shillings 6 pence. Elisabetha is not listed as a student before this. However, some of the prior pages are missing.  Since Eyer made this tune booklet for her April 29, 1783, it is more than likely that she is listed on those pages no longer extant.

Most booklets were bound in a paper wrapper. Elisabetha’s is a marbelized binding. The size is typical, i.e ca. 4 x 6.5 inches. The title page is written in Fraktur, German script, and Roman script and includes basic music instruction. The notes in red against the black staves perpendicular to and flanking the central sphere are ornamental as well as instructive.

  1. On the left are Semitones along with their names. By learning the note sequences, the singing scholar learned to hear the pitch, and to sight sing the music.
  2. 2.On the right Thirds encompassed within an octave are given, and Intervals are identified by note name.

There are 79 hymn titles with musical incipits in this Notenbüchlein, most of which come from the Marburg Hymnal.

Maria Fretz is listed in Johann Adam Eyer’s roll book for Deep Run, Bedminster Township late Winter term of scholars from 30 January to the last day of April 1786, along with Christian Fretz. There is a note that 15 shillings were paid, and that the children completed the quarter on the 4th of May. 7 shillings 6 pence was normally the payment per child per quarter, so the 15 shillings fee was for both children.

This particular manuscript appears to be the first tune booklet where Eyer used birds as decorative elements. This is an early example of pressed paper board cover with a leather spine. The title page is glued onto the inside cover.   There are 115 tunes to hymns, some of which come from the Marburg Hymnal. Of the 182 pages in the tune booklet, only 31 are devoted to the hymn titles and tune incipits. The rest are blank.

On page 35 of the tune booklet we find two hymns:

  1. Transcription
    In dir ist Freude, In allem Leiden (Der Du wahrer Heiland bist ) Durch dich wir | haben, Himmlische gaben, (O du süsser Jesu Christ, Hilfest von Schanden Redest | von banden, der dir vertrauet, Hat wohl gebauet, Wird ewig bleiben, Halleluia | Zu deiner Güte, Steth unser Gmüthe, An dir wir kleben, Im Tod und Leben | Wird ewig bleiben, Halleluja
  1. Translation
    In the midst of suffering you are great joy, Oh true Savior. Through you we have a foretaste of heavenly delights. O sweet Jesus Christ, you keep those who trust in You free of evil, and bondage. He who trusts You has chosen wisely, and will live forever. Halleluia! Our beings depend upon Your goodness. We cling to You in life and death, [and] will live forever. Halleluia !

The hymn In dir ist Freude is found first in Johann Lindemann’s Amorum Filii Dei decades duae, published, perhaps at Erfurt in 1598 in a collection of twenty hymns entitled Weyhenachten Gesenglein or Little Christmas Songs. The text, which appears without any indication of its authorship, has been attributed to Lindemann. The tune originates in one of many balletti (dance-like songs) written by Giovanni G. Gastoldi (ca. 1554-1609), a priest and composer employed by the Gonzaga Family in Mantua, Italy.  Johann Sebastian Bach based one of his well-known organ preludes on Gastoldi’s melody.

  1. Transcription
    Fliegel fliegel fliegel Her fliegel gleich den winden O wie wirds der seelen schwer | in dem Leib der Sünden die sie schaut mit furcht und grauß, daß sie drum auß diesem | Hauß, Heut noch wünscht zu gehen aus
  1. Translation
    Take wing, take wing, take wing just like the wind. O how difficult it becomes for the soul to be trapped in a mortal sinner, whom it views with fear and horror, and longs this very day to depart its human dwelling.

 Fliegel, Fliegel, Fliegel Her Gleich den Winden is the first verse of a hymn entitled Sehnliches Verlangen der Seele nach dem Himmel und seeliger Erlösung or The Soul’s Desire for Heaven and Blissful Redemption. It is sung to its own melody, and was published as Nr. 569 on page 532 in a Protestant song collection entitled Evangelisch Lieder=Schatz, Oder Glossirtes grosses Würtembergisches Gesang=Buch…published in the second of six volumes by Carl Gottlieb Ebertus in Tübingen in1731.

CONCLUSION
Johann Adam Eyer recorded in his Roster Book, 1779-1787 not only the names of the children who attended the Birkenseh, Hilltown, and Deep Run Mennonite schools in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, but also inadvertently those for whom he had begun to create tune booklets so that they could learn to sing the melodies used in the hymns at church service, and at private house get-togethers. The document is a witness to his enormous talents as a teacher, frakturist, administrator, and visionary. His concept was a practical and useful one, and inspired many other teachers to create tune booklets for their students in which only the melody line of frequently used hymn tunes was written out. Each scholar had a booklet, usually 4 x 6.5 inches in size. The teacher created a title page describing the purpose of the booklet, and containing the name of the student, the school attended, and the date of the title’s creation. The empty spaces on the title page were filled in with flowers, birds, and other elements common to Pennsylvania Dutch decorated manuscripts. These titles are absolutely beautiful, and probably inspired the singing scholar to greater endeavors as he or she learned how to read music and sing the tunes that either the instructor or student would copy into the booklet.

The “singing schools” or singing classes that resulted from this one brilliant idea of Johann Adam Eyer flourished in Bucks, Lehigh, Montgomery, Chester and Berks Counties, Pennsylvania from about 1787 to 1845. Singing became a part of the school curriculum, and “singing schools” became popular.

SOURCES:
Cory M. Amsler, ed. Bucks County Fraktur. Kutztown, Pa.: Pennsylvania German Society, 1999.

“Johann Adam Eyer” in Russell D. and Corinne P. Earnest’s Papers for Birth Dayes: Guide to the Fraktur Artists and Scriveners, 2nd ed., vol.1, East Berlin, Pa.: Russell D. Earnest Associates, 1997.

Giovanni Gastoldi. In dir ist Freude Retrieved 2 March 2016 from ChoralWiki
http://www0.cpdl.org/wiki/index.php/In_dir_ist_Freude_(Giovanni_Gastoldi)

Marburger Gesang=Buch zur Uebung der Gottseligkeit in 649 Christlichen und Trostreichen Psalmen und Gesängen Hrn. D. Martin Luthers. und anderer Gottseliger Lehrer, Ordentlich in XII. Theile verfasset, Und mit nöthigen Registern auch einer Verzeichniß versehen, unter welche Titul die im Anhang befindlichen Lieder gehörig: Auch zur Beförderung des so Kirchen= als Privat= Gottesdienstes, Mit erbaulichen Morgen= Abend = Buß= Beicht= und Communion=Gebätlein vermehret. Germanton, Gedruckt und zu finden bey Christoph Saur, 1762.

Mary Jane Lederach Hershey. “The Notenbüchlein Tradition in Eastern Pennsylvania Mennonite Community Schools,” in Cory M. Amsler, ed., Bucks County Fraktur. Kutztown, Pa.: Pennsylvania German Society, 1999.

Johann Lindemann. In dir ist Freude Accessed 2 March 2016 from The Online Library of Liberty, a project of Online Liberty Fund, Inc. at http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=2057&chapter=197647&layout=html&Itemid=27

Sehnliches Verlangen der Seele nach dem Himmel und seeliger Erlösung in Evangelisch Lieder=Schatz, Oder Glossirtes grosses Würtembergisches Gesang=Buch . . . vol. 2, Tübingen: Carl Gottlieb Ebertus Verlag,1731, 532, Nr. 569. Accessed 22 March 2016 from Google Books https://books.google.com/books?id=dk9FAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA532&lpg=PA532&dq=die+sie+schaut+mit+furcht+und+Grauß&source=bl&ots=Tf6fjByxZb&sig=Wky6O2_KacljdyLYTrTwcENnXHg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi64p7N79XLAhUKKB4KHUj7B2IQ6AEIHjAA#v=onepage&q=die%20sie%20schaut%20mit%20furcht%20und%20Grauß&f=false

John Joseph Stoudt. Early Pennsylvania Arts and Crafts. New York: A. S. Barnes and Co., 1964

Frederick Weiser. “I A E S D the Story of Johann Adam Eyer (1755-1837) Schoolmaster and Fraktur Artist with a Translation of his Roster Book 1779-1787,” in Ebbes fer Alle-Ebber Ebbes fer Dich.Breinigsville, Pa.: 1980, 435-506.

My thanks to Janine Pollock and Joe Shemtov at the Free Library of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA; Bob Wood and Aron Heckler of the Goschenhoppen Historians at Green Lane, PA; Forrest Moyer of the Mennonite Heritage Center at Harleysville, PA;  Jeanne Solensky, Joseph Downs Collection of Manuscripts and Printed Ephemera Librarian at Winterthur Library, Wilmington, DE; and Roberta Weisberg Chief Cataloger at Winterthur Museum, Wilmington, DE.

Johann Adam Eyer Roster Booklet, 1779-1787 Blog Post including transcriptions; translations; and photo images © 2016 Del-Louise Moyer

Schwenkfelder Eighteenth & Nineteenth Century Textile Samplers and Writing Samples

Sampler motifs harken back to the Renaissance when all levels of society satisfied their love of ornamentation with decorative textiles. Professional embroiderers of clothing, bed hangings, and furniture coverings advertised their work and colors to prospective clients on linen cloths. From this came the custom-made samplers for individual use. These were the forerunners of the Pennsylvania Dutch textile samplers. Along with figurative examples, alphabets, one’s name, initials, and dates were added as personalized features. Most were worked in colored silk embroidery on a ground of plain weave bleached linen.  From about the 1520s to the end of the eighteenth century, pattern books played an important role in France, England, and Germany, recording pattern designs for use in embroidery, knitting, embroidery on knotted net, and lace making. Some of these designs were incorporated into the European-made samplers that the Pennsylvania Dutch brought with them when they immigrated, and were passed on from generation to generation within family groups, religious communities, and regional areas.

Tandy and Charles Hersh in their 1991 Samplers of the Pennsylvania Germans define a sampler as a “textile used to record and practice embroidery motifs, stitches and alphabets for future use.”[i]

Four periods of development are identified:

  1. Transition 1683-1776
  2. Refinement 1777-1809
  3. Continuity & Change 1810-1860
  4. Survival 1860-Present [ii]

During these four periods sampler makers positioned the motifs in four different ways:

  1. randomly without plan;
  2. in rows according to size;
  3. uniformly around a centrally aligned figure(s);
  4. and in mirror-images aligned along a horizontally or vertically positioned central line. [iii]

In southeastern Pennsylvania a teenage Pennsylvania Dutch girl traditionally learned how to make cross-stitch samplers at home using her mother’s, aunt’s, cousin’s, sister’s or other older family members’ sampler(s) as a template. Besides the cross-stitch, the Schwenkfelder [iv] sampler makers are known to have used other techniques as well: double back stitch, geometric satin stitch, and chain stitch. [v]

Maria Schultz (1785-1841) was a Schwenkfelder, and the sewn together two-piece sampler she made (ILL.1), one with smaller motifs in 1798-1799, and one with larger designs in 1801

was the very first purchase of the Goschenhoppen Folklife Museum, [vi] and the beginning of the present collection [at Green Lane, Pennsylvania]. Its prime importance, beyond its fineness as a piece of early Dutch folk art, is its importance as an evidence of the folk cultural process of acculturation, between traditional groups within the larger Pennsylvania Dutch folk culture.[vii]

A few of the motifs on Maria’s sampler can be traced back to a random sampler (ILL. 2) Maria’s great grandmother Anna Wagner (ACWW 1733) brought to America from Saxony when she immigrated to Worcester township, Montgomery county (then Philadelphia county) in 1737. Stitches she used include cross-stitch, back stitch, and geometric satin stitch.

In 1778 Christina Wagner, Maria’s aunt, and Anna’s granddaughter created a rowed sampler (ILL. 3) , copying six of the thirty-one motifs from her grandmother’s sampler. Maria and her two sisters Christina and Rosina, also residents of Worcester Township, used their aunt’s sampler as a guide. Maria was thirteen, and Christina sixteen when each made her first sampler in 1798-1799: Christina chose a row format (ILL. 4a)  like her aunt’s, whereas Maria placed her figures randomly on the canvas (ILL. 1, Top). However, both copied many of her motifs, including the small designs and letters in rows three to five and the bottom row with a cartouche enclosing their initials. Most notable of all is the corner decorative figure that can also be found on a Swiss or German sampler housed at the Textilmuseum in St. Gallen, Switzerland Inv. No. 20046, and scarcely changed in Christina Wagner’s nor subsequently in her nieces’ and other Schwenkfelder samplers (See illustrations in this post: Christina Wagner: ILL. 3; Maria Schultz: ILL. 1, upper sampler; Christina Schultz: ILL. 4a ).

Melchior and Salome (née Wagner) Schultz, Maria, Christina, and Rosina Schultz’s mother and father, took Regina Hübner into their home after her parents died. Her two younger cousins borrowed freely from the random sampler (ILL. 6) Regina had made in 1794 at age seventeen : three carnations; a crown with three diamonds; the seven flowers and vase; three tulips in a vase; five cross flowers; rooster, small corner flower, large corner flower, a chair, a table with two bowls, along with a creative addition of a cruet, and dog standing on the lower table shelf. Stitches they used include cross stitch, double back stitch and chain stitch (See illustrations in this post: Regina Hübner: ILL. 6; Maria Schultz: ILL. 1, lower sampler; Christina Schultz: ILL. 4b; Rosina Schultz: ILL. 7).

In 1809 Rosina, the youngest girl of the Schultz family, made a random sampler (ILL. 7) of over one-hundred motifs, many of which replicated her sisters’ designs, and which carried the sampler tradition into the next generation, serving as a template for her three daughters, Salome, Maria and Rosina Kriebel. Sara Schultz, daughter of Rev. Christopher and Susanna

Yeakle Schultz, a peer and cousin to the Kriebel girls, did not make her home in Worcester township, Montgomery county like most of her Schultz relatives, but rather lived in Berks county. Here she created a random sampler (ILL. 8) on paper at age seventeen in which she combined six of her mother’s sampler motifs with ones from her Aunt Christina Wagner. She also added designs from her other Schultz kin of Worcester Township, along with those in the northeast Berks Franconia Mennonite Area. [viii]   Such borrowed designs, also known as signature motifs, inspired other Schwenkfelder sampler makers, who repeatedly and faithfully borrowed the very same images, sometimes creating variants thereof, in cross-, back-, and chain stitches from ca. 1809 to 1875.

The Schwenkfelder tendency to borrow, replicate, and create alphabets and variant designs in their textile samplers is repeated in their illuminated manuscripts on paper as well, the ABCs and visual motifs being common to both mediums. Printed writing samples such as J. J. Brunner’s 1767 Vorschrift zu nützlicher Nachahmung…[ix] or A Useful Writing Sample for Copying… were available to the general public, and demonstrated several variants of the same Alphabet. Schoolmasters used such works as references when creating writing samples for their students. These same alphabet variants appear in textile samplers, and change according to regional cultural influences and time period. The Schwenkfelder samplers exclusively used the alphabet that appears on the sampler (ILL. 2) that Anna Wagner brought with her to Pennsylvania in 1737 right up to1875 when Regina Schultz used it in her first sampler. [x]

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A school teacher before becoming a minister, David Kriebel (1787-1849), one of the best known of the Schwenkfelder frakturists, made a writing sampler or Vorschrift „Jerusalem Du Gottes Stadt or Jerusalem You City of God [xi] for Abraham Anders on February 24, 1805. Like Brunner, Kriebel intentionally demonstrated several ways to present the same letter(s) in Fraktur script for his pupil to imitate. Abraham would build upon this, and eventually use his quill, like the Schwenkfelder young ladies used their needles, to create a new design variant.

Susanna Hübner (1750-1818), another renowned Schwenkfelder frakturist, lived with her brother Abraham (also a frakturist) and his family on the old homestead after their father’s death, and made illuminated manuscripts for all of the children. She found David Kriebel’s illuminated initial “J” of “Jerusalem” from the Anders Vorschrift so appealing that she devised a near replica of it as the initial letter “J” for her nephew Jacob’s Christian name in an illuminated manuscript Jacob Aber Zog Seinen Weg or Jacob Went His Own Way (Genesis 32: 1-2) that she created for him on April 2, 1808.

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We find the same tendency in Schwenkfelder frakturist families as we do among the Schwenkfelder textile sampler maker families. Close proximity encouraged relatives to borrow each others’ designs and ideas, but in a creative manner. Susanna Hübner made her niece Maria an illuminated manuscript to the text Maria Hat Das Gute Theil Erwählet. Das soll nicht von ihr genommen werden… or Maria Has Made the Right Choice. That Should Not Be Taken From Her… (St. Luke 10:42) on December 4, 1808.

Maria faithfully copied a portion of her Aunt Susanna’s gift Maria Hat Das Gute Theil Erwählet. Das soll nicht..,.using the same color scheme for the text, and the same vase of tulips. However, in the process she respositioned both, and added a bird perched on a very original elongated flowering tree, thus creating an entirely new variant based on her Aunt’s original.

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On December 16, 1804 David Kriebel made special gift for Susanna Kriebel surrounding the text Gott hat in meinen Tagen mich väterlich getragen or During my Life God Has Supported Me in a Fatherly Way [xii] with floral designs reminiscent, in the opinion of some, of central and eastern Europe. Dennis K. Moyer in Fraktur Writings and Folk Art Drawings of the Schwenkfelder Library Collection found that “the color and motifs that he chose seem to imitate a quality and style similar to the art and textiles of the Near East. Perhaps the ideas for the design and color were drawn from printed or woven textiles.” [xiii]

The similarities between the vertically-oriented drawing (bookplate?) Susanna Hübner made for her niece Susanna and the rectangularly conceived religious text framed in a dense floral border that David Kriebel created for Susanna Kriebel are obvious. Hübner borrows profusely from Kriebel, but lightens up the density of his flower-patterned periphery by adding mustard yellow to the darker blue and red colors, as well as by interspersing feather-like leaves among the floral foliage. Her multi-rayed star is more vibrant and takes on a three-dimensional energy because of the circular background rays. A brilliant addition is the potted floral bouquet that Aunt Susanna places in the center of the picture above her niece’s name. It is so geometrically conceived that it could easily be included in a textile sampler.

 In 1818, Maria Hübner rethought the drawing her Aunt Susanna had made for her sister, deleting the name, but keeping the motifs almost exactly intact. She chose a more subdued
pastel palette of colors , and added two flowering vine plants, one above the other on the right-side margin of the leaf. The drawing is a tribute to her Schwenkfelder heritage, a reconceived amalgam of friends’ and family’s designs in a color scheme of her generation.

Whether the medium was textile or paper, the Schwenkfelder artists, with needle and quill, were imitating and transforming designs and alphabets from what they had available in their time and place. By recycling these visual motifs and texts, they extended the cultural life of their community for generations to come. In the eighteenth century one expected to find the Pennsylvania Dutch girl’s sampler in her sewing basket, ever ready with the designs she could choose for her sewing and embroidery needs. As time progressed, the purpose of the sampler changed, and became more ornamental than practical. What used to be tucked away, was now framed and hung on the wall. The same is true of illuminated manuscripts that originally were kept away from view taped to the lid of one’s dower chest, and/or safely put away in a drawer or folio Bible. Labeling them folk art, and promoting their commercial potential as decorative wall accents has replaced their cultural value as the Pennsylvania Dutchman’s private expression of his love of God articulated through art.

ENDNOTES

[i] Tandy and Charles Hersh,. Samplers of the Pennsylvania Germans. Birdsboro, PA: Pennsylvania German Society, vol. XXV, 1991, 14.

[ii] Ibid, 47.

[iii] Ibid, 14.

[iv] The Schwenkfelders, followers of Kaspar Schwenkfeld von Ossig (1490-1561), were severely persecuted for their non-orthodox beliefs. Fleeing in 1726 from oppression in Silesia , they were first welcomed by Count Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf on his estate at Berthelsdorf and Herrnhut in Saxony. This proved to be a temporary home.   From 1731 to 1737 small bands emigrated to Pennsylvania where they settled in the Goschenhoppen, and Skippack areas among the Mennonites, Lutherans, and Reformed who had also settled in this part of Montgomery county (then Philadelphia county) around the same time. All of these settlers transferred a bit of their cultural heritage to southeastern Pennsylvania, some of which can be said to be common to all, and some of which can be recognized as unique to one group or the other.

[v] Dorothy D. McCoach. n. d. Conservation Report for Maria Schultz Sampler 1798, 1799, 1801 (Project #: 01.103.A), n.p., pp. 1,2.

[vi] The Goschenhoppen Historians, Inc., presently celebrating the 50th anniversary of their incorporation, continue to identify, preserve, and disseminate the Pennsylvania German folk culture and history of the Goschenhoppen region.

[vii] Isaac Clarence Kulp, Jr., ed., “The Cover Picture,” The Goschenhoppen Region vol. 1, no. 1 ( Peterkett/St. Peter in Chains Day August 1, 1968): 2.

[viii] Hersh, 145.

[ix] Johann Jacob Brunner. Vorschrift zu nützlicher Nachahmung und einer fleissigen Übung zu Gutem vorgestellt und geschrieben durch Joh. Jacob Brunner älter von Basel. Gegraben in Bern von Carl Gottlieb Guttenberger aus Nürnberg. Bern, Switzerland: n.p., ca. 1766.

[x] Hersh, 67.

[xi] Jerusalem Du Gottes Stadt gedenke jener Plagen….in Das kleine Davidische Psalterspiel. Germantown: Christoph Sauer, 1744, p. 216, Hymn 221, verse 1.

[xii] Gott hat in meinen Tagen mich väterlich getragen….is part of the opening line of a seven-verse religious poem by Jakob Friedrich Feddersen (1736-1788).

[xiii] Dennis K. Moyer. Fraktur Writings and Folk Art Drawings of the Schwenkfelder Library Collection. King of Prussia, PA: Pennsylvania German Society, vol. XXXI, 1997, 115.

My thanks to Bob Wood, and Linda Szapacs of the Goschenhoppen Historians; Dorothy McCoach, Independent Conservator; Dave Luz, Hunt Schenkel and Candace Perry of the Schwenkfelder Library & Heritage Center.

Schwenkfelder Eighteenth & Nineteenth Century Textile Samplers and Writing Samples Blog Post including transcriptions; translations; and photo images excepting illustrations in Tandy and Charles Hersh’s Samplers of the Pennsylvania Germans © 2016 Del-Louise Moyer

Friendship, Fraktur, and Signature Quilts

Every experience deeply felt in life needs to be passed along. Whether it be through word or music, chiseled in stone, painted with a brush, or sewn with a needle, it is a way of reaching for immortality.  ~  Thomas Jefferson

One enters a sphere of timelessness when looking at a Pennsylvania Dutch quilt for there are many memories sewn into each one. Yet it was the hand-woven coverlets and not the quilts that were their first top bed coverings. By the mid-eighteen hundreds, however, both industrialization and acculturation brought about a transition from coverlets to quilts fashioned from inexpensive printed cotton left-over from making dresses, and other articles of clothing. Once quilting caught on, the Pennsylvania Germans never looked back, and used their ingenuity and resourcefulness to create stunning, yet practical quilts to stay warm; to demonstrate their sewing and designing skills; and to memorialize family and friends on fabric. This post will focus on the latter quilts known as friendship or signature quilts.

The popularity of friendship quilts coincides with the American Civil War, and as Lynn Zacek Bassett observes In War Time: A Study of Civil War Era Quilts 1850-1865:

Concerns over separation encouraged another genre of quilts in the period
prior to the war: friendship quilts, in which family members, friends, neighbors, and associates signed pieced calico blocks, often in order to present the finished quilt as a gift to someone who was leaving the community, whether to go west, to go to another parish, or to follow her husband to a new home…At home, women expressed their beliefs, fears, strengths, and struggles in their quilts before, during, and after the war (p.6).

In 1983, and again from 1990-1992, some of the quilts the Goschenhoppen Historians documented in their quilt surveys of the Goschenhoppen area—roughly the upper Perkiomen watershed—were friendship quilts with names inscribed in Fraktur that had been made in the mid- to late nineteenth century by young Pennsylvania Dutch women living in eastern Berks, southern Lehigh, southern Bucks and northern Montgomery County.

One example from the Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center, and three from the Goschenhoppen Historians’ Textile collection are representative of these quilts:

The Hannah Derolf Fraktur quilt (1868) from the Schwenkfelder Library & Heritage Center Textile collection: SLHC Quilt 2012.23.01 features a pattern known as Rolling Stone. Dimenstons are 99″ L x 75″ W; colors: red, yellow, orange, blue, brown, black; place of origin: Bucks County; number of blocks: 30. One finds the following Fraktur script inscribed on the central ownership block:

Hannah Derolf | ihr Teppich | 1868 | W. Grosz
[Hannah Derolf | her quilt         | 1868 | W. Grosz]

 Hannah Derolf (1847-1923) was born December 6, 1847 in Pike Township, Berks County Pennsylvania to Jacob and Maria Derolf. Per the 1850 U.S. Federal Census, her relatives George Derolf  and his wife Elizabeth, née Fronheiser lived in the neighborhood with their five children, and the Jacob Fronheisers and Daniel Fronheisers also lived nearby. Jacob was a laborer. At age twelve she was living with the Joel Miller Family in Spinnersville, Milford Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania as a domestic servant.

In 1868 at age 21 Hannah married Daniel L. Miller, and had two children by him: Amanda L Miller in 1870, and Hannah Miller in 1882. During her married years she lived in Milford Township, Bucks County, PA, and died there on May 28, 1923 at the age of seventy-five. The informant on the death certificate was her son-in-law Franklin W. Gerhart of East Greenville, PA, who listed her father as Jno Dierolf, and mother as Sarah Fronheiser. This conflicts with information on the 1850 U. S. Census for Hannah Derolf’s parents. She is buried at St. Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery in Red Hill, PA.

Hannah made her friendship quilt in 1868, the year she was married, and we can identify some of the names we find on her quilt: Jacob Derolf (father); Elizabeth Derolf–possibly Aunt Elizabeth, born ca. 1812 or Cousin Elizabeth, born 1849; Daniel Miller (husband); Joel Miller (employer); Rebecca Miller (Joel Miller’s wife); Sarah Miller (Joel Miller’s daughter) James Miller (Joel Miller’s father).

William Gross (Grosz, Groß), a very active scrivener who infilled—usually with a crimson-colored ink—an enormous number of Taufscheins in Berks, Bucks, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, and Northampton Counties from 1860-1886, inscribed the names on the quilt in Fraktur script. If we take a look below at a birth and baptismal certificate printed by Saeger and Leisenring in 1864, recording Harvey Jacob Wieand’s birth in 1860  (ILLs. 2a, 2b), we can see an excellent example of Gross’ talent as a Fraktur calligrapher, as well as that he was signing his name in German script, not Fraktur. However his signature “W. Grosz“ for John Franklin Kern’s Taufschein ca. 1867 (ILL. 3) is in Fraktur script, just as it is for Hannah’s Fraktur quilt. Groß never added baskets of flowers to the birth and baptismal certificates he infilled, but he did so for all the quilts he inscribed, an example of which is found on Hannah’s owner block. Light orange floral cotton print is used for the signature blocks, but it should be noted that usually they were made of white muslin, and the ink used for the inscriptions was black. There is no listing of the inscribed signatures available online.  However, the  Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center will be happy to supply a complete list upon request.

The Angelina Ritter Fraktur quilt (1852) from the Goschenhoppen Historians Textile collection : GH Quilt 2003.05.01 also features the Rolling Stone pattern. Dimensions are 94″ L x 98″ W; colors: red, yellow, blue, white; place of origin: Lehigh County; number of blocks: 25.  The Goschenhoppen Historians purchased the quilt from Victoria Hoffman in 2003.  Inscribed on the central ownership block in Fraktur script we find:

 Angelina | Ritter | ihr Teppich. | 1852
[Angelina |   Ritter | her quilt         | 1852]

Angelina (Engaline, Enschulina, Anjuline, Annjulina) Ritter (1834-1900) was born March 14, 1834 in Salisbury Township, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania to Michael Ritter and Elowissa (Allevesa, Eloisa, Ellen Louisa) née Miller. In 1852, when she made her quilt, Angelina was seventeen and single. Her father was a well-to-do farmer whose property (real and personal) was valued at $7000. She too married a farmer Addison S. Mohry (1836-1897) on December 12, 1856 in Salisbury Township, Lehigh County, PA. During her married years the family lived in Emmaus, PA. There were three children: John born 1859; Laura born 1865; and Jennie born 1872. Angelina Mory died July 19, 1900.

A full list will soon be available online of the names Angelina commemorated on her bedcover. However, a few of the names appearing on the quilt are: Dianna Diehl; Susanna Kemmerer (possibly a second cousin); Ellewisa Ritter (mother); Benjamin Franklin Ritter (brother). The signatures are in Fraktur script inscribed by an anonymous scrivener, who used two leafy boughs to encircle Angelina’s name, identification of ownership, and date on her owner block. It has been suggested by Russell and Corinne Earnest that it could be the “Footed Letter Scrivener,” a scrivener who used either scarlet or reddish brown ink when he infilled Taufscheins. He is known to have been active in Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, and Schuylkill Counties from ca. 1843-1860. The sobriquet “Footed Letter Scrivener” is used to describe this artist because of the way the serifs at the bottom of his capital letters ‘M,’ ‘N,’ and ‘K’ turn outwards like a foot. Nancy Roan finds Jonathan Kemmerer to be an excellent candidate as the scrivener of the names on this quilt, and others, referencing Jonathan’s block on his sister Susanna Kemmerer’s Fraktur friendship quilt of 1852, as well as several Taufschein examples at the Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center. Unlike William Groß, who includes his signature in the quilt owner’s block, Jonathan Kemmerer does not. He uses his signature block to advertise that he is a daguerrotypist. Hopefully, someday we will find a signed piece by this scrivener. The encircling leafy boughs decorative element has only been found on the Fraktur quilts, but not on any Taufscheins known to be inscribed by either the “Footed Letter Scrivener,” or those attributed to Jonathan Kemmerer.

The Anna Maria Desch Fraktur quilt (1853) from the Goschenhoppen Historians Textile collection : GH Quilt 1994.02.01 features the Flying Crow pattern, deviating from the usual Rolling Stone pattern that was used for almost all other known Fraktur quilts. Dimensions are 84″ L x 100″W; colors: red, yellow, pink, blue, green, white; place of origin: Lehigh County; number of blocks: 30.  The Goschenhoppen Historians purchased the quilt ca. 1994 from Judy Hurdle, an antiques dealer, who had bought it from Horst Auction in Ephrata, PA.   Inscribed on the central ownership block in Fraktur script is:

Anna Maria | Desch | ihr Teppich. | 1853
Anna Maria   | Desch | her quilt         | 1853

Anna Maria Desch (1834-19020) was born April 1, 1834 in Lower Macungie Township, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania to Daniel Desch and his wife Elizabeth, née Ruth, and was baptized at Zion Lehigh Lutheran Church on May 11, 1834. Her maternal grandparents Philip and Maria Ruth were her Godparents. In 1850 Anna Maria’s father’s property (personal and real) was valued at $3000. This was a large family with a total of eight children. Her father Daniel died in 1853, the year she made her quilt. Anna Maria never married, as was the case for two of her younger brothers William and Daniel. All three lived at home with their mother Elizabeth until her death in 1886, and per the United States Federal Census were still living together on a farm in 1900. In this same census record all are listed as being able to read and write, but unable to speak English. She died October 18, 1902 and is buried in Solomon’s U. C. C. Church Cemetery in Macungie, PA.

The Goschenhoppen Historians Online Finding Aid includes all the names appearing on the quilt. Some of those are: William Desch (brother); Anna Maria Ruth (grandmother?); Anna Carolina Desch (sister); Peter Desch (brother); Stephanus Reimeyer; Hannah Baer; Sarah Anna Desch (sister) ; Eliza Ruth (mother?); Elweina Butz. Their names are inscribed in Fraktur script by the same anonymous frakturist who inscribed Angelina Ritter’s.

The Emma Schaffer Fraktur quilt (1871) from the Goschenhoppen Historians Textile collection : GH Quilt 2004.06.01 uses the representative Rolling Stone pattern. The dimensions are : 87″ L x 82″ W; colors: red, yellow, green, blue, white; place of origin: Bucks County; No. of Blocks: 36. The Goschenhoppen Historians purchased the quilt from Dennis Moyer  in 2004.  Inscribed on the central ownership block in Fraktur script we find:

Emma Schaffer | 1871 | William Gross

A full list will soon be available online for all of the men and women whose names are written on Emma’s quilt, and the picture, of course, may change as we gather  more definitive data.  Nonetheless,  some of the names such as Tilghman Kline, Rebecca Kline, Emma Schaffer (on 2 signature blocks and the owner block), Erwin Dietz, Mary Erney, and Elizabeth Schaffer, can presently be partially accounted for.  Mary Erney was born June 6,1852 to Jonas Erney and Hannah, née Marsteller in Coopersburg, Lower Milford Township, Lehigh County, PA. In the 1870 U. S. Federal Census Jonas listed his estate value (real and personal) as $4000, that of a prosperous farmer. Ca. 1873 Mary married Erwin S. Dietz, also a farmer from Coopersburg, Lower Milford Township, Lehigh County, PA. According to the United States Federal Census Tilghman P. Kline, a farmer, and his wife Rebecca Kline were living in Emmaus, Salisbury Township, Lehigh County, PA in 1870 with their family and Emma Schaffer, an eighteen-year-old domestic servant. This Emma [C.] Schaffer  was born November 1852 in the Bridgeton area of Bucks County, PA to William S. Schaffer, and Elizabeth, née Lambert . There were five children in her family, and her father was a farm laborer with a value of $50 for his personal estate. She married William Pursell, a canal boatman, in 1871, the same year she made her quilt. Emma had seven children between 1873 and 1893, and spent her entire adult life in Bridgeton, Bucks County, PA. She died March 27, 1931 in Milford, Hunterdon County, NJ in the home of her daughter Mrs. Samuel Shaffer, at the age of 78 and is buried at the Upper Tinicum Cemetery in Upper Black Eddy, Bucks County, PA. Her obituary was published in the Hunterdon County Democrat on April 2, 1931.

William Gross is the professional scrivener of this quilt as well, and inscribes all the names in Fraktur script.   As in Hanna Derolf’s owner block, he identifies himself with a hand drawn basket of languid flowers, but in this case changes his signature on the base to his full name.   His Fraktur script style in Emma’s is far less ornamental than in Hannah’s.

Who paid for these Fraktur signatures, the maker, owner or the persons whose names appear on the quilt? During their 1983, 1990-1992 quilt surveys Nancy Roan, Ellen Gehret, and Alan G. Keyser gathered information on quilt traditions from knowledgeable Pennsylvania Dutch informants such as Wilson H. Green of Green Lane, PA who shared that these signature quilts of the mid-nineteenth century were known as Beddelmann Teppiche or Begger Quilts because “the maker ‘begged’ family members and close friends for a sum before putting their names on the quilt” (Lest I Shall Be Forgotten, p. 17). Lucinda Cawley in her article “Ihr Teppich: Quilts and Fraktur” in the American Quilt Study Group’s Coverings (p. 14) states that “there is no contemporary evidence that money was solicited in connection with putting names on the quilts. They are more accurately described as fraktur inscribed quilts.”

Webster’s Dictionary (webster.com/dictionary/tradition) defines tradition as “the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction.” So, expert quilters such as Sadie Krauss Kriebel, whose mother Annie Hoffman Krauss was born in 1879, and grandmother Elizabeth Kriebel Krauss in 1859, could easily reach back to the time period in question, i.e. mid-nineteenth century, through living references capable of verbally relating Pennsylvania Dutch folk customs as experienced during their lifetimes.  It is interesting to note that written evidence often comes from outside the culture, not within, as in travel diaries kept by people who find a tradition peculiar to their own worth noting.  That no contemporary written evidence has yet been found does not mean that it doesn’t exist. Sadie, a living continuance of quilt traditions, could immediately identify a Beddelmann quilt shown to her by Nancy Roan during the quilt surveys: “This quilt [261-83] was made in 1862, probably by Mrs. Christina Kriebel who died in 1906…Everybody whose name is on [it] gave a dime” (Lest I Shall Be Forgotten, p. 17).

Friendship quilts were and are made by the Pennsylvania Dutch to also celebrate special occasions for important anniversaries, birthdays, or other special days, and the well-wishers’ names were and are not only hand written in Fraktur script, but also embroidered, and with the progression of time have been inscribed in Roman script, as well as printed, and/or stamped.

Also, churches and other non-profit organizations used and continue to use friendship quilts to raise money: Chances are often sold to win a signature on one of the blocks. Once all signature blocks are taken, a seamstress embroiders or a scrivener hand inscribes each name onto the block. The entire quilt can then be raffled off or sold at auction (Earl F. Robaker “Stitching for Pretty,” Pennsylvania Folklife, p. 9).

St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, better known as the Blue Church, celebrated its 250th Anniversary in 1989. To commemorate this special occasion one of the parishioners designed a blue and white quilt that was quilted by the Blue Church quilters.  Each quilter’s name was embroidered onto the quilt.

The Nancy Hasson Roan friendship quilt (1995), now part of the Mennonite Heritage Center (MHEP) Textile collection: 1995.29.01 was made to benefit MHEP. It uses the representative Rolling Stone pattern. The dimensions are 97.5″L x 83″W; colors red, yellow, blue, black, white; place of origin: Montgomery County; Number of Blocks: 30. Each block is made up of four to six names handwritten in black ink in Roman script.

Nancy Roan designed and pieced the quilt. It was then quilted by members of the Variable Star Quilting group, as well as MHEP volunteers. Supporters of the Mennonite Heritage Center paid to have their names inscribed on the quilt. Auctioned at the yearly Apple Butter Frolic, it was then donated back to the MHEP museum.

Karen Dever and Didi Salvatierra of Moorestown, NJ are members of the American Quilt Study Group (AQSG, Lincoln, Nebraska) and the Eastern Shore Quilt Study Group headed by Lucinda Cawley. In 2014 AQSG, to commemorate the Civil War Sesquicentennial, issued a “Civil War Quilts” challenge.

The Challenge required participants to identify an inspiration quilt dating from 1850 to 1865. The quilt could be reproduced in whole or in part, or it could be used as the basis for a new meaningful design (In War Time: A Study of Civil War Era Quilts 1850-1865, pp. 7, 77).

While attending the Penn Dry Goods Market at the Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center in Pennsburg, PA—a yearly springtime combination of lectures, and exhibits focused on fancy stitchery and the history of textiles, as well as on-site antique dealers specializing in antique textiles, and related objects—Karen Dever found the perfect inspiration. Attending a quilt lecture by Nancy Ronk on Fraktur quilts, Karen heard about the Aveline S. A. Stern Fraktur quilt that had inspired Lucinda Cawley to research and write her 2004 “Ihr Teppich: Quilts and Fraktur” article in the AQSG periodical Uncoverings, and discovered that the Stern quilt is now part of the International Quilt Study Center in Lincoln, Nebraska. Noting that Aveline’s husband Joseph had served in the Union army, Karen and Didi were thrilled to be able to create a sixteen-signature-block quilt based on the Avelina S. A. Stern Fraktur quilt to honor all the presidents of the AQSG who have served since its inception in 1980, and especially to pay tribute to Mrs. Cawley.

All of the above friendship quilts were made more for sentimental than practical reasons. It is the women’s and men’s names on these very special show pieces that are important as most all of the design elements of the quilts are simple and similar to each other. Also, the quilting is utilitarian rather than ornamental; the piecing of the blocks uncomplicated. Using Fraktur script to pen the names was representative of and unique to the Pennsylvania Dutch culture and time period. As time progressed, the names continued to be handwritten, but the calligraphy changed to stay in step with acculturation, and some were also printed or stamped. The owner of the quilt, who more than likely also made it, was, as evidenced by the above examples, remembering family and friends. Whether 1852, 1853, 1868, 1871, or 1989, 1995, 2015, the names embody the stories of a time period and community of people, and frequently are or may become the only surviving evidence that these women and men ever lived.

Sources:

Allentown Art Museum. 1974. Pennsylvania Folk Art: [exhibition], October 20 through December 1, 1974, Allentown Art Museum. Allentown, Pa: The Museum.

Bassett, Lynne. In War Time: A Study of Civil War Era Quilts 1850 – 1865. Lincoln, Nebraska: American Quilt Study Group, 2015.

Cawley, Lucinda R. “Ihr Teppich: Quilts and Fraktur.” Uncoverings 2004 vol.25,
11- 40, Appendix II, Appendix III.

Certificate of Death. Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons), Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Certificate Nr. 62068 for Hannah [Dierolf] Miller; Certificate Nr. 110628 for Mary [Erney] Dietz.

Earnest, Russell D. and Corinne P. Papers for Birth Dayes: Guide to the Fraktur Artists and Scriveners, East Berlin, Pa.: Russell D. Earnest Associates, 1997. 2nd ed., vol. 1, pp. 287-290; 335-338.

Eaton, Linda. Quilts in a Material World: Selections from the Winterthur Collection, exh. cat. New York: Abrams in association with the Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum, 2007, 68-69.

 Ewing, Gretchen. Quilts. Allentown: Call Chronicle, 1983.

Hollenbach, Raymond E. for Anna Maria Desch in Zion Lehigh Evangelical Lutheran Church Records: Births and Baptisms, 1750-1896 Alburtis, Lower Macungie Township, Lehigh County, PA., Ms., p. 118, Entry Nr. 8.

Garvan, Beatrice B. and Charles F. Hummel. The Pennsylvania Germans: A Celebration of their Arts, 1683-1850, an exhibition October 17, 1982-January 9, 1983. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1982.

Holstein, Jonathan. Made To Remember. HF Johnson Museum, Cornell. Ithaca: H.F. Johnson Museum-Cornell, 1991, 36.

Nicoll, Jessica F. Quilted for Friends. Winterthur, DE: The Henry Francis dupont Winterthur Museum, 1986, 7.

Roan, Donald and Nancy. Lest I Shall Be Forgotten: Anecdotes and Traditions of Quilts Green Lane, PA: Goschenhoppen Historians, 1993.

Roan, Nancy and Ellen Gehret. ‘Just A Quilt’ or Juscht en Deppich. Green Lane, PA: Goschenhoppen Historians, n.d.

Robacker, Earl F. “Stitching for Pretty,” in Pennsylvania Folklife, Spring 1966, vol. 15, No. 3, 9.

Rogers, Susan. Crazy Like a Quilt. New York: New York Post, 1971, 46.

Shaw, Robert. American Quilts: The Democratic Art, 1780-2007. New York: Sterling Publishing, 2009, 44-45.

Stopp, Klaus. The Printed Birth and Baptismal Certificates of the German Americans, vol.1 of 6. Mainz, Germany and East Berlin, Pa: privately published, 1997-1999.

United States 1850 Federal Census for Hannah Derolf: Year: 1850; Census Place: Pike, Berks, Pennsylvania; Roll: M432_754; Page: 457A; Image: 561; for Angelina Ritter: Year: 1850; Census Place: Salsburg, Lehigh, Pennsylvania; Roll: M433_792; Page: 12A; Image:29; for Anna Maria Desch: Year: 1850; Census Place: Lower Macungie, Lehigh, Pennsylvania; Roll: M432_792; Page: 156A;

United States 1860 Federal Census for Joel Miller: Year: 1860; Census Place: Milford, Bucks, Pennsylvania; Roll: M653_1082; Page: 308; Image: 313; for Emma Schaffer: Year: 1860; Census Place: Bridgeton, Bucks, Pennsylvania; Roll: M653_1082; Page: 72; Image: 77.

United States 1870 Federal Census for Tilghman P. and Rebecca Kline, as well as Emma Schaeffer: Year: 1870; Census Place: Salisbury, Lehigh, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1363; Page: 477A; Image: 182.

United States 1900 Federal Census for Daniel L. Miller: Year: 1900; Census Place: Reoder, Bucks, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1385; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 0026; FHL microfilm: 1241385; for Anna Maria Desch: Year: 1900; Census Place: Lower Macungie, Lehigh, Pennsylvania; Roll: T623_31077_4115120; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 0038; FHL microfilm: 1241429.

Merriam-Websters Online Dictionary http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tradition . accessed 3 January 2016.

My thanks to Lynne Zacek Bassett; Lucinda Cawley; Russell and Corinne Earnest; Linda Moyer; Sophia Bakis of the Allentown Art Museum; the Rev. James Hammond, and Kathy Exner of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran “Blue Church” of Coopersburg, Pa.; Bob Wood, Nancy Roan, Linda Szapacs, and Alan Keyser of the Goschenhoppen Historians;  Sarah Heffner, Forrest Moyer and Joel Alderfer of the Mennonite Heritage Center; Dave Luz, Hunt Schenkel and Candace Perry of the Schwenkfelder Heritage Center; Linda Eaton, Jeanne Solensky, Lauri Perkins of Winterthur.

Friendship, Fraktur, and Signature Quilts Blog Post including transcriptions; translations; and photo images © 2016 Del-Louise Moyer

The Elisabeth Köbler Embroidered Taufschein

The Elisabeth Köbler Embroidered Taufschein, part of the Goschenhoppen Historians Fraktur collection, is one-of-a-kind. Worked in 1830 by someone with the initials of J. K., it commemorates the birth and baptism of Elisabeth Köbler born fifty-four years earlier on October 9, 1776 at the “Blue Church” in Coopersburg, Pennsylvania. It’s hard to imagine what the occasion was that prompted the creation of the Taufschein. Whatever it may have been, this special gift definitely was intended to be a public remembrance for it is framed to be hung on a wall—of itself unusual—with the embroiderer’s initials and date of creation prominently visible.

Original parish records for the “Blue Church” do exist, but are presently unavailable. Thus all following information is based on copies from several sources that were intended primarily as genealogical aids. It is hoped that some day soon the primary manuscripts will be available to confirm spellings, and to locate marginal notations that are so often not transcribed when extrapolating family history entries. Per these secondary sources of the birth and baptismal records of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Coopersburg, Pennsylvania, often called the “Blue Church” because of the blue cast to its plastered stone exterior walls, Elisabeth Köbler, the baby featured in the embroidered Taufschein, was born October 9, 1776, the fifth child of Jacob Köbler and his wife Christina, née Kerschner, and baptized December 8, 1776. (Johann) Philip Wint/Wind, then aged seventeen, and Elisabeth Knöple were the godparents.

Jacob Kepler and Maria Christina, née Kirschener were married May 18, 1762 at the “Blue Church“ by Rev. Johann Andreas Friderich (Clarence E. Beckel, ed., Records of St. Paul’s Lutheran and Reformed Church (Blue Church) 1748-1892, Bethlehem, Pa: Bethlehem Public Library, 1937, p. 186). Georg and Margaretha Kerschner were Maria Christina’s parents.   Jacob and Christina’s

  • first child was  Johan Georg  born   February 23, 1763.
  • second             Johann Jacob  born   April 4, 1765.
  • third                 Johannes         born   June 5, 1771.
  • fourth              Maria C.           born   February 20, 1774.
  • fifth                  Elisabeth         born   October 9, 1776.
  • sixth                 Andreas          born   March 16, 1779.
  • seventh           Susanna          born   April 7, 1781.

The Köbler surname has a variety of spellings in the secondary sources such as Kepler, Keppel, Koepler, Käbler, Kebler, Kepple. It is not known if this is how they actually appear, or if the letters were incorrectly transcribed.

Very little information has been found for Elisabeth Knöple (also Kneply, Kneeply, Kneple, Knepple, Kneppley), one of the sponsors. There is, however, an Elisabeth Kneply who took communion on October 31,1818 at St. Paul’s, and she may very well be the same person as Elisabeth’s sponsor. Records show that after Friedens Church was built at Friedensville, Pa in 1793, the Knepli family members began attending there. In fact, some of the Kneplis are buried in the old part of Friedens Church cemetery.

Johann Philip Wint/Wind  (1759-1841), the other sponsor, was born to Andreas and Anna Elisabetha Catharina Wind on September 9, 1759. He was baptized at St. Paul’s Lutheran “Blue Church” on September 22, 1759, and per communion records maintained an active relationship with the church into the 1820s (C. Beckel, ed. Blue Church Records, p. 20). He also is known to have attended Friedens Lutheran Church on a regular basis after it was established in 1793. Per his last will and testament made July 19,1837 [Witnesses: Jacob Dillinger and Peter Newhard, and proved November 26, 1841], Wint/Wind was a very well-to-do tanner by trade, owning several tracts of land and tenements in both Upper Saucon, and Salisbury Townships, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. It has been suggested that he may have been an organ builder or musician. This does not seem to be the case for he mentions nothing about being a keyboard or organ builder in his last testament whereas he does mention that he has a tannery that he is bequeathing to his son Andrew, and makes other references to the tanning trade, which obviously was his principal occupation. According to a credit entry for Philip Wint, Sr in the original Friedens Church account records, he actively supported building and maintenance projects up to May 1841. He died November 8, 1841 and is buried in row five of the old part of Friedens Church cemetery next to his wife Elisabeth Mohry Wind/Wint.

The Goschenhoppen Historians bought the Elisabeth Köbler Taufschein from Elwood Hoot, an auctioneer at West Point near Lansdale, PA for $125 ca. 1964-1970 according to an accession note, and entered it officially into the collection in 1972. Both the separately embroidered initials and year J 1830 K, and the Elisabeth Köbler Taufschein are worked in cotton thread, two ply polychrome silk thread and wool yarn on a bleached cotton ground. Kinds of stitches include: cross, chain, and French knot.

The embroiderer replicated in her embroidery the main decorative elements Heinrich Ebner (1783-1850), printer in Allentown, Pennsylvania used in his printed Taufscheins of the early 1820s. These include the reclining putto atop a billowing cloud in the center at the top of the piece. He is facing to the left, and holding a hunting horn in his left hand, a sealed envelope in his right. Facing inwards and standing on clouds are two angels, who flank the central birth/baptismal text. Both are equipped with lyres: The one on the right is holding a wreath with her raised right arm, and the other on the left is looking at a bird perched on her elevated left hand. Below each angel is a bird sitting on upward-stretching boughs, grasping at berries above him. Branch and bird form a symmetrical unit and face inwards. The embroiderer added additional elements not present on the Ebner Taufschein such as floral vines of tulips and flowers reminiscent of the sun; a cherry tree in front of each angel, and a sleek bird at her feet. The ever present baptismal verses announcing the brevity of life and importance of baptism usually found on printed Taufscheins of the period are noticeably absent from this piece.

The birth and baptismal certificate is not only embroidered, but also originally watercolor or tempera was used to paint the putto’s hair and body, as well as the angels’ faces and arms. Its mahogany veneer-on-pine frame is original to the Taufschein, which was intended to be a display piece. Dorothy McCoach, a leading textile conservator, conserved the piece in 1996, at which time the embroidered Taufschein was removed from the frame and its tacked mounting. Upon completion of conservation procedures, the two embroidered pieces were hand-stitched to cotton polyester slipjacketed 4 ply museum board and reframed in the original frame. The two original wood backings were returned to the Goschenhoppen Historians. It was hoped that perhaps additional information about Elisabeth Köbler had been appended to the backings, but, per Mrs. McCoach in an email response of October 26, 2015, nothing was written on either one.

Fortunately, with digital magnification, it is possible to read the much faded embroidered Fraktur script:

Transcription

Geburt und Taufschein

Diese beyde Ehegatten als Jacob Köbler | und seiner ehelichen Hausfrau Christina | eine gebohrne Kerschnern ist ein Dochter zur | Welt gebohren den 9ten Tag October | im Jahr unsers Herrn 1776 Diese | Dochter ist getauft worden und ehielt | den Namen Elisabeth die Taufzeugen | waren Philip Wint und Elisabeth Knöple.

Translation

Birth and Baptismal Certificate

A daughter was born to these two married people Jacob Köbler and his legal wife Christina, maiden name Kerschner, on the 9th of October in the Year of Our Lord 1776. This daughter was baptized and received the name Elisabeth. The sponsors were Philip Wint and Elisabeth Knöple.

The embroiderer of Elisabeth Köbler’s Taufschein had to be someone, either a family member or a friend, who had access to Elisabeth’s birth and baptismal information possibly from St. Paul’s Lutheran “Blue Church” records or from a family member. Had there been an original birth and baptismal certificate from which to work, one suspects the motifs from Ebner’s printed Taufschein, contemporary to the time in which the needleworker was actually making the piece, would not have been substituted for original decorative elements. We don’t know if Elisabeth was still alive in 1830, but if so, as already mentioned, she would have been fifty-four years old. Johann Philip Wind is the only one for whom we have additional records attesting to some of his life activities. The needleworker who worked this embroidery could never have guessed that this token of her hands and heart would one day be one of the very few footprints left to show that Elisabeth Köbler, her family, and her baptismal sponsors ever walked this earth.

Sources

Brunner, Raymond J. That Ingenious Business: Pennsylvania German Organ Builders. Publications of the Pennsylvania German Society, vol. 24, Birdsboro, Pa.: Pennsylvania German Society, 1990, 177. [Re. Wint]

Church Records at St. Paul’s “Blue” Churc,h Upper Saucon Township, Lehigh County, PA., transcribed from a copy in Easton Public Library 1948. T.S. Housed at St. Paul’s Blue Church, 5900 Applebutter Hill Road, Coopersburg, PA 18036-9500.

Das ist Daß Trosties und Kirchen Buch Vor Die gemeine friedens kirch in ober Sackunna Taunschip Northampton Caunty Den 25ten februarius 1797 [Friedensville, Pa., 1797].

Gehret, Ellen. This is the Way I Pass My Time: A Book About Pennsylvania German Decorated Hand Towels (Birdsboro, PA: Pennsylvania German Society, 1985).

Glattfelter, Charles H. Pastors and People: German Lutheran and Reformed Churches in the Pennsylvania Field, 1717-1793, vol. 1 of 2. Publications of the Pennsylvania German Society, vols. 13, 15, Breinigsville, Pa.: Pennsylvania German Society, 1980-81, 346-347 (Friedens Church), 357-358 (St. Paul’s Blue Church).

Kirchen Buch| für die Gemeine in Sauccunen in sich haltend | Getaufte, Copulirte und Verstorbene Leute angefangen im Jahr Christ 1748, St. Paul’s Blue Church, 5900 Applebutter Hill Road, Coopersburg, PA 18036-9500 [Presently unavailable].

Stopp, Klaus. The Printed Birth and Baptismal Certificates of the German Americans, vol.1 of 6. Mainz, Germany and East Berlin, Pa: privately published, 1997-1999, 157-63.
[Re. Heinrich Ebner]

Wind, John Philip Find a Grave. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=80213507&ref=acom Accessed 28 October 2015.

­­­_______________. Last Will and Testament: Probate Records, 1812-1920 ; Index 1812-1965;
Author: Lehigh County (Pennsylvania). Register of Wills; Probate Place: Lehigh, Pennsylvania.

My thanks to Bob Wood, Nancy Roan, and Linda Szapacs of the Goschenhoppen Historians; Dorothy McCoach, Textile Conservator Consultant; the Rev. James Hammond, and Kathy Exner of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran “Blue Church” of Coopersburg, Pa.; the Rev. Lisa Borrell, Don Trump, Harvey Kichline, and Jeanette Petersen of Friedens Evangelical Lutheran Church, Center Valley, Pa.

Blog Post including transcriptions; translations; and photo images
© 2015 Del-Louise Moyer