Tag Archives: Goschenhoppen Historians

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.

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

Human Heritage and Divine Lineage

The best known of Pennsylvania Dutch Fraktur are the Taufscheins. It is the Lutherans, Reformed, and Moravians who believed in infant baptism, and who popularized the use of birth and baptismal certificates in America. These documents not only trace human heritage, but divine lineage as well for they almost always contain spiritual inscriptions such as verses from the Bible, hymnal, or religious poetry to focus one on God. The origins of the quoted passages can be as valuable as the genealogical data, and help us trace geographical, historical, and literary footprints. If we study them carefully, we can sense the mindset of the Pennsylvania Dutch, and admire their rare combination of commonsense and celestial awe.

The following three manuscripts belong to the Goschenhoppen Historians. The first two are Taufscheins and are representative of the pragmatic recordkeeping of life’s events, as well as its spiritual aspirations. The third is a Scherenschnitt or cut-out. Although it lacks physical genealogical information, it abounds in artistic revery, heavenly imagination, and childlike wisdom.

MANUSCRIPT I
Isaac Rommig
(1809 – 1895) Taufschein
Materials: Wove Paper; watercolor; ink
Dimensions 13 1/8” H x 15 7/8” W

This Taufschein was made sometime after 2 August1809 when Isaac Romig (1809-1895) was born to Johannes and Margretha Rommig in Beaver Dam Township, then in Union County, PA.   The anonymous artist-scrivener not only included birth and baptismal details, but also a German translation by W. H. Seel for Psalm 118:19-20, found in a psalter printed by permission of the House of Orange-Nassau in1786. Seel’s Psalm translations were a more modern alternative to those of the sixteenth century translator Ambrosius Lobwasser, whose versions had long been sung by German-speaking pietiests, especially by Reformed believers.

Isaac Romig is listed in the 1860 U. S. census as  living in Beaver Springs, PA with his wife Lydia, age 50; John Romig, age 25; Elizabeth Romig, age 18; Elizabeth Romig, age 14; Isaac Romig, age 2; Jane Dry, age 50; and Frederick Raught, age 15. He died October 12, 1895, and is buried in Beaver Springs, Snyder County, PA at the Adamsburg Cemetery.

TRANSCRIPTIONS/TRANSLATIONS
Diese beÿden Ehgatten als Johannes Rommig und seine Ehelichen hausfrau | Margretha ist Ein Sohn zur Welt gebohren wie weitters folget: | Isaac Rommig ist zur Welt gebohren Im Jahr 18 um [___] tag | [___] Jahr unsers Herrn Jesu 1809 den 2 ten tag | Augustus im [___] zwischen [___] de [____]   ist nach der leiblichen | geistlichen Wiedergeburt der heiligen Tauf befördert | und Von Conrath Walter Parre geTauft und genennet | worden Wie aber gemeldt Tauf zeugen Matheis Freÿ | und sein frau Wilhelmina aber gemeldter Isaac ist | gebohren und getauft worden in America in der | proVintz Pennsÿlvania in union Caunty in | büber Däm Taunschip.

Die thore der gerechtigkeit th[[u] auf. Ich geh hinein | den man seÿ lob und Danck ge weitt thu auf | thu auf Ich geh hinein – – – -die thore der gerechtig keit wer wer geth da |
hin ein Der man Von Reiner frömmigkeit | Der ists der geth hin ein

Translation
A son was born into the world to this married couple Johannes Rommig and his espoused wife Margretha as follows: Isaac Rommig was born into the world in the year 18 at [___] day [___] in the year of our Lord Jesus 1809 on the second day of August in [____] between [_____] [and] was christened and named according to the physical and spiritual rebirth of baptism by Pastor Conrath Walter. Sponsors were Matheis Frey and his wife Wilhelmina. Isaac was born and baptized in America, in the Province of Pennsylvania, Union County, Beaver Dam Township.

Open the gates of righteousness. I wish to enter. To Him be given praise and thanks. Open up! Open up! I wish to enter the gates of righteousness. Who? Who shall go within? The man of spotless piety shall enter in.

Sources:
W. H. Seel, trans., Neues Gesangbuch, zum Gebrauch bey dem öffentlichen Gottesdienst und der häuslichen Erbauung. Mit fürstl. Oran. Nassauischem gnädigsten Privilegio (Herborn: Johann Ewald Brückner, 1786), Psalm 118: 12-13, Mel. 7, 99. https://books.google.com/books?id=ZXZWAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA99&lpg=PA99&dq=der+Gerechtigkeit++Ich+geh+hinein&source=bl&ots=QuUgLNzxKf&sig=C5lnLipzl_B_bN2i6XCVH60Nm18&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CB8Q6AEwAGoVChMI4YKroPv2yAIVxfAmCh1GNASp#v=onepage&q=der%20Gerechtigkeit%20%20Ich%20geh%20hinein&f=false (accessed 4 November 2015).

1860 U.S. Census, Population Schedule. NARA microfilm publication M653, 1,438 rolls. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.

MANUSCRIPT 2
Johannes Heinrich Eichert (1777-1859)
Taufschein & Church Credentials
Materials:   Laid Paper; ink
Dimensions:   [Folded leaf] 13 ½” H x 8 ½ ” W; [Whole leaf] 13 ½” H x 17″ W

Johannes Heinrich Eichert (1777-1859) immigrated to America in 1805 on the Ship Verney (Capt. Elisha King). He grew up in Haigerseelbach, a rural village on the western edge of the Westerwald belonging to the Princely Counts of the House of Orange-Nassau. His Pastor H. F. Schmidt furnished him with this Taufschein and church credentials as proof of his origins and reliability. Little is known about him. However, this document continued to be his curriculum vitae for another hand noted on it that Johannes Heinrich Eichert “died in the year 1859 on January 8th around 11:00 o’clock.” He was married to Elizabeth Heckler and is buried in Hetzels Cemetery at the Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church, Pine Grove, Schuylkill County, PA.

TRANSCRIPTIONS/TRANSLATIONS

Transcription
[Aussenseite des Mss]

Taufschein und Kirchenzeug= \niß für Johannes Hen= \ rich Eichert zu Haigerseel=bach.

[Mss]
L.B.S.

Nach dem hiesigen Taufprotokoll wurde Jo= \ hannes Henrich Eichert, Sohn des Jost Hen= \rich Eichert und dessen Ehefrau Maria Chri= \ stina zu Haigerseelbach in dem Jahr 1777. \ den 6ten Julius gebohren und und den 13ten = \ getauft. Gevattern waren Johann Henrich Hel= \ genhöfer und Elisabeth Margretha, Christian \ Müllen Ehefrau daselbst.

Da der genannte Johannes Henrich Eichert zu Hai= \ gerseelbach eine Reise nach America zu unterneh= \ men entschlossen ist, so wird ihm auf sein Verlan= \ gen nicht allein dieser Taufschein mitgetheilt, son= \ dern ihm auch das Zeugniß gegeben, daß er we= \ gen seines bisherigen ehrbaren Betragens, als \ ein Glied der reformirten Gemeine, auch an an= \ dern Orten aufgenommen und zum heiligen Abend= \ mal gegelassen werden kann. Haiger, in dem Oranien-Nassau-Dillenburgischen, d. 15ten \ Mai, 1805.

[Siegel]

H.G. Schmidt
Pfarrrionrius [?]

[in einer anderen Hand]

Gestorben im jahr  — 1859 – 1 – 8 Jan so um 11 Uhr
Geboren   im jahr  —  1777 – 7 – 6 July
Alt                                     81 – 6 – 2

Translation
[
Outside of Mss]

Baptismal Certificate and Church Credentials for Johannes Henrich Eichert of Haigerseelbach.

[Mss]
As per the local baptismal procedure, please be informed that Johannes Henrich Eichert, son of Jost Henrich Eichert and his spouse Maria Christina, was born at Haigerseelbach on July 6, 1777, and baptized on the 13th [July]. His sponsors were Johann Henrich Helgenhöfer and Elisabeth Margretha, wife of Christian Müllen.

Since the aforementioned Johannes Henrich Eichert of Haigerseelbach is determined to undertake a trip to America, he requests that not only this baptismal certificate, but also church credentials be included with this document. This is to certify that he has comported himself honestly, and as a member of the local reformed church, should be received elsewhere and also be admitted to Holy Communion.

Haiger, in the Principality of Orange—Nassau—Dillenburg, May 15, 1805.

[Insignia]

H.G. Schmidt
Pastor

[In another hand]

Died in the year 1859 on January 8th around 11:00 o’clock.
Born in the year 1777 on July 6th.
Age 81 years, 6 months, 2 weeks.

SOURCES:

William H. Egle, M.D., Editor: Names of Foreigners who took the Oath of Allegiance to the Province and State of Pennsylvania 1727-1775, With the Foreign Arrivals, 1786—1808 (Harrisburg, Pa: E.K. Meyers State Printer, Pennsylvania Archives Second Series, 1892), vol. XVII, pp. 637, 639.

Find A Grave: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=107349243&ref=acom (accessed 4 November 2015)

Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church Records. Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Collection Name: Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records; Reel: 507.

MANUSCRIPT 3
Elisa Beth Hachman . Scherenschnitt, 182
Materials: Wove Paper; watercolor; ink
Dimensions 12 ¾ ″ H x 16 ″ W

A Scherenschnitt or cut-out created in 1824 most likely by Elisa Beth Hachman yields very little earthly genealogical information. We know that if it gets lost, we’ll see her name and know where to return it! However, it is an amazing creative design of flower-faces, floral hearts, birds, and cartouches that must be turned every which way to read not only Elisa Beth’s name, but also the spiritually-oriented inscriptions meant to keep her focused on God and her divine lineage.

Transcription: Dieses Bild Gehöret Mir | Elisa Beth Hachman sein Bild | soll Er verlohren Gehren kan Mann | so den name sehen
Translation: This picture belongs to me. Elisa Beth Hachman owns this picture. If it gets lost, one can see my name.

[Right Heart – Blue]
Transcription: Das Herze | Lein soll | werde | n
Translation:   My little heart will become

[Left Heart – Red]
Transcription: Dir Allein | Geschrieben | Jahr | 1824
Translation:     yours alone. Written in the Year 1824

[N. B. Cartouche Horizontal]
[Upper cartouche]
Transcription: Der name des Herrn Unsers | Gottes Sey Gelobet Und Gebendeyet | von nun An Bis in Ewigkeit Amen
Translation: The name of the Lord Our God be blessed and praised from now until all eternity. Amen.

[Right Heart – Green]
Transcription: Gedenke an | deinen | Schöpff | er
Translation:     Stay focused on Your Creator

[Left Heart   – Blue]
Transcription: In deiner | JuGend
Translation:     during your youth

Many thanks to the Goschenhoppen HIstorians and Bob Wood.

© 2015 by Del-Louise Moyer

John Daniel Eisenbrown: Fraktur Artist and Grave Monument Engraver

Monroe Fabian in his 1974 Pennsylvania Folklife article “John Daniel Eisenbrown, Frakturist,” introduced a totally unknown artist-scrivener. Fabian enthusiastically hoped that more Fraktur examples would one day come to light, but the years have passed, and, if there is a cache of his illuminated manuscripts, they have remained well hidden among family members. Fortunately, one more can now be added. In May of this year an anonymous donor gifted a New Testament containing a bookplate and birth record to the Goschenhoppen Historians Fraktur collection. Eisenbrown made it in 1824 for his student Joseph Weber of Upper Saucon Township, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania.

Fig. 1a Weber New Testament Title Page Germantaun: Michael Billmeyer, 1822. Courtesy of (1) Goschenhoppen HIstorians

Fig. 1a Weber New Testament Title Page Germantaun: Michael Billmeyer, 1822. Courtesy of Goschenhoppen Historians

Fig. 1b Book Plate and Birth Record, Weber New Testament. By John D. Eisenbrown, 4/10/1824. Courtesy of Goschenhoppen Historians

Fig. 1b Book Plate and Birth Record, Weber New Testament. By John D. Eisenbrown, 4/10/1824. Courtesy of Goschenhoppen Historians

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is signed and dated in the lower corners of the bookplate: [LL corner] “Upper Saucon Township April 10, 1824,” [LR corner] “made by John D. Eisenbrown as a memento for his student.” The main body in the center reads: “This New Testament belongs to Joseph Weber who was born June 27, 1815.”

Joseph Weber has left no footprint, and although John D. Eisenbrown remains obscure as a Frakturist, represented by only four Fraktur pieces done during his early career as a school teacher, he is remembered for his calligraphic skills as a carver of tombstone memorials.

Even today the reputation built by John Daniel, and later his son Penrose Frederick lives on in the P. F. Eisenbrown Memorials Co. in Reading Pennsylvania. Although no longer owned by the Eisenbrown family, the present owner of this marble and granite business continues to retain the P. F. Eisenbrown brand name for the trustworthiness, honesty, and prestige the Eisenbrown family achieved in its principled business transactions. That is a legacy well worth remembering!

Johan Daniel Eisenbraun was born on December 2, 1795 in Adelberg near Stuttgart in the Duchy of Baden-Württemberg. There is no documentation to support Morton L. Montgomery’s statement in his Historical and Biographical Annals of Berks County Pennsylvania that Eisenbrown landed in Philadelphia from Germany at age sixteen. However, we know from a birthday Fraktur he made for his future wife Charlotta Wolf (1798-1832) of Egypt, PA—the only Pennsylvania Dutch birthday Fraktur example presently known—that he was in America by the spring of 1817 for Eisenbrown dated and signed his greetings “April 16, 1817, Johan Daniel Eisenbraun.”

Sometime after November 4, 1818, the date Johan Heinrich Wind purchased a family Bible in Philadelphia, Eisenbrown was engaged to create a double-leaf bookplate for the Bible.

Fig. 4a Leaf 1 of 2. Wind Bible bookplate by John Danial Eisenbraun sometime after 11/04/1818. Courtesy of (3) The Library Company of Philadelphia

Fig. 4a Leaf 1 of 2. Wind Bible bookplate by John Danial Eisenbraun sometime after 11/04/1818. Courtesy of  The Library Company of Philadelphia

Fig. 4b Leaf 2 of 2 Wind Bible bookplate by John Danial Eisenbraun sometime after 11/04/1818. Courtesy of (3) The Library Company of Philadelphia

Fig. 4b Leaf 2 of 2 Wind Bible bookplate by John Danial Eisenbraun sometime after 11/04/1818. Courtesy of  The Library Company of Philadelphia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first leaf reads: “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it.  [St. Luke 11:28]; purchased on November 4, 1818 in Philadelphia; made (written) by the former schoolmaster in Upper Saucon, John Daniel Eisenbrown.” The second leaf reads: “Bible for John Henry Wind.”  Johann Heinrich Wind (1779-1842) was active in the Friedens Lutheran Church, and is buried in the old churchyard cemetery at Friedensville, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. From this Fraktur we know that Eisenbrown was a teacher in Upper Saucon Township, Lehigh County, PA. by 1818. His association with Wind, as suggested by Monroe Fabian, could indicate that Eisenbrown was the schoolmaster for the congregation at Friedensville.

A family Bible register, kept by John Daniel Eisenbrown to note the births and baptisms of his children, records Charlotta’s and his life from 1821-1832.

The following nine children were born to John Daniel and Charlotta Barbara:

  1. Maria Franziska: born 10/15/1821; Upper Saucon Township, Lehigh County; sponsors: grandparents J. George and Anna Maria Wolf; baptized by Rev. Conrad Yeager
  2. + Constantin Edward: born 9/8/1822; Upper Saucon Township, Lehigh County; sponsors: parents; baptized by Rev. Conrad Yeager.
  3. Charlotte Mathilda: born 8/6/1824; North Whitehall Township, Lehigh County; sponsors: parents; baptized by Rev. [Frederick William] Mendsen.
  4. Anna Maria: born 11/12/1825; North Whitehall Township, Lehigh County; sponsors: grandparents J. George and Anna Maria Wolf; baptized by Rev. [Frederick William] Mendsen.
  5. Carolina Lowina: born 1/25/1827; North Whitehall Township, Lehigh County; sponsors: Daniel Rösler and his wife; died in the year 1828.
  6. Charlotta: born 3/24/1828; North Whitehall Township, Lehigh County; sponsors: parents; baptized by Rev. [Frederick William] Mendsen.
  7. Wilhelmina: born 6/11/1829; Kutztown, Berks County; sponsors: parents [and] Johann Knoske, Lutheran minister, and his wife; baptized by Rev. [H.] Knoske.
  8. Friderich Penrose: 4/3/1831; Kutztown, Berks County; sponsors: Friderich Wolf and Elisabeth Knoske, unmarried; baptized by Rev. H. Knoske.
  9. William Jonas: 10/12/1832; North Whitehall Township, Lehigh County; the mother died from this childbirth; sponsors: Jonas and Sara Troxel took the baby and adopted it.

Charlotta died from complications in childbirth on October 18, 1832, six days after giving birth to William Jonas, who was adopted and raised by his godparents Jonas and Sara Troxel.

John Daniel’s second wife was Mary Troxel with whom he produced an additional eight children, two of whom died in infancy. During this time period, he successfully transferred the tombstone-cutting business he had begun in Minersville, PA in 1844 to Allentown, Pennsylvania in 1855, and located it on the northwest corner of 9th and Hamilton Streets—the later site of the famous Hess’s Department Store!  Penrose took up the same business as his father establishing himself first in Minersville, and then Pottsville, and finally in 1874 in Reading. Father and son built up the mutual respect of their customers, were known for prompt service and reasonable prices, and, as already noted, were very successful businessmen. Per St. Pauls Lutheran Church Records in Allentown Pennsylvania John Daniel Eisenbraun died March 16, 1874, aged 73 years, 3 months, and 14 days.

When Monroe Fabian wrote his 1974 article, Paul Eisenbrown, John Daniel’s great grandson, enthusiastically collaborated with the author, and located the birthday Fraktur, a cabinet photo by Hafer Studio, Reading, Pennsylvania reproducing a now lost daguerreotype of John Daniel Eisenbrown ca. 1850, as well as the J. D. Eisenbrown Family Bible Register among his relatives. If anyone knows the present whereabouts of any of these items, I would be very grateful for an email reply to this blog post.


Illustration Links

(1)      Find a Grave Photos

(2)       Find a Grave


Sources

“Charlotta Eisenbrown, Where Buried,” in Find a Grave. Accessed 4 September 2015. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=62209197&ref=acom

John Daniel Eisenbraun. Death Entry by Rev. Minnig in St. Pauls Lutheran Church Records, Allentown Pennsylvania,” in Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Record collections, Philadelphia, PA, Reel: 545, 373 of 558.

“John Daniel Eisenbrown,” in Russell D. and Corinne P. Earnest’s Papers for Birth Dayes, Guide to the Fraktur Artists and Scriveners. York, PA: 2nd ed., 1997, vol. 1, 229.

“John Daniel Eisenbrown, Where Buried,” in Find a Grave. Accessed 4 September 2015.
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=76230372&ref=acom

P. F. Eisenbrown Memorials of Reading, PA. Accessed 3 September 2015 http://eisenbrownmemorials.com/about-us/3647772

“Penrose F. Eisenbrown” in Morton L. Montgomery’s Historical and Biographical Annals of Berks County Pennsylvania (Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co., 1909), vol. 1, part 1, p. 82 of 227. Accessed 3 September 2015. http://www.ebooksread.com/authors-eng/morton-l-morton-luther-montgomery/historical-and-biographical-annals-of-berks-county-pennsylvania-embracing-a-co-003/page-82-historical-and-biographical-annals-of-berks-county-pennsylvania-embracing-a-co-003.shtml

Monroe Fabian’s “John Daniel Eisenbrown, Frakturist,” in Pennsylvania Folklife,
Winter 1974-1975 vol. XXIV, No. 2, pp. 31-35.

“Johann Heinrich Wind, Where Buried,” in Find a Grave. Accessed 3 September 2015
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=Wind&GSfn=Johann&GSmn=Heinrich&GSbyrel=all&GSdyrel=all&GSob=n&GRid=79963152&df=all&

© Del-Louise Moyer 2015

When is a Huswif a Huswif?

When is a huswif a huswif?  A house wife living between A. D. 1100 and 1500, when middle English was spoken, was known as a huswif. In the same time period a huswif or more commonly a hussy referred to a mischievous, impudent, or ill-behaved girl.  However, house wives were a frugal lot, and as time progressed, the use of huswif for a penny-wise housekeeper supplanted the less savory meaning of hussy. By the eighteenth century as an extension of feminine thrifty management, sewing rolls containing scissors, thread, needles, and other sewing notions were aptly known as huswifs, a term generally recognized and used by all.

Girls, in anticipation of their duties as wives and mothers, were taught to do plain, as well as sometimes fancy sewing. Once married, they would be expected to make all the clothing, the pillow cases, bed sheets, tablecloths, fancy show towels, butter cloths by hand. By taking odds and ends of different fabric and using basic stitches such as the back stitch, basting stitch, hemming stitch, and blanket stitch, young women created a practical, yet lovely and colorful storage place for their sewing tools.

Pennsylvania Dutch girls and their mothers carried their huswifs in the large tie-on pockets or Taschen they wore under their skirts. During the Civil War women sent their men into battle with huswifs so that they could sew on buttons and mend their uniforms. The sewing roll also reminded the lonely soldier of his sweetheart or wife. It was not unusual for a man to reciprocate, and make a special huswif for his loved one, which he had sent to her as a token of his steadfastness and regard.

We also find literary references to a huswif in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility (Chapter 38, 1811): “And for my part, I was all in a fright for fear your sister should ask for the huswifes she had gave us a day or two before….” Women continue to create similar rolls today not only in order to store their sewing/embroidery tools, but also to keep their jewelry or toiletries.

Two examples from the Winterthur Needlework Collection will show the variety and usefulness of the Huswif.  The provenance of the first example (1960.0196) is unknown but was probably created in England; is made of cotton and linen sometime between 1780-1800; and is 19 (H) x 5 (W) inches.

Three of the pockets are block printed, and one plate printed. The latter is a fragment depicting a rider on horseback shooting a gun, and is taken from the “Storming of Quebec” fabric of 1775.

The provenance of the second example (1969.3107) is Henry Francis du Pont/United States; is made of cotton, wool, and silk between 1795-1829; and is 17 (H) x 3.75 (W) inches. There appear to be four pockets done in assorted materials on a common background, along with four semi-round pieces of wool placed at the top of the huswif to store needles.

It is more usual to find  these “needle keepers” at the bottom of the roll than at the top. A tie at the top is used to hang the huswif on a wall when not in use.

Making a huswif is not difficult. Any person who can use a needle and thread can do the following four basic stitches, and cut out the pattern to create a huswif.

Calico, as well as a variety of other fabric and sewing tools can be found at Ladyfingers, a sewing studio owned by Gail Kessler in Oley, PA that caters to quilters.

Wool for the “needle keepers,” a wide choice of materials, including calico, and a large variety of sewing notions can be found at The Wooden Bridge, a dry goods store owned by Paul and Anna Mae Martin in Kutztown, PA that also offers quilting and sewing classes, not to mention a repairman for sewing machines, and a top-notch scissors sharpener!

Both shops maintain a friendly competition, and recommend each other to their customers when unable to supply an item. Their staffs are friendly, and mega-helpful. Should you have a quilting or sewing project—such as a huswif—in mind, it’s worth a trip through gorgeous Berks County to experience the shops’ beautiful settings, ample supply of practically every quilting or sewing need you may have, and a truly knowledgeable and helpful group of salespeople to serve you.

To get a preview of what that means, take a look at the following steps I used to make this huswif. 

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My thanks to Linda Eaton and Roberta Weisberg of Winterthur, Lynne Bassett, and Sandra Highouse of the Goschenhoppen Historians.

© Del-Louise Moyer 2015

Elisabet Mertz’s Birth Record: Freeing the Spirit in the Fraktur

Every time I hold a Pennsylvania Dutch illuminated manuscript in my hands, the text begins to pulsate with life. A bit of history has long been waiting to escape the confines of the paper, and it’s so much fun to bring the words to life.  First I have to transcribe the Fraktur and/or German script; assess the information; and finally research names, dates, places, and possibly quotes with the hope that I’ll find enough material to free the spirit in the Fraktur and resurrect a person, or a cultural moment in time that would otherwise not see the light of day.

Ill. 1 Elisabet Mertz Fraktur B

Ill. 1 Elisabet Mertz Fraktur, Courtesy of Goschenhoppen Historians

Such is the case with one very exciting birth record recently gifted to the Goschenhoppen Historians Fraktur, Manuscript and Rare Books collection by an anonymous donor. The Fraktur was made for Elisabet Mertz (1777-1848), born to Johan Jacob Mertz (1741-1811) and his wife Catarina (1747-1826), née Schelkopf, on July 11, 1777. The manuscript measures 8 x 13 inches; is hand-drawn, hand-colored, hand-lettered with ink and watercolor on laid paper. Water damage, and traces of scotch tape used to repair a major central horizontal tear are evident. Subsequently someone attempted to rectify this tear by mounting the piece on pressed board. The work is a candidate for conservation, and it is hoped that this can be undertaken in the near future.

Prominent decorative elements include tulip vines with red, green, and yellow blooms.  On each side a vine rises vertically out of a double-handled brown and yellow pot to frame a quintet of birds. Three are perched on an undulating banderole that runs horizontally across the upper middle portion of the work and is supported at either end by two vertical green stems: The central bird is red and green, faces left, and is flanked by two much larger inward facing brown and orange singing birds. There is a Fraktur text that has been penned in red ink within the banderole. At the bottom two more singing birds face inwards, flanking a heart from which yellow and red blooming tulip vines flow symmetrically to the left and right. Centered between the upper text banderole and the lower bird scene is the birth record in black Fraktur script:

[Original]
Elisabet wurd geboren den 11 July 1777 seine | Eltern waren der ehrbare Johan Jacob Mertz und Seine Hauß frau | Catarina p Tauf zeigen war die Ehrbare Friedricke Schelkobin

[Translation]
Elisabet was born on July 11, 1777. Her parents were the honorable Johan Jacob Mertz and his housewife Catarina, etc. Baptismal sponsor was the honorable Friedricke Schelkob [Schellkopf].

A sawtooth border in yellow, green and brown (damaged around outer edges) encloses this imaginative and picturesque work. Unusually vibrant and fresh colors indicate that care has been taken to keep it out of sunlight. The last owner purchased the illuminated manuscript at the Pennypacker Auction Center, Reading PA in May 1971. Oh, that more were known about its provenance!

Elisabet’s birth record is unusual in a number of ways.  Firstly, most all texts found on illuminated manuscripts are taken either from the Bible or religious poetry.  The text that appears in this Fraktur, however, was chosen intentionally from a morally-oriented secular text [1] to inspire others to live righteously on earth.  The banderole phrase is taken from a very popular book of manners for young people written by Johann Leonhard Rost (1688-1727), an astronomer and poet who spent most of his life in Nuremberg, Germany.  When not writing treatises on astronomy, Rost amused himself by writing romance novels about the nobility and improving the manners of gentile off-spring under the

[Original]
Wer sich läst Welt und wolust freuen den wirts dort ewig reuen Peter Scheurer

[Translation]
He who delights in temporal pleasures here, will eternally regret them there. Peter Scheurer

pseudonym Meletaon.  One would not expect a quote from his Well Considered and Newly Conceived Book of Manners [… ] for the Pleasure and Instruction of Young People, [2] published in Nuremberg in 1739, to appear on a Fraktur birth record produced in or around rural Ruscombmanor Township in Berks County Pennsylvania in 1777.  Please note that original church records situate the church in Ruscombmanor Township.[3]  Elsewhere one finds references to its location in Rockland Township.  The Book of Manners was illustrated with copper engravings, and it is on the second engraving that we find the referred to passage warning children of impending doom if they enjoy too much of the world’s pleasures.

Engraving from J L Rost’s Book of Manners: In Hell; In Paradise

Ill. 2 Engraving from J L Rost’s Book of Manners: In Hell; In Paradise

The same hand that wrote Rost’s quote on the banderole also signed Peter Scheurer at its end.  Although he is not known to have been a Fraktur  artist/scrivener, Peter Scheurer and Johann Jacob Mertz, along with their families worshiped together at the Mertz Church.  The many Scheurers who were members of this church were most likely friends of the Mertz family.  Peter also appears in the church records as a sponsor for baptisms during the same time period as the Fraktur was created. It is quite possible, therefore, that Peter Scheurer was signing the document as its artist/scrivener.

Elisabet Mertz was an important addition to a very special family. Her grandparents were Johann Heinrich Merz (1708-1788) and Anna Maria, née Rosmann, who are known to have emigrated from Württemberg to Pennsylvania in 1733, and to have donated the land on which Christ Church was built. The church itself was organized in 1747 by Rev. Tobias Wagner, who began the Evangelical Lutheran Church Records with the first five births and baptisms of this couple’s children. The initial three children were Johann Philipp, Johann Wilhelm, and Johann Jacob, the latter of whom was born 18 August and baptized on 30 August 1741. It is interesting to note that one of the sponsors at his baptism was Anna Magdalena Scheur. Johann Jacob married Catarina Schelkopf, and is known to have served in the American Revolution in Captain Crouse’s Company from 1777-1778 (Second Battalion). Unlike his siblings he never strayed from his place of birth. Both his wife and he are buried in the Mertz Church Cemetery
(Row 1, graves 35, 36).

Tombstone of Catarina (née Schelkopf) Mertz

Ill. 3a Tombstone of Catarina (née Schelkopf) Mertz

Catarina’s maiden name, as is clearly discernable on the tombstone that appears online at the Find a Grave website,[4] was Schelkopfin,[5] not Schaller. It is not known when this image was posted on Find a Grave, but in the interim acid rain has erased the gravestone lettering. The face of the stone as of June 2015 is almost completely blank.

Ill. 3b Christina Mertz's tombstone with acid rain damage and Johann Jacob Mertz's replaced gravemarker d

Ill. 3b Christina Mertz’s tombstone with acid rain damage and Johann Jacob Mertz’s replaced grave marker

Knowing Catarina’s surname before marriage helps to solve another curious peculiarity of Elisabet’s Fraktur. The name of her baptismal sponsor appearing on the illuminated manuscript is Friedricke Schelkobin, but in the church records Friederica Emertin.  An entry in the church birth and

Ill. 4 Birth & Baptismal Entry in Mertz Evangelical Lutheran Church Records

Ill. 4 Elisabetha Mertz Birth & Baptismal Entry in Mertz Evangelical Lutheran Church Records

baptismal records confirms that Friederica Emert must have been very pregnant when she stood for Elisabet on 10 August 1777, for she gave birth to a baby girl Maria three days later on 13 August 1777. The father and mother are listed as the deceased Emert; wife Friederica. Catarina Mertz’s and Friederica Emert’s surname before marriage was Schelkopf (Schelkob; Schellkopp), and were more than likely sisters.

Ill. 5 Maria Ebert Birth & Baptismal Entry in Mertz Evangelical Lutheran Church Records

Ill. 5 Maria Ebert Birth & Baptismal Entry in Mertz Evangelical Lutheran Church Records

At present very little is known about Elisabet except that she grew up attending Mertz Church, stayed in the same vicinity, and married perhaps a cousin whose name was also, like her father’s, Jacob Mertz (1774-1845). Both are buried in the New Jerusalem Union Cemetery in Fleetwood, Berks County, Pennsylvania.


Endnotes
[1] For another example see Del-Louise Moyer, “Amyntas, The Story of Christina Schneider’s 1777 Vorschrift,” Der Reggeboge: The Journal of the Pennsylvania German Society (Kutztown, Pennsylvania, 2012), Vol. 46, no. 1, pp. 53-67.
[2] Johann Leonhard Rost, Die wohlangerichtete, neuerfundene Tugendschule, in welcher 24 anmuthige Historien zu erlaubter Gemüths-Ergöztung der Jugend auf eine erbaulich Art vorgetragen und mit nützlichen Anmerkungen und Lehren begleitet werden (Nürnberg 1739/ Nürnberg: Bieling, 1800 ), second copper engraving.
[3] See:  Evangelisch Lutherische kirchen buch von die Gemeinde in Ruscombmanner und die umligende nachbarschaft, Ms. at Christ Mertz Church, Dryville, Pennsylvania.
[4] Find a Grave: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=pv&GRid=53657558&PIpi=29550788 (accessed 1 June 2015).
[5] An –in at the end of the surname in German signifies female gender, but is not included in the English translation.

Many thanks to Sandra Highouse and Bob Wood of the Goschenhoppen Historians, as well as Eleanor Dreibelbis, Pastor Cheryl Meinschein, and Stef Boyer of Mertz Evangelical Lutheran Church at Dryville, PA.

© Del-Louise Moyer  2015