In my quest to learn more about my Pennsylvania German heritage, the examination of fraktur has helped me gain a clearer understanding of my ancestors and their contemporaries.
Fraktur is a fractured form of fanciful artistic writing used to commemorate births, baptisms, certificates of merit, bookplates, and documents. Germans brought this tradition with them to Pennsylvania in 1683 and it became a popular means of decorative artistic expression with the common folk as well as the sophisticated. The skill displayed by some of the master fraktur artists rival fine illuminated manuscripts.
The Free Library of Philadelphia’s Rare Book Department contains more than 1300 pieces of fraktur. From March 2 – July 18, 2015, the Free Library of Philadelphia will display a sample of this massive collection. In collaboration with the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, The Free Library sponsored a tour of the exhibit capably led by fraktur specialist Lisa Minardi. Her enthusiasm is contagious and Lisa brings to life these colorful works of art, often highlighting captivating details. For more information, see www.freelibrary.org/fraktur
Bookplate by Johann Ernst Spangenberg
Vorschrift - writing sample - by Hans Jacob Brubacher
Sussel-Washington Artist, Baptismal Wish
School of Johann Adam Eyer