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Sunday, January 17 “Exploring PA-German Fraktur,” 1 pm Join Schwenkfelder Library & Heritage Center curator Candace Kintzer Perry for an illustrated lecture on Pennsylvania German decorated manuscripts, commonly known as fraktur. Perry will introduce and define fraktur for those who are unfamiliar with these intriguing cultural artifacts, and also take the audience on a brief journey through the fraktur of Northampton and Lehigh counties. Come prepared for a lively discussion with your questions and comments. Perry is Curator of Collections at the Schwenkfelder Library & Heritage Center in Pennsburg. Included with regular museum admission or $5 donation requested. An exhibit of the NCHGS collection of Pennsylvania-German fraktur and copy books continues till February 14 in the Regional Artists Gallery during regular museum hours. Sigal Museum of the Northampton County Historical & Genealogical Society 342 Northampton St. Easton, PA 18042 Ph. 610 253 1222 www.sigalmuseum.org


the Spangenberg fraktur (“the Easton Bible Artist”) – on exhibit at Sigal Museum

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New Release!

The Jungmann Woodblock Fraktur Artist of Reading, Pennsylvania: With a Peek at Other Woodblock Artists. By Corinne Earnest, Patricia Earnest, and Russell D. Earnest

The work of the Jungmann Woodblock Fraktur Artist (JWA) is unique. His illuminated woodcuts which include birds, flowers, colonial figures, and mermaids decorate 23 documented Taufscheine (baptism certificates). His hand-stamped artwork was often the only decoration on a Taufschein, giving each sheet a distinct, easily-recognizable look.

The Earnests also provide a glimpse into the work of 11 other fraktur artists who decorated with woodblocks including Henrich Otto, the Pseudo Otto Artist, the Hanovertown Artist, Samuel Siegfried, and others.

Temporarily available only from Russell D. Earnest Associates. Bookstore owners, historical societies, and etc., email for discounts on bulk purchases.

S/C, B/W and color illustration, 47 pages. Everyname Index. 22. 95 plus 3.99 s/h. Shipping is free on orders placed through the website: www.earnestarchivesandlibrary.com



As most of you know, Corinne Pattie Earnest, the driving force behind Russell D. Earnest Associates and The Earnest Archives and Library, died late in May. Patricia Earnest stepped into Corinne’s shoes and will keep the business and the library moving forward.

One of Corinne’s last projects was the Ernst (Earnest) and Pattie Ahnentafel (a genealogical list of “begats” which reads like a phone book). It includes many other surnames related to Ernst and Pattie, such as: Knapp, Osantowski, Toot (Dutt), Weiser, Gibson, Douglas, Watkins, and many others. The 59 page Ernst (Earnest) and Pattie Ahnentafel is now available at $19.95, postage included if ordered from the web site. Otherwise add $3.00 s/h.

As mentioned, Russell D. Earnest Associates remains in business and books listed herein are available. We are putting the finishing touches on The Jungmann Woodblock Fraktur Artist and A Peek At Other Woodblock Artists. We anticipate the book will be available before December.

We would like to thank all of you regarding your kind words in memory of Corinne.

Ernest Pattie Ahnentafel cover





Were Taufscheine (birth and baptism certificates) made in twentieth century Europe PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 15 November 2012 17:41

Some people ask if Taufscheine (birth and baptism certificates) were made in twentieth century Europe. Among German-speaking Europeans, the answer is "yes," but they were not what Americans associate with fraktur. Fraktur are defined as 18th and 19th century decorated manuscripts and printed materials made by and for Pennsylvania Germans. A key word in that definition is "decorated." Taufscheine were one type of fraktur, and they were personal documents -- hence the decoration which was often added by hand. In 19th and 20th century Europe, Taufscheine were generally official documents as can be seen by the example pictured here. This Taufschein (singular form of Taufscheine) was made for Maria Luisa Kathe Ellermann who was born May 24, 1907 in Wilmersdorf near Berlin. She was baptized on Christmas day in 1907. As was true of many official documents, a seal was stamped on this certificate (below last printed line of the main text).


Last Updated on Friday, 16 November 2012 14:30
What is the difference between a fraktur and a Taufschein (birth and baptism certificate)? PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 20 April 2012 10:10

Fraktur is an "umbrella" term that includes many categories such as bookplates, writing specimens, religious texts, and Taufscheine (the plural form of Taufschein). Fraktur artists and professional scriveners even made Bible records that are included in the genre of fraktur. To the delight of family historians researching German heritage, the most numerous type of fraktur is the Taufschein.

Were fraktur ever made on parchment? PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 20 April 2012 10:07

In our more than 40 years of research, we have never seen a fraktur made on parchment. Fraktur (the word is singular or plural) are works of art on paper. However, one example made on fabric is known. It was made in Ohio and is pictured in Klaus Stopp's fifth volume (see store).

Last Updated on Friday, 20 April 2012 10:09
Is Dr. Bodo Otto related to fraktur artist Johann Henrich Otto? PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 06 January 2012 17:20

The question often comes up about the relationship of Dr. Bodo Otto to fraktur artist Johann Henrich Otto (1733-ca.1799). Bodo Otto was a senior surgeon in the Continental Army serving George Washington when the Revolution began. There is no known relationship between fraktur artist, Johann Henrich Otto and Bodo Otto. Of interest, many members of Bodo's family were medical doctors, including his grandson, John Bodo Otto (1785-1858), who testified in 1809 at the trial of the unfortunate Susanna Cox. Susanna Cox was hanged in Reading, Pennsylvania, for infanticide. See our book, The Hanging of Susanna Cox, in the Earnest Archives and Library store for more about this tragedy.

Last Updated on Friday, 06 January 2012 17:30
Are there Fraktur artists working today? PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 06 November 2011 17:27

Yes, many excellent Fraktur artists make contemporary examples. These Fraktur are generally stylistically traditional in appearance, and the texts on them usually have the same themes. Concerning genealogical data, of course, the texts record recent events such as births and marriages. Be sure to read the December issue of the EAL Newsletter (a free online newsletter that appears on this web site). It will include a brief article about one contemporary artist.

Last Updated on Sunday, 06 November 2011 17:30
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