• Fraktur Web
    Fraktur Web is a great starting point for anyone who wants to learn more about fraktur. The website is instructive and beautifully presented. It gives information about fraktur types, history and research. The site also describes fraktur symbolism and explains the differences between fraktur made by the various Pennsylvania German religious groups.
  • Earnest Archives and Library
    For more about fraktur and Pennsylvania German broadsides, visit the Earnest Archives and Library. Russell and Corinne Earnest, together with Patricia Earnest Suter, are well-known authors of books about fraktur and Pennsylvania German broadsides.

Other Public Fraktur Collections

You can see fraktur and learn about Pennsylvania German life at the following museums:

  • The Berman Museum of Art is a small but highly regarded art museum located at Ursinus College, in Collegeville, PA.  The museum houses an important collection of Pennsylvania German art, books, documents, crafts and household items. The Pennsylvania Folklife Society gave these artifacts to the college in 1968.
  • Bookplate (Bücherzeichen) for Benjamin Baumann

    A bookplate made for a member of the Ephrata congregation.

    The Ephrata Cloister of Lancaster County, PA was very influential to the development and expansion of fraktur in North America. The Cloister is now a National Historic Landmark where visitors can tour the original buildings and grounds surrounding the famous Ephrata Cloister print shop. Handmade hymnals, fraktur and furniture are exhibited throughout the site.
  • The Landis Valley Museum near Lancaster, PA provides hands-on programs that allow visitors to experience daily life in a Pennsylvania German farm and village.  The museum offers fieldtrip presentations, special workshops and regular demonstrations of many types of Pennsylvania German crafts including fraktur and scissor cutting (Scherenschnitte).
  • The Mercer Museum of Doylestown, PA houses Dr. Henry C. Mercer’s collection of regional art and artifacts. Mercer built the museum in 1916 for the sole purpose of housing his 40,000-piece collection of Americana. Fraktur, along with other noteworthy manuscripts and genealogical documents, are kept in the Spruance Library of the Bucks County Historical Society, located next to the 6-story Mercer Museum. Fonthill, Mercer’s private home, is located nearby and is also open for public tours.
  • The Mennonite Heritage Center in Harleysville, PA seeks to preserve the history and religious faith of the local Mennonite community. Fraktur are a featured part of the museum gallery’s permanent exhibit. The library also maintains an extensive collection of fraktur, family Bibles and other resources helpful for researching the 300-year record of Mennonites living in southeastern Pennsylvania.
  • With all my heart (Von ganzem Herzen)

    Twentieth century fraktur from Salem, North Carolina.

    The Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA) is one of four museum facilities connected to the living history village and gardens of Old Salem. Salem, North Carolina was established in 1766 by Moravians who moved south from their initial settlement in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The associated library and research center is committed to exploring the diverse cultural heritage of the American South. The facilities include a large collection of genealogical records that document the Moravian migration to Salem, North Carolina.
  • The Newberry Library of Chicago is the home of the entire collection of more than 1,000 fraktur birth and baptismal certificates collected by noted German scholar, Dr. Klaus Stopp. Other items in the Stopp Collection include maps and a detailed 6-volume catalog of Stopp's fraktur collection. The Newberry Library provides comprehensive support for genealogists and social science researchers.
  • The Philadelphia Museum of Art maintains a rotating exhibit of North American folk art – including fraktur – in its permanent galleries. Some of these fraktur can be accessed through the museum’s online collection.  The museum’s library also holds an extensive collection of books about fraktur.
  • Drawing (Tree-like Flower)

    A fraktur drawing in the Schwenkfelder style.

    The Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center in Pennsburg, PA is committed to the preservation and study of Schwenkfelder history. The museum holds an extensive collection of fraktur — primarily Schwenkfelder drawings, writing exercises and religious texts — that is available for study in the library archives. An online essay describes how Schwenkfelder fraktur differ from documents made in other Pennsylvania German communities.
  • The Winterthur Museum and Country Estate in northern Delaware was established by Henry Francis du Pont in 1951 with the purpose of exhibiting objects made or used in America from 1640 through 1860. The museum’s renowned decorative arts collection is displayed in over 175 period rooms and two floors of galleries. Several period rooms, including the famous Fraktur Room, are dedicated to Pennsylvania German artifacts and can be seen as part of the tour.
  • The Goschenhoppen Historians Inc. is one of the oldest continuously existing Pennsylvania German communities in America. This geographic region occupies a small corner of southeastern Pennsylvania in Montgomery County. The Goschenhoppen Historians Inc. was founded in 1964 in order to preserve the folk culture of this area's earliest immigrant settlers, known as the Pennsylvania Dutch. Incorporated as an educational organization on June 4, 1965, it has grown and prospered and has met, admirably, the many varied challenges of its social commitment to foster and maintain respect for the ingenuity, faith and determination of these settlers. Today, the Goschenhoppen Historians maintain several museums, a library, and offer educational and seasonal events and fundraisers throughout the year.
  • Harmony Museum , 30 miles north of Pittsburgh, is a National Historic Landmark District, Western Pennsylvania's first. Founded in 1804 as the communal Harmony Society's first American home, the area was resettled in 1815 by Mennonites after the Harmonists moved away. The Harmony Museum and its Veith Library resources address more than 250 years of exceptional history, from the mid-18th century's Lenni Lenapi Indians and George Washington's visit that helped spark the French and Indian War, to 21st century MMarcellus shale natural gas exploration.

Other Fraktur Resources at the Free Library of Philadelphia

  • Bucks County Fraktur.
    Cory M. Amsler, editor. Kutztown, Pa.: The Pennsylvania German Society and the Bucks County Historical Society, 2001.
    ISBN: 091112201X
    Call Number: 745.6708 B857C
    This book provides a comprehensive account of the social, artistic and religious importance of fraktur from the Bucks County region of Pennsylvania. In addition to many examples of fraktur from the Mercer Museum, several fraktur pictured in the book come from the Free Library’s collection.
  • Ontario Fraktur: A Pennsylvania German Folk Tradition in Early Canada.
    Michael Bird. Toronto: M.F. Feheley Publishers Ltd., 1977.
    ISBN: 0919880088
    Call Number: 745.67 B532O
    This illustrated book presents a detailed explanation of fraktur made in the Mennonite communities of southern Ontario, Canada.
  • O Noble Heart, O Edel Herz: Fraktur and Spirituality in Pennsylvania German Folk Art.
    Michael Bird. Lancaster: Heritage Center Museum, 2002.
    NOTE: This title is held in the Rare Book Department of the Free Library of Philadelphia. 
    This very theoretical book discusses the deep symbolism within fraktur. The author suggests that fraktur reflect the complex relationship between Pennsylvania German attitudes towards religious piety and their joyous appreciation of nature.
  • Pennsylvania German Illuminated Manuscripts: A Classification of Fraktur-Schiften and an Inquiry into their History and Art.
    Henry S. Borneman. Norristown, Pa.: The Pennsylvania German Society, 1938.
    ISBN: 0486229262
    Call Number: 091 B647P
    This landmark book outlines a classification system for fraktur that is still in use today. Borneman organized fraktur based on each document’s function. This book also served as the initial catalog of Borneman’s fraktur collection, now housed in the Free Library of Philadelphia.
  • Fraktur: Folk Art & Family.
    Corinne and Russell Earnest. Atglen, Pa.: Schiffer Publishing Co., 1999.
    ISBN: 076430920X
    Call Number: 745.6708 EA76F
    This book is an excellent introduction to the world of American fraktur. It explores everything about this folk art in a fun and accessible manner. It is filled with full-color images of fraktur and provides maps of German migration in North America.
  • Fraktur: Papers for Birth Dayes: A Guide to the Fraktur Artists and Scriveners: 2 vols.
    Corinne and Russell Earnest. East Berlin, Pa.: Russell D. Earnest Associates, 1997; 1989.
    ISBN: 1879311119 (v. 1); 1879311119 (v. 2)
    Call Number: 745.6708 EA76P2 VOL.1- 2
    This is a “must have” guide for fraktur scholars, serious collectors and genealogists. It provides thorough and detailed information about fraktur artists and their stylistic differences. The index of surnames that often appear on fraktur is an essential resource of Pennsylvania German regional and family histories.
  • Faith and Family: Pennsylvania German Heritage in York County Area Fraktur.
    June Burk Lloyd. York, Pennsylvania: York County Heritage Trust, 2001.
    NOTE: This title is held in the Rare Book Department of the Free Library of Philadelphia. 
    This book provides an in-depth discussion of York County fraktur and genealogy, alongside many full-color images of fraktur.
  • “The survival of the medieval art of illuminative writing among the Pennsylvania Germans.”
    Henry C. Mercer. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 36, no. 156 (Sept. 17, 1897): 423-433.
    ISSN: 0003-049X
    Call Number: 506 AM3 V.36 1897
    This publication of Mercer’s 1897 lecture to the American Philosophical Society sparked scholarly interest in fraktur and served as the basis for modern fraktur research. All of the fraktur Mercer examined came from his private collection of fraktur, now housed at the Mercer Museum.
  • Fraktur Writings and Folk Art Drawings of the Schwenkfelder Library Collection.
    Dennis K. Moyer. Kutztown, Pa.: The Pennsylvania German Society, 1997. ISBN: 0935980121
    Call Number: 974.8 P3829P V.31 1997
    This book features beautiful images of Schwenkfelder fraktur and is organized by the location of each Schwenkfelder settlement.  It is an important resource for learning about Schwenkfelders in the history, geography and culture of southeastern Pennsylvania.
  • The Fraktur-Writings or Illuminated Manuscripts of the Pennsylvania Germans.
    Donald Shelley. Pennsylvania German Folklore Society (Yearbook) v. 23. Allentown, Pa.: The Pennsylvania German Folklore Society, 1961.
    Call Number: 398 P38 V.25 1961
    This work is renowned as a classic study of fraktur. Written from the viewpoint of an art historian and collector, Shelley traces the development of fraktur from its earliest possible European origins to its popularity among German farmers in Pennsylvania.
  • The Printed Birth and Baptismal Certificates of the German Americans: 6 vols.
    Klaus Stopp. Mainz, Germany and East Berlin, Pa.: Published by the author, 1997-1999.
    ISBN: 3000008330 (v. 1); 3000013571 (v. 2); 300001358X (v. 3); 300001358X (v. 4)
    Call Number: 929.3748 ST73P Vol. 1 - 6
    This 6-volume set serves as a comprehensive catalog of printed fraktur birth and baptismal certificates.  Stopp identifies hundreds of distinct editions which are accompanied by numerous print illustrations.  Entries include abstracts of genealogical data from the original certificates.  Stopp also provides biographical information about fraktur printers and describes various printing techniques used in North America during the 18th and 19th centuries. The fraktur in these volumes came from the private collection of Klaus Stopp, now housed at the Newberry Library of Chicago, as well as numerous public and private collections.
  • The Gift is Small, the Love is Great.
    Frederick S. Weiser. York, Pa.: York Graphic Services, Inc., 1994.
    NOTE: This title is held in the Rare Book Department of the Free Library of Philadelphia. 
    Call Number: 745.6708 W434G
    This book describes small fraktur such as rewards of merit and drawings, while providing numerous illustrations that show the great diversity of this genre.
  • “Fraktur.” Frederick S. Weiser. In Arts of the Pennsylvania Germans.
    Catherine E. Hutchins, editor. New York: W.W. Norton Co. for the Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum, 1983, pp. 230-264.
    ISBN: 0393017494
    Call Number: 974.8 P3829P V.17 1983
    This chapter is part of a larger book about Pennsylvania German decorative arts.  It is illustrated with several fraktur from the Winterthur collection.  Other chapters concentrate on furniture, pottery, textiles and metalwork.  Together, the volume presents a broad study of Pennsylvania German material culture.
  • The Pennsylvania German Fraktur of the Free Library of Philadelphia: An Illustrated Catalogue, 2 vols.
    Frederick S. Weiser and Howell J. Heaney. Breinigsville, Pa: The Pennsylvania German Society, 1976.
    ISBN: 091112232X (v. 1); 0911122338 (v. 2)
    Call Number: 745.6709 F875P V.1; 745.6709 F875P V.2
    This two-volume set is a catalog of most of the fraktur in the collection of the Free Library of Philadelphia. Most entries include a translation of the document and provide information about the fraktur artists.
  • Virginia Fraktur: Penmanship as Folk Art.
    Klaus Wust. Edinburgh, Va.: Shenandoah History Publishers, 1975.
    NOTE: This title is held in the Rare Book Department of the Free Library of Philadelphia. 
    Wust’s study examines a number of important southern fraktur artists.  It is one of the few publications to address fraktur outside of Pennsylvania.