Fraktur Documents

What is Fraktur?

Fraktur is the term for the illuminated documents created in the 18th & 19th centuries by German speaking immigrants to America. Fraktur is typically associated with Pennsylvania, but it can be found anywhere that large groups of German speaking peoples settled, including my home state of Virginia.  Fraktur actually refers to the “fractured” or printed black letter Gothic font that is used in the documents.  It is printed letter by letter as opposed to being written as continuous script.   Fraktur is a form of calligraphy and some people use the terms interchangeably.

If fraktur documents just consisted of printed text, probably few people would pay attention to them or collect them.   However, fraktur are very often, almost always, embellished with colorful decoration.   Fraktur documents are filled with all sorts of familiar flowers, folliage, and birds.   Some of the flowers and birds are easily recognizable, and some are just fanciful representations.    Most of these images are rendered in primary colors; red, yellow and blue or some easy combination of those.

Most of the original fraktur are Geburtschein (birth certificates) or Taufschein (baptismal certificates).   You also see Haus Segen (house blessings) consisting of scripture or poetry colorfully illustrated.    I create all of these and also marriage certificates.   I am open to creating most any type of fraktur document.   I have seen fraktur posters, flyers, and family trees.

Fraktur Documents

Below are examples of a hand lettered and hand colored Geburtschein , Marriage Certificate and a Haus Segen.  These are my original designs, and are available printed on heavy weight, A4 size paper.  Either one of these designs could be used for a Geburtschein, a Taufschein, a marriage certificate, a Haus Segen, or any similar document. I will inscribe your’s or your loved one’s birth or baptismal record, marriage record, favorite blessing or other similar text on either of the designs shown. The hand lettered and hand colored prints of the original designs shown on this page are $79 each for any of the documents mentioned.  The documents on A4 paper are mounted and matted for a 11″ x 14″ frame.  Shipping is $10, and there is 5.3% sales tax for VA residents.

You need to understand that these are not prints of finished works. I simply print a line drawing of the original design  as a starting point. The paper may be aged or not; your choice. Then I re-ink the lines where I feel it is necessary, add additional art where appropriate, layout and inscribe the fraktur text using calligraphy ink, and then do the coloring with period correct water colors. The hand coloring and lettering will vary from one document to another. No two documents using the same design are going to be exactly alike.

In addition to the hand lettered and hand colored prints of previous designs; I can produce an original, exclusive design; hand drawn, hand inked, hand lettered, and hand colored in any type or style you like. I can create an all original Geburtschein (birth certificate), Taufschein (baptism  certificate), Haus Segen (house blessing), marriage certificate, or a purely decorative work. Actually, I could create a fraktur style document to commemorate most any event.

A completely original small size document (A4 – 8.27″ X 11.7″, 60lb, hot press, Sennelier Ink & Calligraphy paper), mounted and matted for a 11″x14″ frame, costs $149. An large size document will be created on one quarter sheet (approx. 11″ x 15″) of Arches 140lb cold press paper (the best laid cotton paper you can get these days), mounted and matted for a 16″ x 20″ frame, will cost $179. Use the Contact page to inquire about such custom work. I will want to talk to you on the phone about it to make sure I understand what you want. I will then send you a contract with the details for you to sign and return with a check.  I usually provide a sketch of the fraktur design for approval prior to inking and coloring.

Shipping, packaging and insurance on all paper items are $10. Virginia residents must pay 5.3% VA Sales Tax. Please allow two to four weeks for delivery.

Please use this Contact Form if you are interested in contracting for a fraktur document. Make sure to include your phone number so that I can call you about the project.

Geburtschein (Birth Certificate), Taufschein (Baptismal certificate) or Marriage Certificate

Sample Geburtschein fraktur using Design 1
Hand lettered and hand colored sample Geburtschein fraktur using Design 1
Sample marriage certificate fraktur using Design 1
Hand lettered and hand colored sample marriage certificate fraktur using Design 1

Hand colored and hand lettered Geburtschein, Taufschein  or Marriage Certificate print using Design 1 – $79

Please use this Contact Form if you are interested in contracting for a fraktur document. Make sure to include your phone number so that I can call you about the project.

Haus Segen (House Blessing)

Hand lettered and hand colored Haus Segen using Design 2 in a Faux Painted Frame
Hand lettered and hand colored Haus Segen using Design 2 in a Faux Painted Frame

Hand colored and hand lettered Haus Segen print using Design 2 – $79

Please use this Contact Form if you are interested in contracting for a fraktur document. Make sure to include your phone number so that I can call you about the project.

Vorschrift

A Vorschrift is a lettering example usually done by school masters for the use of their students. Below is my Vorschrift Design 2 I did for my own reference, but I will also do a hand lettered and hand colored copy for you. It is available for $59 each.

Vorschrift - School Master Lettering Sample 2
Vorschrift – School Master Lettering Sample (Vorschrift Design 2) in a Faux Painted Frame

Original Fraktur Water Color – Vorschrift Design 2- $59

Please use this Contact Form if you are interested in contracting for a fraktur document. Make sure to include your phone number so that I can call you about the project.

 

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