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Marriage Certificate of Johannes Lein and Margretha Leinin

Object Name: Fraktur
Date: ca. 1800
Related People:
Medium: Brown ink, watercolor, gouache, gold metallic pigment, and graphite with cut-out hearts and birds on paper
Dimensions: Sheet (paper): 15 7/8 × 12 5/8 in. (40.3 × 32.1 cm)
Description: Fraktur
Credit Line: Purchased from Elie Nadelman
Object Number: 1937.1724
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Inscribed: Inscribed at lower right in black ink: "Johannes Lein & Margretha Leinin, Den 27ten September, 1776" Centerpiece: "Wahrhaftig sein / und Redlich halten steht / wohl bei Jugend und bei = / alten, fleu[c]h heucheleÿ und = / falschen schen schein, laß = / mund und herz bei = / sammen sein" Center ring of hearts: "Es ist schon die Axt den Bäumen an die wurzel gelegt. Matt:3.[10]" [otherwise illegible] Ring of text: "Die Krone zum Sohne der Jugend gebürt, weil keuschheit und treue als perlen, dann keuschheit und treue allhier in der welt dem hochsten viel besser als alles gefällt, Ende" Outer ring of hearts: "1. Wir sehen gerne, daß and're / sollen, / Sich halten so wie wir es / wollen / 2. Wilt du dein eig'nes Hertz bewah = / ren, / So laß das sehn auf and're fahren, / Wer viel von anderen red't und / spricht, / der kennet noch sich selber / nicht. . . ."

Gallery Label:

This object was once part of the folk art collection of Elie Nadelman (1882-1946), the avant-garde sculptor. From 1924 to 1934, Nadelman's collection was displayed in his Museum of Folk Arts, located in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. The Historical Society purchased Nadelman's entire collection in 1937.

The term “fraktur” describes the elaborate decorated manuscripts created and treasured as keepsakes by Pennsylvania Germans. Fraktur evolved from old German laws that required formal certificates of birth, baptism, and marriage to be registered with the state. Often including texts in German, English, or both languages, fraktur recorded an individual’s connection with his or her family, community, and faith, and became symbols of social status for German-speaking families. The Nadelmans appreciated the cultural significance of these works, as well as their bright colors and bold decorative designs.

Provenance:

Anthony Wayne Shop, 1925; The Folk Art Collection of Elie and Viola Nadelman, Riverdale, NY

Exhibitions:

"Making It Modern: The Folk Art Collection of Elie and Viola Nadelman," New-York Historical Society, May 20–August 21, 2016.