Fraktur are the exquisitely beautiful and ornate 18th and 19th century illuminated folk art drawings created by the Pennsylvania German beginning around 1740 and spanning well over a hundred years. The word fraktur refers to a unique style of German script distinguished by pen strokes that appeared to be fractured.
Early fraktur drawings were created by hand in ink and watercolor and encompass a variety of styles and categories. Popular motifs include flowers, hearts, birds and unicorns reflecting the artists’ roots in European folk culture. Generally created for home decoration, fraktur are a rich, iconographic and highly personal example of early family documents, namely birth announcements, marriage and baptism certificates and house blessings.
Below is a fanciful taufscheine (birth or baptism certificate), 1788.