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This unfamiliar word has multiple meanings. It is the name of a black letter font common in Germany until the 1940's, derived from its "fractured" appearance. It also connotes decorated documents created by the Pennsylvania Dutch, largely between the mid-1700s and mid-1800s. The script of the documents was fraktur and the word came to describe the entire work, including their elaborate decoration, making them a form of folk art. Many of the documents recorded life passages, such as birth and baptism, such as this one for the infant Hannah Oberholzer, who was born in 1805:


The Fraktur done by sectarian groups, such as the Mennonites, were often writing models or student rewards, created by schoolmasters teaching in schools such as this one in Bucks County, built in 1842:


A Mennonite schoolmaster in a nearby district created this decorated religious text:

religious text


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