Fraktur Interactive Diagram

Credit: Brought to you by, your gateway to Pennsylvania, Past and Present.
"Fraktur" are decorated manuscripts or documents of early Pennsylvania-Germans and other German-American immigrants. Although rooted in medieval European manuscript art, American fraktur differed in that they were designed to be personal family records rather than legal documents or texts. Fraktur were popular from the mid 18th century to the early 20th century. Most early fraktur were created entirely by hand.

The most popular types of American fraktur were birth and baptismal certificates. Beginning in the early 19th century, some fraktur were commercially printed, then personalized for the customer by professional calligraphers. German was still the preferred language of these forms, but later English versions began to appear, as in this example printed in Harrisburg around the turn of the century.

View the Image Gallery to learn more about Pennsylvania fraktur art.

Print and personalize your own copy of this fraktur
Back to Top