[FRAKTUR]. [Pennsylvania Dutch manuscript heart-shaped Valentine]. Pennsylvania, February 3, 1721.

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[FRAKTUR]. [Pennsylvania Dutch manuscript heart-shaped Valentine]. Pennsylvania, February 3, 1721.


Single sheet, (3 ½ x 3 ¼ inches). Very fine Fraktur manuscript Valentine card with floral embellishments and depiction of a crane, in pen and red, black, and green ink and watercolor wash heightened with gum arabic.

Provenance: The Dr. Frank H. Sommer III Trust. Doyle sale 13BP04, November 25, 2013, Lot 296.

ORIGINAL FRAKTUR MANUSCRIPT VALENTINE. This beautifully lettered and decorated Valentine is cut in the shape of a heart, with a ten-line poem as well as the date “Anno 1721 Den 3 February,” and a small figure of a crane at the bottom identified as “Ein Kranich” (“a crane”). Approximate transcription follows:

“Kunst und
liebe tot defacten
kan datselve lich

Luft zur Lugend mitzig machet / Kunst und Weiss-
heit verurfachet / dass man Pommt zu hohen-
Dingen / Drumuss man nach Lugent ringen.
Man soll nichts zum Lernen spahren /
Felts schon schnoer in ersten Jahren /
Ists dochleicht hernach und brin-
get / Dass uns unsser Heil gelin-

Fraktur work was used to decorate many different kinds of manuscripts and documents made by the mainly German-speaking communities of Pennsylvania. Fraktur is also the name of the specif-ic style of calligraphic lettering used on these documents, as here. It was a popular typeface in German-speaking parts of Europe from the mid-1500s until the 1940s. In 1683, upon William Penn's invitation, Mennonites from Krefeld, Germany, settled near Philadelphia. Others fol-lowed, coming from Germany, Switzerland, and Holland.