Collections › MESDA Collection › Fraktur Birth Certificate of William P. Browning

Fraktur Birth Certificate of William P. Browning

Artist/Maker:
Williams, W. L.
Place Made:
Woodford County Kentucky United States of America
Date Made:
1808-1818
Medium:
watercolor and ink on paper
Dimensions:
HOA 7-1/2″; WOA 10″
Accession Number:
5495.2a
Description:
Fraktur birth certificate for William P. Browning. Watercolor and ink on paper. A triangular border created by alternating red and blue parallel lines, surrounds the central text. The name of the child and birth information are executed in a series of colorfully illuminated upper case letters in both Roman block and Gothic fraktur script. The numbers are written as Roman numerals while the remainder of the inscription is in English. Inserted between the month and birth date, a bold red heart with a scalloped border of semicircles and dots contains the word “Innocence” written in italic script.
Inscription:
WILLIAM / P. / BROWNING / WAS BORN / OCT. [Innocence] XIII / MDCCCXIII / BY W. L. WILLIAMS.

Artist: W.L. Williams. This is one of two known works by this hand. Both examples include similar Roman block and Gothic fraktur lettering. The other example, unsigned and commemorating the 1817 birth of Lydia Ann Rockhill, was found pasted inside a small miniature chest with a Kentucky history. Nothing is known of the artist, W. L. Williams, at this time. A “W. Williams” advertised the opening of a school for boys in the August 1823 Kentucky Gazette and the Kentucky Reporter, both of which were published in Lexington, KY.

History:
This fraktur was found in a book entitled, The Diadem / 1846; accession #5495.3.

William Perry Browning, son of Capt. James Browning and his wife Jane Morrow, was born October 13, 1813 in Clark County, Kentucky. He appears in the 1850 Fayette County census as W.P. Browning living with his wife, Emeline Armstrong, and their three daughters, and working as a blacksmith. The Brownings and the Morrows migrated to Kentucky from Culpeper County, Virginia in the late 18th century. William was a third generation Kentuckian.

Credit Line:
MESDA Purchase Fund