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Taufschein of Anna Barbara Eder

Weaver, William
Place Made:
Rockingham County Virginia United States of America
Date Made:
ink and watercolor on laid paper
HOA: 12 1/2; WOA: 14 7/8
Accession Number:
Geburts-und-Taufschein commemorating the 1779 birth and baptism of Anna Barbara Eder (Etter). Ink and watercolor on laid paper. A broad floral border of an undulating vine with green, yellow, and red-striped leaves surrounds a German inscription of hand drawn and elaborately decorated Gothic letters filled with green, yellow and red colors. The letters of the large masthead “Im Jahr Un-” are embellished with red, green and yellow semi-circles. Delicate calligraphic flourishes embellish the left portion of the sheet and the space below the central text. Rising from a vase on the right side, a single long tulip stem with small leaves and flowers is positioned horizontally above the masthead. The artist, schoolmaster William Weaver, signed and dated this work 1798 in copperplate script below the inscription.
Inscription: Im Jahr un / sers Herrn und hey / landes Jesu Christi, 1779 den 20sten Juny ist /dem Heinrich Eder und dessen Ehfrau Magdale / na eine Tochter geboren. Ist getauft worden von / dem Reformirten Pfarrer Weymer, Taufzeu / gen waren Andreas Andes und dessen Ehfrau Barba / ra, und der name wurde der Tochter beygelagt, Anna Barba / ra obengemelde Tochter ist gebohren in dem County Racken / heym in dem Staat Virginien.
[in English] Wrote by me William Weaver Schoolmaster in the County of Rockingham, August 22 /1798
Translation: In the year of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, 1779, on the 20th of June, a daughter was born to Heinrich Eder and his wife Magdalena [and] was baptized by the Reformed Pastor Weymer. The Godparents were Andreas Andes and his wife Barbara, for whom the daughter was named. The above mentioned Anna Barbara was born in the County of Rockingham in the State of Virginia.
Maker/Artist: William Weaver (Wilhelm Weber) (Active 1798-1810). This Taufschein is unusual in identifying the name and occupation of the artist as well as the date of its execution. Undoubtedly many fraktur artists were schoolmasters, and William Weaver’s work, including the neatly positioned ornamental motifs, elaborately drawn and embellished Gothic letters, and accomplished calligraphic hand in both Gothic and copperplate script, reflects the practiced hand of a schoolmaster. The Free Library of Philadelphia collection includes several examples, including an unfinished Taufschein, that may be by the same hand or possibly imitations of this artist’s work, with similar illuminated floral borders, horizontal tulips, and mastheads. The unfinished example confirms that Weaver, or his imitator, following the practice of many other fraktur artists, prepared blank Taufscheine to which names and relevant birth or baptismal information would be later added. Characteristics of Weaver’s works include the red, green, and yellow watercolor palette; skilled handling of brush and pen; the large illuminated masthead of Gothic letters embellished with colorful semicircles; a broad border of vines, leaves and flowers; and the horizontal tulip stem positioned above the masthead. Little is known of Weaver’s life at this point. The May 29, 1798 Shenandoah County marriage of William Weaver and Elizabeth Sibert may be that of this artist and his wife. A recently discovered fraktur in this same group is inscribed as written by “Wilhelm Weber” in Shenandoah County in1806, confirming that this artist did use his German as well as his English name.
Related objects: Taufscheine for Elizabeth and Rosina Banawitz (Free Library of Philadelphia #frk00093 and #frk00094); Unfinished Taufscheine (Free Library of Philadelphia #frk00113); Taufscheine for Anna Maria Banawitz (Private collection).
Paul, Bonnie L. and Pat Turner Ritchie, editors. Bernhart & Company: Shenandoah Valley Folk Art Fraktur (1774-1850). Dayton, VA: The Heritage Museum, Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society, 2011.
Earnest, Russell D. and Corinne P. Earnest, Papers for Birth Dayes: Guide to the Fraktur Artists and Scriveners (East Berlin, Pa.: Russell D. Earnest Associates, 1997), 2nd ed., vol. 1, “Banawitz Family Artist” p. 71.
Hinke, William J. and Charles E. Kemper, editors. “Records of the Peaked Mountain Church, Rockingham Co., VA.” William & Mary Quarterly, 1905 and 1906, Vol. 13 and 14.
This taufschein was created in 1798 by Rockingham County, Virginia schoolmaster William Weaver in commemoration of the 1779 birth and baptism of Anna Barbara Eder. The child’s parents were Jacob and Magdalena Eder (Etter, Adair) and her baptism sponsors were Andreas Andes (Antes) and his wife Barbara, for whom the child was named. Little is known at this point about the family of Jacob and Magdalena Eder. Reformed pastor Jacob Weymer (Weimer) served as the first pastor of the German Reformed Church of Hagerstown, Maryland from 1770 until his death in 1790. He occasionally ministered to the Peaked Mountain Reformed Church in Rockingham County, Virginia. This artist also created three Taufscheine for children of the Banawitz (Pennywitz, Bonewit) family of Shenandoah County, Virginia.
Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. George Bell