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Taufschein of Anna Tanner

Place Made:
Davidson County Tennessee United States of America
Date Made:
watercolor on paper –ink on paper
HOA 9-3/4″; WOA 7-3/4″
Accession Number:
Birth and baptismal certificate for Anna Tanner (1855-1917). Ink and watercolor on paper. The central texts are framed by a circle of leafy vines and flowers interspersed with religious symbols. At the top of the sheet a wreath of delicate leaves and flowers surrounds two kneeling angels facing inward toward a lamb, a cross and descending dove. The wreath is flanked by two flying angels. Four shield-shaped cartouches are positioned symmetrically within the lower half of the frame. The two middle cartouches enclose angel figures, while the two lower cartouches enclose human figures kneeling in shafts of light. The central text is composed of two verses of a religious poem in red and blue ink executed in accomplished gothic fraktur script. Below this, the birth and baptismal information is penned in brown ink in old German script. A large baptismal bowl holding a booklet and flanked by two angels is centered between the two verses of the poem. All texts are in German. The dominant colors are red, pink, green and blue. The upper right corner of the sheet bears the reverse of an embossed octagonal stamp with an image of the capitol building in Washington, DC below the word CONGRESS.

G. G. G.
Du lieber heiland, Jesus Christ
Weil du ein guter Herte bist,
Und wertst so treu auf deine Heerde
Das keins davon verloren werde.

Lass mich dein freues Schäflein sein
Und fröhlich folgen dir allein.
Und stets auf deine Stimme hören,
Und nie wieder rückwärts kehren. Amen.

Anna, geboren den 26. October 1855 in
Wilson Co. Tenn, Tochter des Sebastian Tanner
un dessen Gattin Ursula, geboren Schmid,
werden den 13 April 1868 getauft
[ __?__] : Mike Schmid. G. Bachmann
Nashville, Tenn ev. luth. Pastor

G. G. G.
Thou dear Savior, Jesus Christ
Since you are the good shepherd
And so faithful to your flock,
None thereof shall be lost.

Let me be your joyful lamb
And gladly follow thee alone.
And when I hear your voice
Never again turn back. Amen.

Anna, born on 26 October 1855 in
Wilson Co. Tennessee, daughter of Sebastian Tanner
and his spouse Ursula, nee Schmid.
She was baptized on 13 April 1868
__?__ Mike. Schmid. G. Bachmann,
Nashville, Tenn Ev. Luth. Pastor

This is the only known fraktur from Tennessee. It commemorates the 25 October, 1855 birth and 13 April, 1868 baptism of Anna Tanner, the daughter of Sebastian and Ursula (Schmid) Tanner. The Tanners were part of a significant migration of German settlers to Middle Tennessee. Both Wilson County and Nashville (Davidson County) are noted in the text. The name G. Bachmann, Ev. Lutheran Pastor, at the end of the inscription may indicate the artist or scrivener who added the family information. The piece was found inside the Baby Book of Mary Emily Baker, a Tanner descendant who was born in 1939 in Nashville, Tennessee. Sebastian Tanner’s marriage to Ursula Smith is recorded on 3 December 1850 in the Davidson County, Tennessee marriage records. The death certificate of Henry Clay Baker (b. 30 April 1878 – d. 16 June 1959) in Nashville lists his father as George Baker and his mother as Anna Tanner Baker. The gravestone for Annie Tanner Naney (b. 25 October 1855 – d. 28 December 1917) is recorded at Mount Olivet Cemetery, Nashville, TN, on the Find-a-Grave Memorial website, suggesting that Anna Tanner Baker may have married a second time prior to her death in 1917.

The verses on this taufschein appeared in a collection of German hymns and religious verses entitled “Das Herz der Volksschule oder Gemüthsbildung durch Poesie und Gesang” (The Heart of the People’s School, or Instruction through Poetry and Song) published in 1864 in Prague by Pastor P. W. Wächtler. The section of small poems grouped under the heading “Kleine Vergissmichnichts” (“Little Forget-me-Nots”) included this poem.

The embossed CONGRESS stamp, such as that found on this sheet, originated with the paper mill established by Phillip J. King in York, Pennsylvania, around 1812. Erected on the grounds where congress had once met for a brief time, the Congress Mill eventually secured a contract to supply paper to the U.S. Congress and began embossing that stationery in the upper left corner with a “Congress” trademark including the image of the capitol building. Congress paper became widely popular with paper dealers and the “Congress” brand was also adopted by other paper manufacturers.

Credit Line:
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Henry W. Brockman.