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Taufschein of Catherine Bender

Bandel, Fredrich
Place Made:
Shenandoah County Virginia United States of America
Date Made:
ink and watercolor on paper
HOA: 13 3/8; WOA: 16 1/4 (actual)
Accession Number:
Taufschein / Birth and Baptismal Certificate of Catherine Bender. Watercolor and ink on wove paper. The major block of text is centered in a framed oval, with additional stanzas framed in lobe-like pendants extended from the lower corners of the central oval. Flowers, stars and figure-eight-and-diamond devices surround the upper portion, and a vase and flowers is centered below. The whole is enclosed in a cross-hatched border.


Tauff — schein / Diese beide ehegattin der ehrenveste Johanes / Bender und die Tugendsaame Philipina Freyin verehlichte / Bendern ist im Jahr 1794 den 22ten November geboren um / 3 Uhr des morgens eine Tochter im Zeichen des Schutz War / Getauft Catharina in der Zions Peint Kirche von Pfaar / Streit ihr Petter und goth war Jacob Imswiller und / seine Hausfrau Diese Catharina Bendern ist von Christ-/ lichen eltern geboren in Schanandoah Counte neu Virgini / Waan Wir kaum geboren Werden ist von ersten Lebens tritt bis ins kühle / Grab der erden nur ein kurtz gemessener schritt.


Baptism — Certificate / To these two marriage partners, the honorable Johannes / Bender and the virtuous Philipina Frey, / married Bender, in the year 1794, the 22nd of November, about 3 o’clock in the morning, / a daughter was born, in the sign of the Archer (Sagittarius), [she] was / christened Catharina in the Zion-Pine Church by Pastor / Streit. Her Godfather and Godmother were Jacob Imswiller and / his wife. This Catharina Bender was born of Chris / tian parents in Shenandoah County, new Virginia. /
When we are scarcely born, from the first step of life to the cool / grave of earth is only one briefly measured step.

In the lower left pendant:
Meine Müde saufzur sagen / Was mein mund nicht Weiss /Zulagen durch mein träh- /nen allenacht Wird mein /Sager nass gemacht meiner /Augen saft une Trähnen /Mir Tag un nacht thut
Zu allen quellen wie / Ein Wasser guss das /Ich schier verzagen muss.

My weary sighs tell / what my mouth does not know / to complain through my tears / every night my bed is / made wet from my / eyes’ liquid tears, / which torment me day and night, / spring up like a water spout / so that I must despair.

In the lower right pendent:
Ich bin getauft; ob ich gleich / sterbe, was schadet mir das kühle / Grab Ich weiß mein Vater /land und Erbe, das ich bei / Gott im Himmel hab nach /nach meinem Todt /die Himmels Freud

I have been baptized, even if I / die right away, how can the cool / grave harm me? I know my father / land and inheritance, that I have / with God in Heaven, / after my death / joy in Heaven

MAKER: Records indicate that Friedrich Bandel (Active 1800-1820) came to America as a Hessian soldier fighting with the British army during the American Revolution. Following his desertion from the army in 1781 he was imprisoned in Winchester, Virginia and was among the many Hessian solders who elected to remain in America following the end of the war. He became a school teacher and began to produce Taufscheine and other fraktur, with surviving examples showing activity in Rockingham, Shenandoah, and Wythe Counties, Virginia. Examples of his work have also been found in Ohio where he may have moved around 1810. Two signed fraktur are known, one dated 1809 in Virginia with his name spelled “Fridrich Bandel”, and one dated 1818 for an 1814 Ohio birth with his name spelled “Friedrick Bandel.” The Taufschein for Catherine Bender appears to be the earliest of Bandel’s mature style that often features a large oval frame for the inscription with pendant lobes, hearts, or leaf-like frames in each lower corner.

The single most distinctive and consistent characteristic of Bandel’s work is his Gothic lettering in which both lower and upper case letters are the same height. The larger lettering is hand drawn and filled, rather than inscribed with single pen strokes, while the smaller lettering is written with a pen. Bandel often describes the mother of the child as “virtuous,” and he sometimes notes the astrological month in the date of the birth. Typical motifs found in Bandel’s fraktur include, flowers, birds, flowers in pots, unicorns, winged angel’s heads, human figures, and figure-eight-and-diamond devices. His colors are thinly applied in a flat manner with an opaque quality. The format of the large central framed block of text with two pendent lobes or hearts containing popular baptism verses may have been influenced by the printed birth and baptismal certificates of Wilhelm Lepper and Endredy Stettinius published in Hanover, PA between 1798 – 1805. (Stopp, vol. II, pp 222-234)


“Friedrich Bandel” in 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, pp. 72-73.

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.

Stopp, Klaus. The Printed Birth and Baptismal Certificates of the German Americans. Mainz, Germany and East Berlin, PA, 1997.

This Taufschein commemorates the November 22, 1794 birth of Catharina Bender (Painter) and her baptism at Zion-Pine Lutheran Church, Shenandoah County, Virginia. The Baptism sponsors were Jacob Imswiller (Imschwiller) and his wife (Catherine). It is probable that Catherine Bender’s father, Johannes Bender, was the John Painter listed in the1810 census of Shenandoah County, VA, along with several other members of the Painter family and their neighbor, Jacob Imswiller. The November 29, 1792 marriage of John Painter and Phillippa Fry is recorded in the marriages of Shenandoah County, Virginia. Lutheran Pastor Christian Streit (June 7, 1749-March 10, 1812) served as the minister of Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Winchester, VA, 1785-1812. He also ministered to other Shenandoah County Churches, in this case the Zion-Pine Lutheran Church in the Stony Creek vicinity. Friedrich Bandel was not the only artist engaged by the Bender family to create Taufscheine for their children. The Colonial Williamsburg Collection contains three Taufscheine for the children of Philip Bender and Adam Bender by Henry Heltzel, previously known as the “Stony Creek Artist”. (Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Collection Acc. 1993.305.1, 2, 3). Johannes and Philipina Bender served as sponsors for one of these baptisms and Jacob and Catherine Imschwiller as sponsors for another.
Credit Line:
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas W. L. Hughes, Jr.