Birth and Baptismal Certificate
Francis Portzline, American, 1771 - 1857
The colorful drawings known today as fraktur (so called because of the "fractured" Gothic script employed) were created as blessings, rewards of merit, or personal records of confirmation, marriage, or baptism, as in this example. Like many fraktur artists, Francis Portzline taught school and had special skills in lettering and painting. In his work, the surrounding birds, butterflies, and flowers reinforce the celebratory nature of the religious ceremony. Such records were important for membership in the Lutheran or Reformed Churches; their texts also offered spiritual guidance for their owners.