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Friederich Speyer (active circa 1781-1803)


Friederich Speyer (active circa 1781-1803)

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Creation Date



Plate 22. Three-heart design with two mermaids at bottom, crown at top of large central heart, angels in top corners, two cameo portraits at lower corners.

Dimensions in Inches

12 1/8 x 15 13/16


Watercolor and Ink on Laid Paper


Drawn, Hand lettered

Print Shop Location

Reading, Pennsylvania

Associated Places

Heidelberg Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania


Mermaids, Crowns, Angels

Associated Names

Wilhelm Deller, Elisabetha Voltz, Anderea, Andereas, Andreas, Imanuel Schultz, Georg Ege, Elisabetha Ege


Please contact the Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art at Ursinus College for permissions which fall outside of educational fair use.


Ursinus College Library Special Collections and the Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art


Pennsylvania Folklife Society


Fraktur lettering, German script




Barton and Jungmann produced the only known Taufscheine on which the exact date of printing is included. They did this for two dates, August 4, 1790 and August 5, 1791.1 Speyer decorated another fraktur of this edition in a very similar manner, complete with mermaids, crown, portraits, and flowers. 2 Friedrich Speyer was one of the most prolific fraktur artists. Little is known of his personal life other than that he was a schoolmaster at a Lutheran church in Lancaster county in 1780. 3 Speyer embellished printed fraktur, employing a wide range of motifs including mermaids, lions, crowns, angels, and birds. In this example he included two unusual portraits, possibly of Frederick the Great of Prussia and his wife. Frederick was popular among Pennsylvania Germans for his early recognition of the United States as a sovereign nation following the American Revolution. Speyer is noted as being one of the more careless artists. In this piece, he mistakenly put the sponsor’s name in for the father’s name, then crossed it out and wrote the correct name beside it. George Ege, the sponsor, was the iron master at Charming Forge in the 1780s near Womelsdorf, in Berks County. Emmanuel Schultz, the pastor for the baptism, was the son-in-law of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg.



Bibliographical Reference

Stopp #620


Minardi, Lisa. Roots: Ursinus College and the Pennsylvania Germans (Trappe, Pa.: Historic Trappe, 2019), pp. 43-114. Stopp, Klaus. The Printed Birth and Baptismal Certificates of the German Americans. 6 vols. Mainz, Germany, and East Berlin, Pa.: privately published, 1997–99. 4:88.

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