Don’t stop with frakturweb! While this site is one of the few exclusively devoted to fraktur, there are other Web sites and related resources of great potential interest. I list my favorites below and welcome suggestions of those I inevitably have overlooked.
Mennonite Heritage Center. The Center, near Harleysville, Pennsylvania, features a wonderful display of fraktur as well as an active museum and library. A small but excellent organization with dedicated, knowledgeable staff.
Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center and its library. This young and growing organization maintains an useful research library on its grounds at Kutztown University.
The Pennsylvania German Society. The PGS is among the oldest of the relevant ethnic organizations and focuses on growing its distinguished series of publications. The page of related links on their site is especially useful.
The Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center. Operating in a newly expanded home, the staff of this organization does wonderful programmatic work and maintains an excellent research library. Watch for exhibitions featuring their unique fraktur holdings.
Individuals’ Web Sites
Russ and Corrine Earnest are indefatigable compilers of fraktur information and perhaps the most knowledgeable. Their encyclopedic volumes, Paper for Birth Dayes, is a necessary purchase for anyone interested in this site. Buy a copy!
Clarke Hess’s Pennsylvania German Arts and Antiques. This Web log or “blog” by an important Lancaster County researcher is the first in our field to take advantage of blogging technology. It needs to be updated!
Dieter Stiefmann’s Typography Site. There are lots of font sources on the Web but this one shows the greatest skill and usefulness for our purposes. It’s in German.
Alderfer Auction Company, Conestoga Auction Company, Garth’s Auction, Horst Auction, Pook and Pook. Auctions provide the greatest visibility for fraktur and collectors monitor sales at places such as these. Major collections sometimes show up at Christie’s, Samuel T. Freeman (Philadelphia), and Sotheby’s but ensure you understand the “buyer’s premium.”
eBay. The quantity and variety of stuff available through eBay is astounding. Fraktur literature, reproductions, originals(?), and knickknacks all are to be found. Caveat emptor.
David Wheatcroft Antiques. Probably the best known of the upper-bracket fraktur dealers, Wheatcroft’s site often sports some choice examples.
ABEbooks. There are other used book sites but I have had the best luck with this one. Too good, in fact. And, it remains independent of the Amazon empire.
Antiques and Fine Art. Associated with a print journal, this site, in itself, is a well executed compilation of dealer catalogs, quality articles and related information.
Antiques and the Arts Newsletter. As a free online newsletter, this is a handy way for computer-using folk art aficionados to track museum exhibits, major auctions and sales.
Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society. This group sponsors a continuous book sale that has become a very big deal. It is a time-consuming but worthwhile browse.
Museums and Libraries
Abbey Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum. Their new-ish museum facility in Williamsburg has some choice examples of fraktur but check what is on display at the moment.
American Folk Art Museum. Look for special exhibits, rather than a permanent display. The former can be terrific, especially if drawn from benefactor Ralph Esmerian’s collection, a serendipitous combination of taste and resources. Their spectacular 53rd street building had to be sold and they are back to their smaller quarters across from Lincoln Center.
Ephrata Cloister. Visiting the campus of this Protestant monastery in Lancaster County is a moving experience, whether or not you are interested in fraktur. If you are, you will stand, transfixed, in front of surviving wall charts and decorated hymnals as your tour group shuffles past.
The Free Library of Philadelphia. The FLP did a fabulous job upgrading its fraktur resources with a recent symposium and digitization project. See their introductory page for an entre to the riches. This is one of the best collections.
The Metropolitan Art Museum. The quiet, rich ambiance of the American Wing is a favorite destination, though there are only one or two fraktur to be seen in the reconstructed Pennsylvania German Room. Maybe that’s just my reaction to wonderfully cacophonic Manhattan. There are some good folk objects in the glass cases of the Luce Center for the Study of American Art .
The Pennsylvania State University, Paterno Library, Special Collections Library. The Rare Books and Manuscripts department displays some 250 images from their holdings, including many fraktur. Look for the “Pennsylvania German Broadsides and Fraktur” link.
Philadelphia Museum of Art. As the dominant art museum of the region and home of the independent Dietrich collection, PMA has huge potential. The pending acquisition of the wonderful Joan Johnson collection may be a new beginning!
The Reading Public Museum. This is a surprisingly pleasing and informative museum with a well designed Pennsylvania German gallery, featuring two dozen frakturs you can simply walk up to and look at (wonder of wonders!) Nice job, Reading!
Winterthur Museum. The fraktur room in this former estate in Delaware is a comprehensive permanent display of quality pieces. It preserves the collection of a discerning DuPont heir and the pieces are wonderfully selected, conserved, and displayed. Getting in requires some homework, though, so read the Web site carefully.
The York Heritage Trust . OK, Lewis Miller’s drawings may be more fraktur-ish than fraktur but who cares? YHT’s permanent Miller exhibit (on the mezzanine of their building in downtown York) has got to be one of the more charming museum experiences in Pennsylvania. Insider tip: check out the sauerkraut barrel incident.