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Birth, Baptismal, Confirmation, and Marriage Certificate for Catharina Deibler

Origin: America, Pennsylvania, Dauphin County
Primary Support: 12 3/16in., 14.9cm (31 x 14.9cm) and Framed: 15 5/8 x 18 3/16 x 3/4in.
Watercolor, ink, and graphite on wove paper
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1993.305.5
An elaborately designed birth, baptismal, confirmation, and marriage certificate. The subject's name appears on a blue banner across the center. Above, an inscription is enclosed in a central wreath, flanked by two cornucopias and two urns of flowers. Flowering vines spilling from the cornucopias trail below, pass through two lower wreaths, and are held by hovering angels on either side. An inscription appears in a reserve immediately below the central banner. Below and to either side of it are two yellow wreaths enclosing inscriptions regarding, respectively, confirmation and marriage. Between the two yellow wreaths is a basket of flowers set within a complex web-or net-like skein akin to hatching. Sprays of flowers unfold from either side of the two yellow wreaths, and floral drops, or pannicles, hang from either end of the central banner. A double red line surrounds the whole.

The 1 7/16-inch bird's-eye maple frame is a modern reproduction. It incorporates raised corner blocks and applied, cutout hearts nailed onto the centers of the top and bottom frame members.
Label:Generally, Pennsylvania German certificates did not document so many rites of passage. This one notes the birth, baptism, confirmation, and marriage of Catharina Deibler, making it an unusually comprehensive record. According to the inscriptions, Catharina was born November 13, 1820, in Lykens Township, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, to Matthias and Catharina Matter Deibler. She was baptized the following December 25 and, on May 20, 1836, was confirmed in the Lutheran church. She married Philip Moyer May 10, 1840. The artist also created a certificate for Catharina's younger sister, Anna Deibler, who was born October 4, 1829.

The artist, Karl Münch, was born in Mattenheim, a town near the Rhine in the Palatinate, and was educated at the University of Heidelberg. In 1798, he immigrated to America with his wife and at least one child. He was a schoolmaster at Schaefferstown and at Rehrersburg before moving in 1804 into the Lykens Valley in northern Dauphin County where (except briefly, about 1808) he remained for the rest of his life.

Atypically among Pennsylvania German fraktur artists, Münch drew heavily on neo-classical motifs. His floral elements also reveal a post-Enlightenment realism that contrasts sharply with the more whimsical, stylized depictions of many of his fellow school teachers and fraktur makers. His penchant for realism extended to everyday sights, as well; some of his other works incorporate credible, detailed genre scenes and architectural features.

Provenance:The piece is believed to have descended in the family of the subject's husband, Philip Moyer (1816-1889); to Miss Mary C. Boyer (1912-1983), Lykens Township, Dauphin Co., and Nottingham Village, Northumberland Co., Pa.; given to her first cousin once removed, Mary George Sowers; sold to her husband's first cousin, Jack K. Hetrick, who was AARFAM's source.
N. B. The Moyer and Boyer families are separate and distinct, not a typo of one for the other.
Inscription(s):In ink in fraktur-style lettering:

[in upper wreath]
"Catharina Deibler / Ist gebohren den 13ten November/ im Jahr 1820. In Leikens Town/ship, Dauphin County, im Staat / Pennsylvania./ Die Eltern sind:/Matthias Deibler und Catha-/rina geborne Matter. Sie wurde/den 25 ten December 1820. vom Ehr-/ wurdigen H. J. P. Schindel/ getauft. Taufzeugen waren Matthias Deibler Sen und/ Catharina, die/ Gros Eltern".

[in center wreath]
"Catharina Deibler/ Wurde denen christlichen Eltern als,/ Matthias Deibler und Catharina geborne Matter,/den 13ten November im Jahr 1820 in Leikens Township,/ Dauphin County, im Staat Pennsylvania, in/diese Welt geboren. Sie wurde durch die heil. Taufe/dem Herrn Christo und seiner Gemeine einverleibet, und vom Ehrw. Herrn J. P. Schindel den 25 ten December 1820/getauft. Die Taufzeugen waren Matth: Deibler Sen/und Catharina, die Gros Eltern".

[in lower left oval]
"Catharina Deibler/ wurde in der Lutherisch Religion/confirmirt. Von dem Erwürdigen Herrn/Joh: Peter Schindel ./den 20 ten Mai/ Im Jahr 1836".

[in lower right oval]
"Catharina Deibler/Verheurathete sich/ mit Philipp Maÿer den/10 ten Mai 1840 Ge-/traut durch/Herrn Joh: Peter Schindel:".

[along the bottom border, left]
"Verfertigt von Karl E. Münch".

[along bottom border, right]
"im Jahr 1822".

The translation reads:

[in upper wreath]
Catharina Deibler was born the 13th of November in the year 1820, in Lykens Township, Dauphin County, in the state of Pennsylvania. The parents are Matthias Deibler and Catharina, born Matter. She was baptized on the 25th of December 1820 by Pastor J. P. Schindel. The sponsors at baptism were Matthias Deibler Sr. and Catharina, the grand parents.

[In center wreath]
Catharina Deibler was born into this world to the Christian parents Matthias Deibler and Catharina, born Matter, the 13th November in the year of the Lord 1820 in Lykens Township, Dauphin County, in the state of Pennsylvania. She was incorporated into the community of the Lord Christ through holy baptism by the Honorable Mister Joh. P. Schindel the 25th of December 1820. The sponsors at baptism were Matthias Deibler Sr. and Catharina, the grand parents.

[in the lower left oval]
Catharina Deibler was confirmed into the Lutheran religion by the Honorable Mister Joh. Peter Schindel on the 20th of May in the year 1836.

[in the lower right oval]
Catharina Deibler married Philipp Mayer on May 10th 1820 by Mister Joh. Peter Schindel.

[along bottom border, left]
Completed by Karl E. Münch

[along bottom border, right]
In the year 1822.