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Birth and Baptismal Certificate for Sara Jane Durty

ca. 1835
Origin: America, Pennsylvania
Primary Support: 12 1/4 x 7 1/2in. (31.1 x 19.1cm) and Framed: 10 x 3/4in.
Watercolor and ink on wove paper
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1958.305.5
Full-length depictions of a man and woman standing in profile and facing one another, a small table or stand between them. They holds hands, and he extends to her a bouquet of flowers in his free hand. Text appears in the upper margin.
The 1 1/4-inch beveled wood frame, painted red, is a period replacement.
Label:One of the most popular formats used by Henry Young for birth certificates and on two occasions for marriage certificates was a man and woman in profile and facing each other (see acc. nos. 1978.305.1 and 1959.305.8). By 1985, forty-four examples with very similar details in the costumes and positioning of the figures in front of a table were recorded in the Museum's archives, although others undoubtedly survive. In most of these pieces the man and woman join hands above the table, which is usually topped by a wine decanter or a rimmed vessel like the one seen here and those in 1978.305.1 and 1959.305.8. The women's dresses are decorated with flowers, and the men invariably wear stylish striped vests and long trousers that were fashionable during the period. In most of Young's frakturs featuring confrontal figures, the man either offers the woman a bouquet of flowers or a glass of wine. In either case, the gestures were probably meant as symbols of familial love in the celebration of a child's birth or the couple's marriage.
Provenance:Ownership prior to Robert Carlen is undocumented.
Inscription(s):In German, the ink inscription reads: "Jungfer Sara Jane Durty, eine Tochter von Johanes Durty und seiner Ehefrau/Magdalena eine geborne Strauss ist geboren den 21ten Merz 1835 in Biewer/Taunschip Union Caunty und getauft von Pfarrer Friedrich Herrman./Die Taufzeugen waren die Eltern selbst."
The English translation reads: "Jungfer [Miss] Sara Jane Durty, a daughter of Johannes Durty and his wife Magdalena, nee Strauss, was born March 21, 1835, in Beaver Township, Union County, and baptized by Pastor Friedrich Herrmann. The baptismal sponsors were the parents themselves."