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Unger-Bassler Frakturschriften Collection

Identifier: MS 029


A component of the larger German-American Imprint Collection, this collection contains fine examples of hand-executed and printed Geburt und taufscheins (birth and baptismal certificates), trauscheins (marriage certificates), vorschrifts (writing examples), haus segens (house blessings), bucherzeichen (bookplates), and drawings created by Pennsylvania Germans in the Eastern Pennsylvania, New York, and Maryland region dating from the late -18th to late-19th centuries.


  • 1762-1891,
  • Majority of material found within c.1820-1878


Restrictions on Access

Access unrestricted.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Photocopying may be restricted by condition..

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Publication may be restricted by copyright. except by permission of copyright holder..

Biographical / Historical

Claude W. Unger was born January 5, 1882 in West Brunswick Township, Schuylkill County. Unger was an active paleobotanist, antiquarian and scholar, serving as librarian and later president of the Historical Society of Schuylkill County. He was a member of the Pennsylvania German Society where he co-authored "Folk-Medicine of the Pennsylvania Germans, Non-Occult Cures" with Thomas Brendle. He died July 5, 1945.---Harvey Bassler was born April 21, 1883 in Myerstown, PA. He was a graduate of Albright College, Lehigh University and Johns Hopkins University where he earned a PhD. in geology in 1913. He served on the faculty of Albright College 1908-1910, and as a geologist with the US Geological Survey, 1911-1920 and Standard Oil, 1920-1932. Bassler was actively interested in historical and natural history topics and was a member, or served on many boards, of Historical and Natural history societies. He was an avid collector of antiquarian material. Bassler died in an automobile accident on March 14, 1950.


2.5 Linear feet ( 6.5 boxes (approximately 525 items))

Language of Materials



Collection: Organized by type of fraktur: Haus segens, Geburts und Taufscheins, Trauscheins, Vorschifts, etc. The collection is housed in four flat file boxes and two manuscript boxes.


Items: Individual items listed in alpha/numeric order derived from notations located on the verso of the items. It is conjectured that these numbers were assigned during the processing the Unger-Bassler materials in the early 1950's. No key to the alpha-numeric designations or other listings have been located.

Ownership and Custodial History

This material was acquired, as part of a much larger collection, by Harvey Bassler of Myerstown, PA in 1946 from the estate of antiquarian manuscript and book dealer and antique collector Claude W. Unger of Pottstown, PA. At Franklin and Marshall's invitation, Mr. Bassler deposited the material in the college library for storage and research purposes between 1947 and 1950 when Bassler died. In 1954-1955, Bassler's entire collection was given to F & M by the Pennsylvania German Society (to whom Bassler had "willed" his collection in 1947) This collection probably contains additional material acquired by/from the PA-Dutch Folklore Center and Dr. Alfred L. Shoemaker, Professor of Folklore at Franklin and Marshall College. Portions of the collection not pertaining to Pennsylvania-German culture and Lancaster County were given by the library in 1958-1967 to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Additional materials in the form of family and Church records were given by the library in 1976 to the Evangelical and Reformed Historical Society (ERHS) located at the Lancaster Theological Seminary.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Source of acquisition--Pennsylvania German Society. Address--Norristown, PA. Method of acquisition--Gift; Date of acquisition--1954-1955..

Alternate Form Available

Also available in digital format at:

Related Archival Materials

[Collections of]: Custodian--Historical Society of Pennsylvania: Address--Philadelphia, PA, Country--USA..

Related Archival Materials

[Genealogical and Church Records]: Custodian--Evangelical and Reformed Historical Society, Philip Schaff Library: Address--Lancaster Theological Seminary, Lancaster, PA, Country--USA..

Publications About Described Materials

Earnest, Corinne and Beverly R. Hoch. "German-American Family Records in the Fraktur edition: Volume II, The Franklin and Marshall College Collection." Damascus, MD: Vintage Press, 1993.

Publications About Described Materials

Faill, Carol E. "Fraktur: a Selective Guide to the Franklin and Marshall Fraktur Collection" Lancaster, PA: Franklin and Marshall College, 1987.

Processing Information

Processing completed March 1988.

Description rules
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Franklin and Marshall College Special Collections Repository

PO Box 3003
Lancaster PA 17604 United States