American Treasures of the Library of Congress: Memory, Exhibit Object Focus

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The Paths to Heaven
and Hell

Das neue Jerusalem
Pennsylvania German
Das neue Jerusalem
Fraktur woodcut with watercolor,
19th century
Prints & Photographs Division
LC-USZ62-58622, LC-USZC4-4570

The term "fraktur" refers to manuscripts and printed folk art produced by the largely German and Swiss-born residents of Pennsylvania and Ohio. Fraktur took the form of baptismal or wedding certificates, memorial remembrances, academic rewards, illuminated alphabets, mottoes, hymns, as well as biblical excerpts and served to preserve the language, culture, and customs of the people of such enclaves as Bethlehem, Ephrata, Easton, and Lancaster.

This woodcut depicts the diverse paths toward heaven and hell and good and evil, in an effort to warn and instruct members of the community.

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