Highly detailed illustrated historical, color pictorial map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, with a focus on its Colonial history and Pennsylvania Dutch cultural heritage. ("Dutch" is an Anglicization of "Deutsch," which refers to the German immigrants who began arriving in the late 17th century and concluded in the late 18th. They spoke a unique dialect that was widely in use in that region of Pennsylvania until the mid 20th century.) The cartography shows roads, railroads, rivers, streams, and towns, centered on Berks County, with portions of Lancaster County and Lebanon County, and small slices of Schuylkill, Lehigh and Chester Counties. A focal point is Berks County's largest city, Reading, and the Schuylkill River, which runs through it. The map is packed with pictures captioned with descriptions, representing historic buildings, sites, important people and events. These relate to the area's long and rich history: its early European settlers, the American Revolution, the development of the railroads, and the churches and other institutions founded through the late 19th century. The map is decorated with a cartouche embellished with a typically Pennsylvania Dutch decorative design and a compass rose.
In the corners are square illustrations of designs, which are explained above the cartouche: "The title and border of the map incorporate motifs used to decorate many of the 'Taufscheins.'" A Taufschein is a birth or baptismal certificate, and a form of illuminated manuscript folk art practiced mainly between 1740 and 1860 by the Pennsylvania Dutch, and Berks County was the center of Taufschein production.
Ralph Dunkelberger was a Pennsylvania artist and illustrator, known for landscape paintings and wall murals. Born in Reading, Pennsylvania, he studied at the Pennsylvania School of Industrial Art. He was an illustrator for Harper's Weekly's serial Ben Hur, by Lewis Wallace. His works are in the collections of the Earth and Mineral Sciences Museum, The State Museum of Pennsylvania, and the Historical Society of Berks County, which exhibited his paintings in a show on animal art in 2012.
Raymond W. Albright was an historian and author of several books between the 1933 and 1964 that focused on 19th-century American history, including a history of Berks County, church histories of the Episcopal and Evangelical churches and Focus on Infinity: A Life of Phillips Brooks, still considered the standard modern biography of this Gilded Age Episcopal preacher. Albright was William Reed Huntington Professor of Church History at Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, from 1952 to 1965.
Condition: Generally very good with the usual overall light toning, handling wear. Few short marginal tears repaired verso with filmoplast.
"Ralph Dunkelberger." AskArt.com. http://www.askart.com/artist/Ralph_D_Dunkelberger/114113/Ralph_D_Dunkelberger.aspx (27 August 2015).
"Pennsylvania Dutch Taufschein Preservation Community: About." Facebook. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pennsylvania-Dutch-Taufschein-Preservation/111987422173677?sk=info&tab=page_info (27 August 2015).