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This is the so-called "St Michael's Letter" version of the Himmelsbrief broadside (heaven-sent letter of protection supposed to have been written by God Himself). The original was said to have been written in golden letters. This extremely rare edition is written in black Fraktur letters. Multiple copies have been found in Waterloo County, suggesting that it may have been printed here. What makes this particular example unique is that it has holes in the corners, indicating that it originally had been tacked to a wall or piece of furniture. Obviously it was frequently handled, but it is miraculous that it has survived such heavy use. It has a number of holes and tears which previous generations of owners taped. Most of the tape has recently been removed professionally but there is some tape remaining which reinforces the outer edges of the paper.
Evidently the hand-colored angel featured on the broadside represents the angel who hand-delivered this letter from God to St. Michael. These broadsides were universally popular among Pennsylvania Germans in the nineteenth century. They encapsulated the Pennsylvania German religious worldview; encouraged the righteous to keep on the "narrow way" that leads to salvation; warned sinners that following the "broad way" leads to destruction; and served as blanket insurance coverage from fire, flood and pestilence. For a translation of the St. Michael's Letter version of the Himmelsbrief broadside go to the following url: http://libwww.freelibrary.org/fraktur/detail.cfm?ItemID=frk00274 Height: 17" Width: 13 3/4".
We are always interested in purchasing quality, antique, Pennsylvania German folk art, particularly if it has a Canadian connection.