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Home > Blog > April 2013 > What to Say While Fastening the Garland to the Gable

The Borneman Pennsylvania German Collection at the Free Library of Philadelphia is very fortunate to have a very small manuscript, Borneman Ms. 99, about 4" x 3 "  in size, entitled Zimmerspruch beÿm Aufstecken des Straußes or What to Say While Fastening the Garland to the Gable.  It was most likely put together by a master carpenter for a topping out ceremony.  Whoever it was mentions on the last page that he wrote it in haste on September 10, 1787.

A topping out ceremony is a tradition in the building trade that goes back many hundreds of years, and is still much celebrated in the 21st century on both sides of the Atlantic.  When the outer structure and roof of a building have been put into place by a group of skilled carpenters, it is time for the building owner, his neighbors and friends, the master builder, and the construction team to celebrate the event... Click here for the whole article.


Photo Collage Credits L to R
1    L Free Library of Philadelphia
2 UR Reit- und Fahrverein Grumbach-Wilsdruff
3 LR Landeskirchliche Gemeinschaft Marienberg

Please be sure to visit our Facebook gallery for more images of Borneman Ms. 99.

Transcriptions/Translations by Del-Louise Moyer

Tags: Pennsylvania German Collection, Rare Book Department, digital collections

BMs 99 Topping Out Ceremony Photo Collage  Courtesy L - Free Library of Philadelphia, UR - Reit- und Fahrverein Grumbach-Wilsdruff, LR - Landeskirchliche Gemeinschaft Marienberg
BMs 99 Topping Out Ceremony Photo Collage Courtesy L - Free Library of Philadelphia, UR - Reit- und Fahrverein Grumbach-Wilsdruff, LR - Landeskirchliche Gemeinschaft Marienberg
BMs 99 Written 10 September 1787  Courtesy Free Library of Philadelphia
BMs 99 Written 10 September 1787 Courtesy Free Library of Philadelphia
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National Endowment for the Humanities
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