We recently completing the cleaning and rehousing of a German textile ledger book inscribed, "Leipzig 1855." It contains within page after page of stunning fiber samples--from raw cotton and flax, to satin and trim, to braided straw, coral beads, and even rubber--and plenty of text in High German script.
Here is what we know for certain. This Muster-Karte, or "Pattern Card" was rebound in the 20th century. Together with the heavy patterns of use, this suggests the book was valuable to someone over a span of time. Despite sending photos of the writing to several German-speaking friends, no one has been able to decipher the handwriting enough to answer two basic questions: Who made the book and for what purpose?
To take a crack at decoding the Leipzig swatch book, look through the slideshow above. We'd love to hear from you if think you can add to this fascinating story!