Winterthur Museum Acquires One of the Earliest Known American Depictions of the Easter Bunny

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artwork:  This drawing is an example of a Pennsylvania German tradition of decorated manuscripts known as fraktur. Courtesy of the Winterthur Museum.


WINTERTHUR, DE
– Winterthur Museum recently acquired one of the earliest known American depictions of the Easter Bunny, which was sold at Pook & Pook auction house in Downingtown , Pennsylvania . Together with the Christmas tree, the custom of the Easter rabbit and colored eggs was brought to America by immigrants from southwestern Germany in the 1700s, and has become a favorite American tradition. This delightful image is attributed to schoolmaster Johann Conrad Gilbert (1734–1812), who emigrated from Germany in 1757 and ultimately settled in Berks County , Pennsylvania . He likely made the drawing as a gift for one of his students. A similar drawing, also attributed to Gilbert, is in the collection of Colonial Williamsburg.