Having researched several folk art PA Dutch Bieber dower chests, I was drawn to an unusual 1780 example which was photographed in Slator’s Antique Newspaper in 1997. An important folk art designed chest whose motif Frances Lichten copied on the back binding of her famous 1946 memorable works indexing PA Dutch folk art designs. Its special significance were the Edelweiss flowers which adorned the white flat hears on both corners! Now immortalized in Oscar Hammerstein’s musical, “The Sound of Music.”
Obviously, Lichten was impressed with this folk art design and included it on the back binding of her important index showing PA Dutch creativity. Jacob and son, John Bieber, folk artists of the 18th Century, had a water powered sawmill in the Oley Hills run by the Bieber creek soon after their patriarch, Johnann Bieber immigrated here in 1744, with two other brothers. French Hugenot pioneers from Alsace, France, they settled with other Rhinelanders who spoke a Palatine German dialect in the Oley Hills which was near Lobachsville, founded by Peter Lobach in 1745, a fellow French Hugenot. Called the Alsatian Hills by their native countrymen who spoke mostly PA Dietsch, in America.
In 1776 the Bieber father and son folk artists decorated a patriotic dower chest with two large flat hearts for their Oley Valley neighbor Esther Hoch, another Hugenot.