When I think of family dinners growing up, dinners where other family members came to our house, I think of our dining room.

The dining room in the house I grew up in was right off the kitchen, but it was only used in special occasions, primarily for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It was the room that housed all the breakables and family momentos.

Two particular items that hung on the wall when we were older were two fruit paintings. My maternal grandma died when I was nine, and one of the many items my mom took were these two paintings. She had them reframed, and hung them on the dining room wall.


These pictures now hang by our table. One is signed “Adler” and the other “F. Adler 1853.”

It turns out, these paintings were some of the only possessions by great-great grandparents, Hermann and Dora Borchert, brought with them when they immigrated from Germany in 1885. They married in Kiel on May 27, 1885, and left for the United States the next day. Dora even used her maiden name on the passenger list.

Marriage certificate page 1

Hermann Borchert and Dora Adler’s marriage certificate (first page), which listed her parents.

My mom always knew of Dora’s dad as Fritz, but the marriage certificate lists his full name as Ernst Johann Martin Adler.

The paintings are on metal (possibly tin), and have a great level of detail.


Closeup of a painting.

Yes, that is a fly on the fruit. And yes, when I looked at this painting yesterday I thought it was an actual bug and tried to swat it away.

I haven’t been able to uncover much about the Adler family. I don’t even have a picture of Dora. But these paintings now hang in our home, a reminder of their journey and the life they left behind in Germany.


One of the paintings is signed “Adler 1853,” five years before the birth of my great-great grandmother Dora.

They are remarkable in condition and color, especially for being 165 years old, and are a pretty and unique piece of our family history.




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