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AUCTION 22

 

German Map of Texas Following the Hunt-Randel Conformation


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500.     SCHERPF, G[eorge] A. Entstehungsgeschichte und gegenwärtiger Zustand des neuen, unabhängigen, amerikanischen Staates Texas. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte, Statistik und Geographie dieses Jahrhunderts, Im Lande selbst gesammelt von G.A. Scherpf. Mit zwei Karten, von Texas, Rio Grande und dem West-Land am Stillen Ocean. Augsburg: Verlag der Matth. Rieger’schen Buchhandlung, 1841. [i-iii] iv-vi, [2], [1-3] 4-154, [2, ads] pp., 2 folding lithograph maps. 8vo (20.2 x 13.5 cm), contemporary three-quarter brown sheep over tan, red, and black marbled boards. Sheep very worn and rubbed, boards moderately stained. First few leaves lightly waterstained at upper right, light to moderate uniform foxing to text and maps. First map with tear touching neat line (no loss), second map fine. Overall a very good, complete copy. Printed book plate of the University of Wisconsin on front pastedown and old ink and pencil notes on title page, one dated 1927. No copies in auction records going back to 1978.

Maps:

Karte von Texas entworfen nach den Vermessungen, welche in den Acten der General-Land-Office der Republic liegen bis zum Jahr 1839 von Richard S. Hunt & Jesse F. Randel. Augsburg, 1841 Verlag der Math. Rieger’schen Buchhandlung Lithographirt v. G. Stempfle in Augsburg. Neat line to neat line: 40.8 x 31 cm; sheet size: 47 x 37 cm. Legends and place names in English. Reduced version of Hunt and Randel’s 1839 map of Texas. See Item 234 herein.

Karte vom Rio Grande und dem West Land am Stillen Ocean. Verlag der Math Rieger’schen Buchhandlung in Augsburg. [below neat line at lower right] Lithographirt v. G. Stempfle in Augsburg. Neat line to neat line: 21.7 x 26.9 cm; sheet size: 27 x 30.7 cm. Text on map in English and Spanish. A re-drawing on smaller scale of the inset of Hunt & Randel’s 1839 map. See Item 234 herein.

     First edition. Eberstadt, Texas 162:722. Howes S157. Raines, p. 182 (incorrectly attributing to Lawrence). Cf. Sabin 95122 (incorrectly attributing to Lawrence). Streeter 1395: “Scherpf says he writes to give information about Texas to those considering emigration to America. He gives a brief sketch of its colonization, of the events leading up to the Texas revolution, and of the military engagements of the years 1835 and 1836.” (Streeter corrects Raines’ & Sabin’s incorrect attribution, setting out the details.)

     This is one of the books that inspired German nobles to found the Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas. That organization commented on Scherpf’s book in 1845: “Of German books on Texas, the one by Scherpf is outstanding due to its thorough observations and liberal conceptions.” The author advances a generally favorable view of Texas and the prospects to be found there. Opening by briefly covering the history of Texas and colonization in the area, the author then addresses practical matters such as physical geography, crops suited to the region, and living conditions. The book concludes with a section of practical encouragements for the German emigrant going there. Ever since its publication, this has been a fundamental book on German emigration to Texas.

     Little is known about Scherpf apart from the fact that he wrote this book. However, the book’s contents seem to indicate that he lived in Texas for some time. An appendix (pp. 131-147), for example, is from A.B. Lawrence’s diary, and Scherpf refers to him as a fellow traveler from Houston to Austin in 1840. He also seems to have some personal knowledge of Texas figures, mentioning that Moses Austin was from Durham, Connecticut, and that David Crockett was “an eccentric figure from Tennessee.” The Society for the Protection of German Emigrants to Texas briefly noted in 1845 that Scherpf lived for many years in Texas and subsequently in New York. Streeter mined out a little more information on Scherpf: “Miss Marie Becker of the New-York Historical Society has called my attention to a book by Scherpf at the New York Public Library, A Story Without Fiction, but With Some Villains, and a Victim, who is the Author thereof… written and published by George A. Scherpf, New York, 1851, in which Scherpf tells an extraordinary story of his being victimized and persecuted by a fellow German, and in the process gives much information on his own life.”

     The excellent maps show, “probably for the first time, the newly laid out town of Austin on the north bank of the Colorado” (see Streeter 1348B). Scherpf chose the maps in his guide wisely, acknowledging the source for the large map of Texas as Hunt and Randel’s superb 1839 map of the Republic of Texas (see Streeter 1348 and Item 234 herein). Like most cartographers of the day, Hunt and Randel based their map on Stephen F. Austin’s pivotal map of Texas. They also used actual General Land Office surveys, thereby producing a map that was an advance on Austin’s map. In this early (perhaps first) German version, lithographer Stempfle reduced the scale of Hunt and Randel’s map while faithfully retaining the features found in their production. Among the features of note are superimposition of the new county lines over original land grants, a very early representation on a printed map of the newly established town of Austin (1839), and depiction of the contested southern boundary at both the Nueces and the Rio Grande—all of which are preserved in this version. Hunt and Randel chose to show both possible borders but hand-colored the Rio Grande as the border between the Republic of Texas and Mexico. The German edition is more neutral, simply showing the two possible borders. The other map (not in Wheat) in Scherpf’s guide delineates the Transmississippi West, Northern Mexico, and Baja California. Scherpf’s German lithographer used Hunt and Randel’s inset map to create this map, and here it is presented at approximately the same size as found in Hunt and Randel.

($6,000-12,000)

Sold. Hammer: $6,000.00; Price Realized: $7,200.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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