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Texas, California, the Southwest U.S., Mexico & the Borderlands:
Interesting books, broadsides, maps & ephemera

Lot 69

First monograph on Texas Geology, by the father of texas geology

69. ROEMER, Ferdinand von. Die Kreiderbildungen von Texas und ihre Organischen Einschlüsse. Bonn: Adolph Marcus, 1852. vi, [2], 100 pp., 11 lithographic plates of Texas fossils by C. Hohe. Folio, original printed boards (rebacked in cloth). Fragile boards browned and rubbed, some foxing and staining to text, overall a very good copy of a rare Texas book, unopened.

     First edition of the first treatise on Texas geology, by the first scientist to conduct a geological examination of the state. Howes R406. Sabin 72591. Roemer (1818-1891) gives a thorough account of the chalk formations of Texas and describes typical fossils of the Tertiary and Paleozoic. Each formation is catalogued with a description of its external features, location, and additional notes. The excellent plates by C. Hohe and the Bonn lithographic firm of Henry & Cohen, illustrate in a very precise manner the most typical formations.

     “When Prince Carl wrote the Berlin Academy of Sciences to request the aid of a competent young geologist to make a survey of Texas—because he had been told that great silver mines existed on the Adelsverein land—the Academy recommended twenty- eight year old Ferdinand Roemer, who had received his Ph.D. in geology in Berlin in 1842 and had spent the next few months studying the geology of the mountainous country along the Rhine. His book on the subject two years later caught the attention of the Academy, and the great explorer, scientist, and diplomat Alexander von Humboldt provided a letter of introduction for the young scientist, who, ‘like a book, needs only to be opened to yield good answers to all questions.’ Roemer easily stood out from the crowd when he arrived in Texas in November, 1845. A young professor, who, according to Mrs. Houstoun, had no teeth, constantly chewed on a cigar, was fond of cognac, was a poor rider, and whose neglect of personal hygiene was apparent even in Texas society, he, nevertheless, kept everyone amused with his ‘researches amongst the mud of the Texan rivers and his diggings after geological specimens....’ Armed with credentials from the Academy and anxious to see the new land, Roemer crisscrossed the state for more than seventeen months, exploring as far north as Glen Rose and as far west as Fredericksburg. He visited Torrey's Trading Post near Waco and accompanied Baron von Meusebach and Robert S. Neighbors on their treaty-making expedition to the Comanches, but his primary task was to study the geology of the region, which he undertook with enthusiasm and dedication. Working virtually without maps, reliable geological information, or colleagues with whom he could discuss his theories, Roemer covered an area of approximately 20,000 square miles.Upon his return to Germany in 1847, young Roemer finished two books at the Royal Academy of Science in Berlin, one a travel narrative in 1849 that ranks among the most accurate and candid of the accounts of Texas, the other his scientific contribution in 1852, which was the first detailed study of Texas geology. He also produced one of the most reliable maps of Texas up to that time.” (Ron Tyler, unpublished manuscript, Texas Lithographs of the Nineteenth Century).


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