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October 26, 2007

Fredericksburg at Fifty

220. PENNIGER, Robert [G.] (editor). Fest-Ausgabe zum 50-jährigen Jubiläum der Gründung der stadt Friedrichsburg. Eine kurzgefasste Entwickelungs-Geschichte der vom Mainzer Adelsverein gegründeten deutschen Kolonien in Texas, nebst Chronik der Stadt Friedrichsburg. Mit Illustrationen. Fredericksburg: Verlag von Robert Penniger, n.d. [1896]. 210 [9, ads] pp., 16 photographic plates (some with two images per plate), folding chart showing assessed value of Gillespie County from 1849 to 1890, some text illustrations (mostly in ads). 8vo (20.7 x 14.2 cm), original red cloth over pale olive green boards printed in red and black. Fragile binding lightly shaken, water stain on lower board, hinges cracked (but holding), endpapers browned, interior very fine.

            First edition of “a highly interesting sketch of a phase of Texas history which is practically unknown in Anglo-American circles” (Rudolph Kleberg, Jr. in “The Communistic Colony of Bettina,” Southwestern Historical Quarterly Online, Volume 3, p. 33). CBC 1921. Eberstadt 163:521: “There is a wealth of material on its origin, early days, Indian relations, etc. The editor published a local weekly German paper.” Vandale 130. This history of Fredericksburg and Gillespie County published on its fifty-year anniversary includes the first German expeditions to Fredericksburg; Mainzer Adelsverein; Meusebach and the Comanche; captivities; Mormon colony (not in Flake); lynch laws; Civil War; social and civil activities; leading citizens; and so forth. Among the photographic plates is one of the spectacular granite pluton Enchanted Rock. Handbook of Texas Online: Robert G. Penniger:

Robert G. Penniger (1864-1930), newspaper editor and publisher, son of Heinrich and Albertine (Kaesdorf) Penniger, was born in Burgbei, Germany, on July 30, 1864. He studied forestry and worked as a printer’s apprentice before coming to Texas. He arrived at Galveston in the mid-1880s and worked on a farm for a few months before joining the Neu Braunfelser Zeitung. He became a compositor for the Fredericksburg Wochenblatt in 1888.... Penniger worked as a bookkeeper and solicitor for the Freie Presse für Texas before buying the Wochenblatt in 1890. Through the Wochenblatt he advocated progressive local projects, such as the building of highways and of a railroad, paving Main Street in Fredericksburg, and quarrying granite on Bear Mountain. In 1896, for Fredericksburg’s fiftieth anniversary celebration, he published a book in German, Fest-Ausgabe zum fuenfzigjaehrigen Jubilaeum der deutschen Kolonie Friedrichsburg, a history of the town’s first half century. He was a cofounder of the Fredericksburg Publishing Company, which acquired the English-language Fredericksburg Standard in 1915, and published it and the Wochenblatt until 1920.

During World War I a number of Fredericksburg residents repudiated Penniger’s editorial position as pro-German. In 1920 he sold the Fredericksburg Publishing Company and bought the Freie Presse für Texas in San Antonio. In 1925 he merged two papers from Hallettsville and La Grange with the Freie Presse, which he changed from a weekly to a semiweekly publication and edited until his death. He died on July 14, 1930, and was buried in San Antonio.

The ads, some of which are pictorial, include M. Halff & Bros., Pearl Beer (with bird’s-eye view of the brewery in San Antonio), Lone Star Brewing Company (with Texas lone star topped by American Eagle), Nimitz Hotel, Charles Schreiner, and Buckhorn Saloon. ($200-400)

Sold. Hammer: $200.00; Price Realized: $235.00

Auction 21 Abstracts

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