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Exceedingly Rare 1846 Handbook to Texas for German Emigrants

With a Folding Map of Texas


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172.     EHRENKREUTZ, Baron von. Völlstandige Beschreibung des Staates Texas in historischer, politischer, geographischer und geselliger Hinsicht. Ein Handbuch für die Auswanderer nach diesem Staate, mit besonderer Berücksichtigung derjenigen, welche sich bei ihrer Auswanderung unter den Schutz des Mainzer- oder Antwerpener-Vereins zu begeben, beabsichtigen. Herausgegeben nach Privat-Mittheilungen der Herrn R. Schmitz und G. Adward, mehrjährigen Bürgern des Freistaats; der verschiedenen Vereine zum Schutze deutscher Auswanderer nach Texas und sonstigen zuverlässigen Quellen: nebst einer Spezial-Karte von Texas von B. v. Ehrenkreutz. Coblenz: Verlag von J.F. Aug. Reiff, 1846. [2], [i]-iii [1, blank], [2], 1-252 pp., folding lithograph map with original outline coloring of counties and route from the Texas coast to the German colony, which is shaded tan: Karte von Texas entworfen nach den Vermessungen welche in den Acten der General-Land-Office der Republick liegen den neuesten Reisenachrichten und dem Hanbuche für deutsche Auswanderer nach Texas, im Schutze des Mainzer Vereins von Br. v. Ehrenkreutz Coblenz bei J.F. Aug. Reiff. Lith. Anst. v. J.B. Rühl in Coblenz, neat line to neat line: 39 x 38 cm; overall sheet size: 40.3 x 43.5 cm. Small 8vo (14.5 x 9.5 cm), publisher’s original tan cloth, spine gilt lettered. Binding moderately worn, faded, and with a few stains on upper cover, light foxing and browning to text. Map neatly mounted on archival tissue and repaired at folds and along one diagonal tear (a few miniscule losses), browned along a few folds, moderate offsetting, but generally very good with strong outline coloring. Book and map are exceedingly rare. We find no copies of the book among U.S. institutional holdings, but the British Library owns a copy. No copy in the Deutschen Nationalbibliothek or the Koninklijke Bibliotheek.

     First edition of a very early German emigration guide to Texas. Sabin 22073. Not in other standard sources. The map, a photostat of which is listed by Day in the holdings of the Texas States Archives (pp. 45-46), is quite similar in title to the map included in the Society for the Protection of German Emigrants to Texas publication, Gesammelte Aktenstücke des Vereins zum Schutze deutscher Einwanderer in Texas (Mainz, 1845; Streeter 1625). The map in the 1845 publication was based on Hunt and Randel’s map 1839 map of Texas. The present map is very similar, but dimensions vary slightly and numerous updates have been made. A key with symbols locates various minerals for mining ventures. Located are Native American tribes, missions, forts, the Alamo, land grants (including Bourgeois d’Orvanne), “Wilde Herde od. Mustangs,” Cross Timbers, prairie lands, various geographical features, etc. In all, this is a well-executed map, with excellent detail and added notes on topography and wildlife. The author is attributed as the maker of the map. Author Ehrenkreutz, lithographer R.B. Rühl, and publisher J.F. Aug. Reiff are not mentioned by Tooley’s Dictionary of Mapmakers, revised edition. Rühl’s lithography included Dutch pharmaceutical cards, and the highlight of Reiff’s publishing venture seems to have been an 1850 deck of Lenormand divination cards, known as “the wicked pack of cards.”

     The guide contains a short history of Texas, including the colonization venture of Moses and Stephen F. Austin and the Texas Revolution, followed by the constitution of the Republic of Texas. Discussion of mining possibilities are fully explored, and various tribes are described, with the Comanche receiving the lion’s share of attention, undoubtedly due to their proximity to the German-Texas lands. The author sets out the usual concerns of such guides—agriculture, stock raising, wildlife (including buffalo), rivers, ports, major towns, counties, social, religious, and business life. The latter portion of the book outlines the activities and mission of the Adelsverein (Society for the Protection of German Emigrants to Texas), reprinting much of the material published the previous year in Gesammelte Aktenstücke des Vereins zum Schutze deutscher Einwanderer in Texas (Streeter 1625), with updated documents since that publication. The work concludes with instructions on how to book passage and travel to Texas. For more on the Adelsverein, see Streeter 1625 and Handbook of Texas Online: Adelsverein.

     Baron von Ehrenkreutz (ca. 1786-ca. 1866) is a somewhat mysterious person, although many know him as the German Isaac Walton for his book Das Ganze der Angelfischerei. He seems to have pursued careers as a military officer and as a writer, although he also had pretensions to a title of nobility. Ekkehard von Knorring, a truly persistent researcher, seems to have shed the most light on the Baron. For a translation from German into English of that biography, please consult our web site.


Sold. Hammer: $22,000.00; Price Realized: $26,400.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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