The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 100, July 1996 - April, 1997

Book Reviews

and geology. Moreover, he writes in an entertaining manner that shines through
the 1935 translation of Roemer's 1849 German publication.
Asked by Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels to investigate the mineral resources
of Texas and make a map, Roemer nevertheless was critical of Mainzer Verein's
failure to sustain the unfortunate first colonists as had been promised. Once in
Texas himself, he understood the unexpected problems faced by the colonial
venture in terms of climate, distance, and the U.S. war with Mexico, but, charac-
teristically German, he felt that the company should have anticipated difficulties
and reacted more quickly.
Arriving by steamboat from New Orleans, the twenty-eight-year-old scientist
landed at Galveston, visited Houston, San Felipe, Columbus, and Gonzales on
his way to New Braunfels. He visited the Germans whenever possible but ob-
served all that was going on. A visit to San Antonio allowed him to observe Mexi-
can culture before traveling on to LaGrange, Rutersville, Bastrop, and Austin,
always meeting with local leaders. He journeyed into northern Texas to the up-
per reaches of the Brazos and spoke with the Indian traders. Toward the end of
his journey, Roemer visited the old ruins at San Saba and met with Comanches
in company with John O. Meusebach (the baron's name when he became a citi-
zen of Texas in 1845), the second leader of the German colonists, and Maj.
Robert S. Neighbors, the Indian agent.
The 1983 reprint by the German-Texan Heritage Society added an index to
the 1935 translation, which is included in this reprint, and the 1983 edition also
furnished Roemer's map of Texas, which, unfortunately, is not in this offering.
Nevertheless, it is nice to see the volume reprinted and readily available
Houston MARGARET SWETT HENSON
The Diary of Hermann Seele and Seele's Sketches from Texas: Pioneer, Civic and Cultural
Leader, German-Texan Writer. By Hermann Seele. Translation, Introduction,
and Notes by Theodore Gish. (Austin: German-Texan Heritage Society,
1995. Pp. xxviii+476. Acknowledgments, introduction, notes on the transla-
tion and editing, sketches, bibliography, index. ISBN 0-94479-06-9, $27.50,
cloth.)
Anyone familiar with the Germans in Central Texas is likely to have come
across the name of Hermann Seele (1823-1902). Yet few know much more than
bare facts about Seele as community leader, educator, and singer. Even a master-
ful edition in 1979 of many Seele writings translated by Edward C. Breitenkamp
did little to attract attention to Seele as a writer. This edition of the diaries, how-
ever, may put Seele on the map as a writer whose texts are as important as the
paintings of Carl G. von Iwonski, Herman Lungkwitz, and Friedrich Richard
Petri.
The young Seele was, as these entries from the mid-184os reveal, a gentle, pi-
ous, devout, temperate, loyal-and loquacious-spirit. In over 400 pages Gish
translates this "young Werther's" record of his spiritual perambulations, his ro-
mantic sentiments, and his essential goodness of outlook. Gish's notes are as

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 100, July 1996 - April, 1997. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101218/. Accessed September 17, 2014.