The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 80, July 1976 - April, 1977 Page: 58
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
for whom he also carefully recorded his impressions. Although Steinert and
his group came with a keen sense of anticipation and hope, and although
they found many desirable features in the new world, Steinert's reactions
were primarily negative.
After returning to his native country in December, I849, Steinert as-
sembled his notes and letters and published them in Berlin in I850
The excerpts appearing in the present and subsequent issues of the South-
western Historical Quarterly include all of Steinert's observations on Texas
except a final chapter containing primarily statistical material and a sum-
In a sense, the Steinert chapters on Texas could be called an antidote
to or a refutation of other writers who usually painted favorable and
basically unreliable accounts of the conditions in the new world. Steinert
seems to have had a special grudge against Viktor Bracht and took ex-
ception to many statements in the Bracht book.4
A translation of the Steinert work, especially the section on the German
settlements in Texas, is valuable as historical source material because there
are very few objective accounts extant and available in English translation.
Ferdinand von Roemer,5 whose book is another reliable German source,
deals to a great extent with geological evolution of land forms and the like,
while Steinert is interested above all else in the events and conditions of
everyday life. To be sure, the Roemer book is more scholarly and polished
than Steinert's, but both books are objective and have the ring of truth.
Steinert's interests are quite inclusive and relate directly to the people,
both acquaintances and strangers, and to the problems of the day. As a
teacher, he is especially aware of the inadequacies of the schools-in some
cases even of their complete absence-and he relates a number of ac-
counts pertaining to education. As an official emissary of a labor organiza-
tion, he examines and weighs the opportunities for employment and for
other means of livelihood in the new land. As a sympathizer with the ideals
3W. Steinert, Nordamerika, vorziiglich Texas im Jahre 1849 (Berlin, 1850). The en-
tire book has been translated and edited by the present author under the title of "North
America, Particularly Texas in the Year I849," and it may be published in its entirety
4Viktor Bracht, Texas im Jahre x848 (Elberfeld and Iserlohn, 1849). This book was
translated by Charles Frank Schmidt under the title Texas in 1848 (San Antonio, 1931).
Steinert's many references to this book are, of course, to the original German edition,
as the page numbers he uses will indicate.
5Ferdinand von Roemer, Texas: mit besonderer Riicksicht auf deutsche Auswanderung
und die physischen Verrhiiltnisse des Landes nach eigener Beobachtung geschildert
(Bonn, 1849). This book was translated by Oswald Mueller under the title of Texas,
With Particular Reference to German Immigration and the Physical Appearance of the
Country (San Antonio, 1935).
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 80, July 1976 - April, 1977, periodical, 1976/1977; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101204/m1/76/: accessed June 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.