Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Journey to Texas, 1833

Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Journey to Texas, 1833

Article excerpt

Journey to Texas, 1833. By Detlef Dunt. Translated by Anders Saustrup. Edited by James C. Kearney and Geir Bentzen. (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2015. Pp. [vi], 182. $29.95, ISBN 978-0-292-74021-1.)

In 1834 Detlef Dunt published his observations of his journey and time spent in North America and Texas. He intended for the book to help guide those Germans who would make their way to Texas. For over 160 years the book remained in Dunt's native German language. Scholars researching the German immigration story had to make their way through this work relying on their own German language skills. This important work will finally reach a broader audience with this excellent translation into English by Anders Saustrup. Readers can further benefit from James C. Kearney and Geir Bentzen's wonderful editing and additional analysis found alongside this translation.

Scholars of early German immigration to Texas consider Dunt's Journey to Texas, 1833 a seminal work. It is important in that it almost immediately followed the 1832 letter written by Friedrich Ernst, whom many consider the father of German migration to central Texas. Ernst's letter about his new home and life in Industry, Texas, kicked off the large wave of chain migration to this area.

Whereas a letter can only capture a small portion of one's life and surroundings, an entire travelogue covers more ground; that is what Dunt's writing did for those reading his work in the mid-1830s. His writings for us today are valuable in that he described Texas on the eve of independence and captured a world that was about to undergo drastic change. …

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