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New World View

Letters from a German Immigrant Family in Texas (1854–1885)


Edited By Ruth Cape

New World View: Letters from a German Immigrant Family in Texas, 1854–1885 is a bilingual and annotated edition of a collection of letters written by a 19 th century German immigrant family in Texas. Christian Friedrich Bergmann and his family belonged to the large wave of German immigrants that came to Texas in the 1850s. Born in April of 1817 in Ebersbach, a small village then located in the Kingdom of Saxony, Bergmann – together with his wife Johanna Christiane Luise Bergmann and his three sons, Friedrich, Karl, and Christoph – embarked on an overseas journey to America in August of 1854; in November of 1854, they arrived in Texas. The family first resided in San Antonio before later settling on the Guadalupe River near Boerne, where Bergmann bought 320 acres of land and he and his family became farmers and ranchers, as well as active members of their community.
The Bergmann letter collection begins with a detailed description of the sea journey and the many exciting and disheartening moments experienced while at sea. Bergmann then gives deep insight into many facets of immigrant life on the Texas frontier while narrating how he and his family built a life for themselves in Texas.
This letter collection spans a period of three decades, presenting the reader with important insight into the process of German immigrant acculturation in Texas in the second half of the 19 th century. At the same time, it details the numerous challenges many immigrants faced in their attempts to adapt to American culture and succeed in the New World. The book, which includes a historical and biographical introduction, is a valuable source for scholars and students in various disciplines, but also addresses readers with a general interest in the social history of German immigration to the United States and, specifically, to Texas.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

New World view: letters from a German immigrant family in Texas (1854–1885) / edited by Ruth I. Cape

pages cm. — (New directions in German-American studies; vol. 7)

Includes correspondence in German, translated into English.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

1. Bergmann, Christian Friedrich, 1817–1888—Correspondence. 2. Bergmann, Christian Friedrich, 1817–1888—Family. 3. German Americans—Texas—Correspondence. 4. Immigrants—Texas—Correspondence. 5. Farmers—Texas—Correspondence. 6. San Antonio (Tex.)—Biography. 7. San Antonio (Tex.)—Social life and customs—19th century. 8. Guadalupe River Region (Tex.)—Biography. 9. Farm life—Texas—Guadalupe River Region—History—19th century. 10. Guadalupe River Region (Tex.)—Social life and customs—19th century. I. Cape, Ruth I. II. Title.

F395.G3B45 305.83’107648860922—dc23 2014002277

ISBN 978-1-4331-2652-9 (hardcover)

ISBN 978-1-4539-1328-4 (e-book)

ISSN 1524-7813

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