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New World View

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

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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.
Ruth I. Cape is Associate Professor of German at Austin College in Sherman, Texas. After completing graduate work in history and Latin at the Westfälische Wilhelms-University Münster in Germany and the University of Arizona in Tucson, Cape earned her PhD in Germanic Languages from the University of California, Los Angeles. She is the editor of two previous bilingual and annotated editions, Youth at War: Feldpost Letters of a German Boy to his Family, 1943-1945 (Peter Lang, 2010), and The Jews’ Mirror [Der Judenspiegel] by Johannes Pfefferkorn (Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies; series Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 2011).