engraving Schacht bei Neu Orleans am 8. January 1815
“Schlacht bei Neu Orleans am 8. Januar 1815.”
accession 1959.160.9

 

Perhaps due in part to John Law’s campaign to engage them to settle Louisiana for the Company of the Indies, German-speaking people of Europe were familiar with Louisiana as a sort of exotic possibility (or, in many cases, a necessity) from the beginning. Over the centuries, German views of Louisiana and New Orleans have portrayed life in the region as utilitarian, curious, exotic, and even utopian.

Early examples from THNOC’s materials concerning this subject are a German-language broadside advertising the endeavors of the Company of the Indies, and a German plan of the City of New Orleans from 1764. In the mid-nineteenth century, Henry Lewis, the American consul at Düsseldorf, produced a series of color lithographs romantically illustrating life along the entire length of the Mississippi, and included them in a book, which he also wrote, entitled The Valley of the Mississippi Illustrated (Das Illustrirte Mississippithal). The intended audience of the book was potential German emigrants, for whom the book was translated into German. The English original has since been lost, and the English language version in THNOC’s library is in fact a translation of the original German translation. Also, our visual holdings include a number of the prints for the book. These images helped whet the imagination of many Germans considering seeking their fortunes in America.

In the German Study File, there are a number of contemporary examples of official correspondence between representatives of communities in Louisiana with their counterparts in Germany. These reveal something about a modern German perception of Louisiana communities made up of the descendants of German emigrants.

The German conception of Louisiana and New Orleans is a compelling area of interest, but there are limited resources within THNOC’s holdings that speak to this theme. More well documented in our collections is how the Germans of Louisiana and New Orleans viewed their adopted region, and, for that matter, country. Certainly the rapid assimilation of immigrants to the American identity is a well-known characteristic of American history. The existence and persistence of so many German institutions, publications, and cultural elements in New Orleans, however, allows one to speak of a German community identity that remained (remains), over generations, despite assimilation. Our collections include some of the many German-language newspapers of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as well as numerous translations into German of English-language publications. These documents reveal much about the unique lens through which the Germans of New Orleans saw their world.

Materials on this page are divided into the following categories:
Manuscript resources
Visual resources
Library resources

 

Manuscripts Holdings

Letters of John D. Fieber, 1862–1864. Acc. No. 93-57-L. 7 Items. German language Civil War correspondence of John D. Fieber, soldier in the 87th Illinois Volunteers. The letters, written to Fieber’s parents and siblings, discuss camp conditions, troop movement, and health, and ask questions about life back home. German transliterations and English translations completed by Daniel Hammer.

Black soldiers in Louisiana collection, 1863–67. MSS 260. 308 items. Correspondence, quartermaster’s reports, general orders, and other documents comprise this collection of material on black troops in the Union army in Louisiana during and immediately after the Civil War. Among the items in the collection are two verse broadsides entitled “The Second Louisiana. May 27th, 1863,” in English and German, written by George H. Boker, commemorating the action of the largely black 1st Regiment of Louisiana Engineers during the siege of Port Hudson. The poem praises the valor of the black soldiers and their desire to be free and admonishes other soldiers not to scorn or mistreat them. Boker was a well-known American poet and important voice of the Republican cause during the Civil War. After the war he became a diplomat and served as ambassador to Turkey and, later, Russia. Married to a woman from Washington named Julia Mandeville Riggs. Source of German translation unknown.

Louis Alfred Wiltz Scrapbooks, 1873–81. 84-115-L. 2 items. Scrapbook 1873–79 includes clippings, correspondence and manuscript articles written for The German Gazette" concerning Louis Alfred Wiltz. Scrapbook 1879–81 contains clippings concerning Wiltz.

Von Meysenbug-Lyons Family Papers. 81-40-L. 502 items. File contains scrapbooks, autograph books, biographies, carnival programs, correspondence, photographs, clippings, and sheet music from 1859–83. The von Meysenbugs came to New Orleans from Germany, and Ernest von Meysenbug was German consul in New Orleans.

Meysenbug-DeBuys Papers, 1917–1919. 87-5-L. 76 items. Correspondence file on the Von Meysenbug case and on the DeBuys family of N.O. The letters describe the attempts of Mrs. Von Meysenbug’s son-in-law to get her passage to America after war broke out in Europe. Ernest Von Meysenbug had been German consul in N. O. Guest Register of Bennett and Edith Augustin. 90-35-L. 1 volume. Visitors from France, Germany, England, Spain, and Japan recorded their impressions of New Orleans in the guest register of Bennett and Edith Augustin. Comments reflect fascination with jazz, food, hospitality, and the French Quarter.

Faust Family Papers. MSS 479. 41 items. The Faust Family Collection contains 41 items from 1848 to 1923 concerning the lives of this family of German immigrants, through photographs, citizenship papers, birth certificates, bills of sale, and a journal of French songs. Among the Faust family correspondents were William F. Johnson, George Welsman, and the City Engineer’s Office of New Orleans. Arrangement: chronological.

Tägliche Deutsche Zeitung.
Newspaper Microfilm. Aug. 1849–Apr. 1907

Das Echo von New Orleans.
Newspaper Microfilm. May 1870–Sept. 1870

Neue Deutsche Zeitung.
Newspaper Microfilm. Jun. 1907–Apr. 1909

Louisiana Staats Zeitung.
Newspaper Microfilm. Jul. 1850–Jun. 1895; Nov. 1861–Dec. 1865

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Visual Materials

Novissima Tabula Regiones. Acc. No. 1978.211.1. Map of North America from 1720. A separately printed text accompanied the map, entitled Geographische Beschreibung der Provinz Louisiana/in Canada/von dem Fluss St. Lorenz bis an den Ausfluss des Flusses Mississippi (“Geographic Description of the Province of Louisiana/ In Canada/ From the St. Lawrence River to the Effluence of the Mississippi River”). Acc. no. 1978.211.2.

Grundriss von Neu-Orleans. Engraved map with watercolor by Jacques Nicolas Bellin. German version of a French map showing the Vieux Carré with buildings, published between 1764 and 1769. Acc. No. 1951.52; 1951.53.

“Freistaat von Nordamerica.” 1824. Anonymous lithograph and watercolor map of North America from near Mexico City to lower Canada; the Louisiana Purchase territory is clearly shown along with the Northwest Territory extending into Canada; cities and states are identified, written in German. Acc. No. 1999.52.4

Schlacht Bei Neu Orleans am 8 Januar 1812 (Battle of New Orleans on 8 January 1815). Print from woodcut. R. O. Eirton (?) (engraver). Between 1851 and 1860. View of battle with German inscription. British troops attacking US line in the distance. Officers on horseback. US flag flies over smoky field. Ships are in the far left. Acc. No. 1959.160.9.

Einnahme von Neu-Orleans (Capture of New Orleans). Ca. 1862. Print from woodcut with watercolor. G. N. Renner & Co. (publisher). German battle scene showing the North capturing New Orleans in 1862 during the Civil War. Includes a creative description of the battle and of New Orleans as the second most important city in the United States following New York. Acc. No. 1952.20.

Cotton Plantation/Eine Baumwoll-Pflanzung. 1857. Color lithograph print. Henry Lewis (Painter). Jnst. Arnz & Co. (lithographer). Scene of the cotton industry, showing cotton being picked and put into large baskets by slaves while an overseer looks on; plantation house in the distance with a ship anchored along the shore of the Mississippi River south of Vicksburg, Mississippi; palm tree and other vegetation in foreground. Illustration from book by Lewis, the American consul at Düsseldorf, planned as a kind of superior emigrants guide for Germans coming to the United States. Acc. No. 1953.16.

Steamboat Wooding at Night. 1857. Color lithograph print. Henry Lewis (Painter). Jnst. Arnz & Co. (lithographer). Scene showing the steamboat Grand Turk moored for the night on the Mississippi River, near a small hut in the woods. Illustration from book by Lewis, American consul at Düsseldorf, planned as a kind of superior emigrants guide for Germans coming to the United States. Acc. No. 1953.17.

Convent du Sacrament. 1857. Color lithograph print. Henry Lewis (Painter). Jnst. Arnz & Co. (lithographer). Scene showing the sinking of the steamboat Brilliant with the steamboat US Mail John Randolph standing by; foreground shows a rowboat with several men; school and Convent of the Sacred Heart in background along the Mississippi River; located a short distance below Baton Rouge. Illustration from book by Lewis, American consul at Düsseldorf, planned as a kind of superior emigrants guide for Germans coming to the United States. Acc. No. 1953.18; 1971.33.

Bayon Sacra (Luisiana). 1857. Color lithograph print. Henry Lewis (Painter). Jnst. Arnz & Co. (lithographer). Bayou Sacra (Sarah?) scene showing seven men on a flatboat in the Mississippi River, some singing, one playing the violin, while the others are dancing; town buildings visible in background; tree with Spanish moss in foreground. Illustration from book by Lewis, American consul at Düsseldorf, planned as a kind of superior emigrants guide for Germans coming to the United States. Ass. No. 1953.19.

Mündung des Red River. 1857. Color lithograph print. Henry Lewis (Painter). Jnst. Arnz & Co. (lithographer). Scene showing the mouth of the Red River. Illustration from book by Lewis, American consul Düsseldorf, planned as a kind of superior emigrants guide for Germans coming to the United States. Acc. No. 1956.52.

Baton Rouge (Louisiana). 1857. Color lithograph print. Henry Lewis (Painter). Jnst. Arnz & Co. (lithographer). Scene showing the Mississippi River at Baton Rouge. Illustration from book by Lewis, American consul at Düsseldorf, planned as a kind of superior emigrants guide for Germans coming to the United States. Acc. No. 1956.53.

Der Posten des Steuermanns. 1857. Color lithograph print. Henry Lewis (Painter). Jnst. Arnz & Co. (lithographer). View of Pilot Town and the pilot's watchtower at the Southwest Pass of the Mississippi River; sailing ships can be seen; a large palm tree dominates the foreground; Lewis’s painting is probably based upon an on-site sketch by Charles Rogers. Illustration from book by Lewis, American consul at Düsseldorf, planned as a kind of superior emigrants guide for Germans coming to the United States. Acc. No. 1956.55.

Die Mündung des Mississippi. 1857. Color lithograph print. Henry Lewis (Painter). Jnst. Arnz & Co. (lithographer). Scene showing ships at the mouth of the Mississippi River. Illustration from book by Lewis, American consul Düsseldorf, planned as a kind of superior emigrants guide for Germans coming to the United States. Acc. No. 1956.56.

Die Balize an der Mündung des Mississippi. Color lithograph print. Herzog Paul Von Württemburg (Painter). König. Lithographie Anstalt (Lithographers). Scene showing the Balize on the mouth of the Mississippi. Acc. No. 1974.25.30.122.

Souvenir de la Nouvelle Orleans. Print. Louis Schwarz. Frankfurt am Main. Ass. No. 1953.105.

Am Kai (Levee) in New-Orleans/German port scene of New Orleans. Anonymous print from engraving. Between 1841 and 1850. With boats, showing city view with the St. Charles Hotel, St. Louis Hotel, and St. Patrick’s Church in the background; from the art collection of the Biographical Institute in Hildebraun. Ass. No. 1958.24; 1959.180; 1971.93; 1976.136; 1951.66

Der Landungsplatz für Dampfboote in New-Orleans (The Steamboat Landing in New Orleans). Print. Scene showing the unloading of steamboats docked at New Orleans. Acc. No. 1981.94.

Dampfboote R.E. Lee, auf welchem das 71. New Yorker Regiment während des Aufenthalts in New Orleans einquartiert war. (The Steamship R.E. Lee, upon which the 71st New York Regiment was quartered during its tour in New Orleans.) Print from “Frank Leslies illustrierte Zeitung” (“Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper”). Acc. No. 1997.52.2.

Photograph of title page of a 1720s German pamphlet describing Louisiana. Anonymous photoprint. Between 1950 and 1973. Acc. No. 1974.25.28.5.

Die Englische Deutsche Zeitung. Anonymous Photograph of masthead from September 1854. N.d. Acc. No. 1974.25.28.62.

Die Tägliche Deutsche Zeitung. Anonymous photograph of masthead and page of German paper from April 1887. N.d. Acc. No. 1974.25.28.90.

Ansicht des Hafens von New-Orleans. Wood engraving showing the riverfront harbor of New Orleans in 1860. 1980.230.

Hand-colored German map of Louisiana, 1814. Showing Louisiana Territory from Gulf of Mexico to Canada, naming rivers, Indian tribes, and settlements. 1978.87

Die Staaten von Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama. Hand-colored, printed map from Meyers Zeitungs-Atlas. 1850. Includes inset showing detail of New Orleans area, from Red Church, LA, to below Woodville. 2000.89

Charte von der Mündung des Mississippi. Im Verlag des Landes Indust. Compt. Weimar, 1803. Hand-colored, printed map showing "Luisiana" and "West-Florida," their settlements and bodies of water. 1979.367

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Library Holdings

Jordan, E. L. America: glorious and chaotic land; “Charles Sealsfield discovers the young United States. An account of our post-Revolutionary ancestors by a contemporary. Translated and adapted from the German original with introductions, notes, and an account of Sealsfield's life.” Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1969. 22 cm. LC: PS3560.O72/A8 1969

Jobé, Joseph. Extended travels in romantic America. “Being a 19th century journey through the most picturesque portions of North America, reconstructed from accounts by European visitors; the whole embellished with watercolour drawings and engravings of the period. Chosen and displayed by Joseph Jobé. The passages from the French, German and Italian languages translated by D. B. Tubbs. Lausanne: Edita, 1966. 29 cm. LC: E165/.J7

Lewis, Henry. The valley of the Mississippi illustrated. Translated from the German by A. Hermina Poatgieter. Edited with an introduction and notes by Bertha L. Heilbron. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society, [1967]. 26 cm. LC: F353/.L6723

Sealsfield, Charles. Life in the New world, or, Sketches of American society. Translated from the German by Gustavus C. Hebbe and James Mackay. New York: J. Winchester, 1844. 23 cm. LC: *PT2516.S4/L32

Nolte, Vincent Otto. The memoirs of Vincent Nolte; reminiscences in the period of Anthony Adverse; or, Fifty years in both hemispheres. Translated from the German; introduction by Burton Rascoe. New York: G. H. Watt, 1934. 21 cm. LC: CT275.N687/A3 1934

Nolte, Vincent Otto. Fifty years in both hemispheres; or, Reminiscences of the life of a former merchant, by Vincent Nolte, late of New Orleans. Translated from the German. New York: Redfield, 1854. 19 cm. LC: CT275.N687/A3 1934

Dielitz, Theodor. Travellers’ adventures in all countries: “Abridged from the best writers for young persons/by Theodore Dielitz; translated from the German, by a lady; with illustrations on stone.” Philadelphia: W. P. Hazard, 1856.
18 cm. LC: G463.D5 1856

Oehler, Andrew. The life, adventures, and unparalleled sufferings of Andrew Oehler, containing an account of his travels through France, Italy, the East and West Indies, and part of the United States; his imprisonment in France, Germany and Spain: and the latitude, soil, climate, productions, manners and customs of the different countries. Written by himself. Trenton, [NJ]: D. Fenton, 1811. LC: *E164.O35 1811

Geschichte des Americanischen Kriegs von 1812, vom Anfang bis zum endlichen Schluss desselben, an dem glorreichen Achten Januar, 1815, vor Neu-Orleans. Reading, PA: Johann Ritter und Comp., 1817. 273 pp. *E355.G44 1817

Von Holst, Hermann. Die Administration Andrew Jackson in ihrer Bedeutung für die Entwicklung der der Demokratie in den Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika. Düsseldorf, 1874. Pamphlet. 2001-108-RL

Von Reizenstein, Ludwig. Die Geheimnisse von New Orleans. 1854?–55. *PT 3919 .R38/G4 1854

Von Reizenstein, Ludwig. Die Geheimnisse von New Orleans: Roman, 2004. 2005.0171.10

Sternberg, Joanna Lynn. Peter Schmidt: Making a German Mark in Southern Antebellum Portraiture.  Master’s thesis University of Kansas, 2004. 2005.0266

Dobson, Eugene. The reception of the plays of Tennessee Williams in Germany. 1967. 2002-95-RL.60

Das Illustrirte Mississippithal: Jnst. Arnz & Co., 1854. 1971.16

Gerstäcker, Friedrich. The wanderings and fortunes of some German emigrants. Translated by David Black. New York: D. Appleton, 1848. 19 cm. LC: PT1885.G7/W3 1848

Gerstäcker’s Louisiana: Fiction and Travel Sketches from Antebellum Times through Reconstruction. Edited and translated by Irene S. Di Maio. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2006. Acc. No. 2006.0389.8.

Von Hesse-Wartegg, Ernst. Travels on the Lower Mississippi, 1879–1880. A Memoir. Translated by Frederic Trautmann. 1990. F354 .H5813 1990

Reise Sr. Hoheit des Herzogs Bernhard zu Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach durch Nord-Amerika in den Jahren 1825 und 1826. 1828. *E165.B52

Neue Entdeckung vieler sehr grossen Landschafften in America zwischen Neu-Mexico und dem Eyss-Meer gelegen. 1699. *F352 .H77 1699. (German translation of Father Louis Hennepin’s original French Nouvelle découverte d’un très grand pays situé dans l'Amérique).

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