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The Three Most Important Tracts on German Emigration to Colonial America -- with the Rare Map of Pennsylvania and West Jersey.

[PENNSYLVANIA]. PASTORIUS, Francis Daniel. Umstandige Geographische Beschreibung Der zu allerletzt erfundenen Provintz Pensylvaniae, In denen End-Grantzen Americae In der West-Welt gelegen... Frankfurt & Leipzig: Andreas Otto, 1700. [12], 140 pages. FIRST EDITION. Howes P115; Sabin 59028; Vail 287.

[Bound with:] THOMAS, Gabriel. Continuatio der Beschreibung der Landschafft Pensylvaniae an denen End-Grantzen Americae...Beschrieben von Gabriel Thomas 15. Jahrigen Imwohner dieses Landes... Frankfurt and Leipzig: Andreas Otto, 1702. 8o. [4], 40, [6] pages. FIRST GERMAN EDITION, translated from the English edition of 16981. Howes T167; Sabin 95394.

[Bound with:] FALKNERN, Daniel. Curieuse Nachricht Von Pensylvania in Norden America... Frankfurt and Liepzig: Andreas Otto, 1702. 8o. Gothic and roman types. [6], 58 pages. Howes F12 ("most influential promotion tract for German emigration"); Pilling 1266; Sabin 23739.

FIRST EDITIONS. Together 3 works in one. 8vo. Contemporary full calf, spine five compartments, gilt-lettered label in the second.

A fine sammelband of three popular and influential tracts aimed at the encouragement of German emigration

Pastorius's Geographical Description of Pennsylvania.

An important set of early works on German emigration, beginning with Daniel Patorius's Geographical Description of Pennsylvania, published in 1700.

Nebenzahl describes the 3 tracts as follow:

. . . These are the three most important tracts on German emigration to colonial America. They were written to serve as promotional literature for the Frankfurt Land Company, the proprietors of Germantown.

Pastorius had founded Germantown when he was sent by a group of Frankfurt Quakers in 1683, to buy land in Pennsylvania. He was a Lutheran who allied himself with the Quakers and became first mayor of the German settlement. The author was one of the most learned men in the colonies and the Umstandige Geographische is his most important book.

Falckner was a member of an eccentric pietist group that settled near the Quakers. He later became an agent for the Frankfurt Land Company, and translated the Thomas account, calling it a continuation of Pastorius, and wrote his own Curieuse Nachricht. Vail credits his book as the one which "did more than any other to stimulate the great German emigration to Pennsylvania."

We have once had the first three tracts bound with a fourth tract on the Carolinas, written by the Lutheran Minister Joshua Kocherthal.  The title translates as "Detailed and Comprehensive Report on the Famous Landscape of Carolina."  The work is described in the John Carter Brown Library catalog as follows:

Second edition also printed by George Heinrich Oehrling in Frankfurt am Main in 1709.  R.W.G. Vail in his work The voice of the old frontier claims that the first edition was printed under title "Erster Anhang aus Richard Blome, englischen America", and was extracted and translated from "The British empire in America" by Nathaniel Crouch (who wrote under the initials R.B.), first printed London, 1685.

Frankfurt Land Company

The Frankfurt Land Company was a German land company composed of Lutheran Pietists who hoped to locate in Pennsylvania.  The company agent, Francis Daniel Pastorius, arrived in Philadelphia on August 20, 1683, and  was helpful to the Krefeld party which arrived at Philadelphia on October 6, 1683.  On October  25, 1683, the 13 family heads of the Krefeld group met in the dugout home of Pastorius and drew lots for their respective parcels of land. 

Pastorius quickly integrated himself into the local German community and Penn's local government.   As the Company agent, he was responsible for the company's 15,000 acre tract of land.  He served as Justice of the Peace and a member of the General Assemble in 1687.

Practically none of the Frankfurt Land Company ever settled in Pennsylvania. The Company is remembered principally because of the good services of Pastorius, their agent, in behalf of the Krefelders, some of whom became the charter members of the first permanent Mennonite settlement and congregation in America.

Pastorius's legacy in America includes procuring the survey of the Germantown Tract by Thomas Holmes in 1683, and depicted on Holmes' map of about 1687.   He taught school and held a number of other positions in government before his death in 1719.

Pastorius is also known to have co-authored the first anti-slavery tract published in British North America.


The three tracts are very rare on the market.

Condition Description
Illegible ink stamp and institutional shelfmark on the title. Paper ownership label of the Russian Hydrological Depot on title verso.
Goebel, Deutsch-amerikanische Geschichtsblätter ...: Vierteljahrsschrift, Volumes 12-13, p 181.