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Stock# 63002

An Extremely Rare German Emigrant Guide to California, Oregon, Texas, Iowa and the Midwest -- Especially So With All Maps & Plans

Second extended German edition, adding the view of St. Louis and with the often missing maps of Iowa and the United States.  3 parts in one volume, with an engraved portrait, 4 engraved plates, 1 lithograph overview, 3 colored lithographed maps and text figures.

As noted by Wagner-Camp (155):

Bruno Schmolder traveled overland from Missouri to California in 1843, where he stayed for a while with John A. Sutter, and apparently worked out a scheme for the colonization of New Helvetia with German or Swiss immigrants. Schmolder returned to Germany in 1846 or early 1847, and prepared and published his book just before the announcement of the discovery of gold [in California].

The Soliday Catalogue description (Part B, #1262, 1945) notes:

Schmolder's work is one of the rarest [and most important early works] on the west, not only because of its factual information but because of its vast bibliographic appeal in as much as it relates to most all the states lying south of the Missouri and west of the Mississippi. Buck No. 442 fails to locate a complete copy, citing the title from Sabin and stating that "The Library of Congress has the first part, and the 'Anhang' to the second part." The Biblioteca Geographia, Leipzig, 1857, gives 1849 as the date of the First Edition. This copy has been carefully collated with copies in two of the largest private collections in America, from which the conclusion must be drawn that the three maps and plates (including the St. Louis view) must appear in any complete copy. Sabin refers to an 1848 edition, but none has ever been found and, moreover, the citation above from Biblioteca Geographia (published only 8 years after Schmolder's book appeared) would seem to refute Sabin.

Schmolder went overland to California in 1845, where he joined with Sutter and formed a partnership for the colonization of the region. He remained two years in the territory, returning to Germany in 1847. . . The work describes the journey to California and Oregon, the route, the prospective trading tation at San Francisco, and the establishment of a communal settlement at Sacramento.

Captain Bruno Schmolder was a territorial agent who lived and traveled for many years in the West and the Midwest.   His guidebook was intended to attract immigrants to the Middle and Far West.  The three parts cover:

  • Part 1: California and Oregon.
  • Part 2:  Missouri Wisconsin Illinois Michigan Indians Ohio Arkansas Texas and Iowa.
  • Part 3:  Iowa.

The engraved plates include:

  • Captain Johann August Sutter
  • Port of San Francisco (California)
  • Emigrants and Buffalos at Plate River
  • Plan of Suttersville (California)
  • View of St. Louis.

The maps include:

  • Texas, Oregon, Upper California, Transmississippi West and Mexico (large inset of San Francisco Harbor)
  • United States
  • Topographical Map of Iowa. 


We have located only 2 complete examples of the book at auction in the past 70 years Soliday (1945-$450.00) and the Streeter copy (1968-$2,250).

The present example is the even rarer second enhanced German edition, with Iowa map, etc. published two years after the first. 

Condition Description
3 parts in 1 volume Mainz Le Roux 1849 (Frankfurt Lizinus 1851 only first part). With a sting. Portr. 4 steel engraved plates lithographed plan and 3 (color) folded. lithographed maps and text figures. 4 p. 120 p. 2 p. 152 p. 1 2 p. 106 p. Contemporary cloth with gilded title (slightly rubbed and bumped on the left front edge)
Streeter 3154; Cowan I p 208 (vol 1); Howes S172-S174; Kurutz 562b; Sabin 77695-77697; Wagner-Camp 155:2.