Comanches and Germans on the Texas Frontier: The Ethnology of Heinrich Berghaus (Elma Dill Russell Spencer Series in the West and Southwest #42) (Hardcover)
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Winner, 2018 Presidio La Bahia Award, sponsored by the Sons of the Republic of Texas
In 1851, an article appeared in a German journal, Geographisches Jahrbuch (Geographic Yearbook), that sought to establish definitive connections, using language observations, among the Comanches, Shoshones, and Apaches. Heinrich Berghaus’s study was based on lexical data gathered by a young German settler in Texas, Emil Kriewitz, and included a groundbreaking list of Comanche words and their German translations. Berghaus also offered Kriewitz’s cultural notes on the Comanches, a discussion of the existing literature on the three tribes, and an original map of Comanche hunting grounds.
Perhaps because it was published only in German, the existence of Berghaus’s study has been all but unknown to North American scholars, even though it offers valuable insights into Native American languages, toponyms, ethnonyms, hydronyms, and cultural anthropology. It was also a significant document revealing the history of German-Comanche relations in Texas.
Daniel J. Gelo and Christopher J. Wickham now make available for the first time a reliable English translation of this important nineteenth-century document. In addition to making the article accessible to English speakers, they also place Berghaus’s work into historical context and provide detailed commentary on its value for anthropologists and historians who study German settlement in Texas.
Comanches and Germans on the Texas Frontier will make significant contributions to multiple disciplines, opening a new lens onto Native American ethnography and ethnology.
About the Author
DANIEL J. GELO is professor of anthropology, Stumberg Distinguished University Chair, and dean of the College of Liberal and Fine Arts at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He is the author of Indians of the Great Plains. CHRISTOPHER J. WICKHAM is professor of German and humanities at the University of Texas at San Antonio and the author of numerous scholarly articles.
“Gelo and Wickham provide a solid, stimulating, and important contribution to our knowledge of southern Plains Indians, German immigration to the United States, and the complexities of racial and cultural ideology during this period.” — William C. Meadows author of Kiowa Military Societies: Ethnohistory and Ritual
— William C. Meadows
“Marvelous and fascinating. Gelo and Wickham's book should not be missed by anyone interested in the cultures, languages, history, and geography of Texas. The perfect book for anyone wanting to learn about how Comanches and Germans came into contact in Central Texas during the middle of the 19th century.” — Hans C. Boas, author of The Life and Death of Texas German
— Hans C. Boas
“Gelo’s and Wickham’s fruitful collaboration confirms the usefulness of multidisciplinary analyses to study primary sources, making this work a mandatory reference for scholars of nineteenth-century Texas, the Comanches, and German migration to the United States. I also recommend this magnificent book to the cultivated general public interested in Texas history or Native American cultures.”— Southwestern Historical Quarterly
— Southwestern Historical Quarterly