Heinrich Lichtenstein. Beitrag zur ornithologischen Fauna von Californien nebst Bemerkungen über die Artkennzeichen der Pelicane und über einige Vögel von den Sandwich-Inseln
The majestic white Pelican and other Pacific birds caught the attention of zoologists and explorers like Martin Heinrich Karl Lichtenstein (b. 1780 Hamburg, d. 1857 at sea). Lichtenstein was named the Director of the Berlin Zoological Museum in 1713 and later became the Director of the Berlin Zoological Gardens, which were created at his initiative. This volume offers an introduction to the birds of California and the Sandwich Islands, the name given by Captain James Cook to the Hawaiian Islands.
Paul Alexander. Kalifornien: nach eigenen Beobachtungen und Erfahrungen: unter Benutzung der besten Quellen
California drew many German immigrants to its coast during and long after the Gold Rush. One such man, Paul Alexander, recounted his experiences and offered his views on California and its peoples in print. This volume of helpful information for prospective travelers and immigrants appeared in a series of handbooks pitched to Germans for one mark per volume. Earlier volumes included guides to Wisconsin, Argentina, and Canada, and an introduction to the English language. The Pacific coast was the new frontier. Accordingly, Alexander’s account of California was followed with a book on Oregon. The volume was small enough for a traveler to carry on his person.
Georg Heinrich Langsdorff. Bemerkungen auf einer Reise um die Welt in den Jahren 1803 bis 1807
Frankfurt am Main: 1812
This sketch portrays San Francisco as it was seen by Georg Heinrich Langsdorff and his Russian traveling companions in 1806. As the inscription beside the picture notes, San Francisco was still a Spanish settlement at that time. Their visit paved the way for an increased Russian presence along the California coast in following years.
Jakob Baegert. Nachrichten von der Amerikanischen Halbinsel Californien: mit einem zweyfachen Anhang falscher Nachrichten
Jakob Baegert (b. 1717 Schlettstadt, d. 1772 Neustadt) was a Jesuit missionary in Baja California from 1749 until the Spanish king expelled the Jesuits in 1767. He spent eight months in a Spanish prison before he was able to return to Germany. While working as a priest and teacher at the Jesuit College in Neustadt, Baegert wrote an account of his experiences in California, including ethnographic and linguistic information about its indigenous population. This is a copy of the second edition of the work (the first appeared in 1771). The text was subsequently printed in English and Spanish, and it remains an important source of information for the early history of California. This page features a translation of the Lord’s Prayer from the Guaycura language into German.
Ignacio Tirsch. Scenes of Baja California
There are few personal records about the Jesuit Ignacio Tirsch (b. in Böhmen in 1733). He served as a missionary in Baja California until the expulsion of 1767, and was imprisoned in Spain before he escaped to Belgium in 1769, where his traces disappear. Yet Tirsch left the most vivid images of eighteenth-century Baja California, depicting its varied landscape, diverse inhabitants, and colorful fauna and flora, including marvelous creatures like the sketch of ‘a strange fish’ on display.
These six faithful modern renderings, in watercolor, of Tirsch’s beautiful oil paintings are by the artist Joanne Haskell Crosby and were completed in 1993-1994. Her interests and depictions of Baja California connect her work to that of her husband Harry W. Crosby, the well-known La Jolla-based photographer and author.
Eusebio Kino. Tabula Californiae, anno 1702
San Francisco: c. 1925
Eusebius Kino (or Kühn; b. 1644 in Welschtirol, d. 1711) was a famous Jesuit who established many missions across what is now California, Southern Arizona, and Sonora, Mexico. Kino’s detailed reports and cartographical sketches of California provided Europeans with precious information about an otherwise largely unknown part of the world. He went on a daring overland expedition from Sonora to California to confirm that Baja California was a peninsula rather than an island. An expert in mathematics and cartography, Kino produced the first accurate European maps of the state. This is a copy of his 1702 map of California, which clearly outlines the Baja peninsula.