BODMER, Karl (1809-1893)
View of Mauch-Chunk (Pennsylvania)
[Vig. 5] [Leipzig: Schmidt and Guenther, 1922]. Aquatint engraving by Weber after Bodmer. Sheet size: 12 3/4 x 16 inches. Plate mark: 9 x 12 inches.
From the scarce Leipzig edition printed from the original copper-plates. Limited in number, the prints from the Leipzig edition are more scarce than, and compare favorably to, the first edition. (David C. Hunt, "Karl Bodmer and the American Frontier," Imprint/Spring 85, p.18)
Bodmer and Prince Maximilian had left Dreidoppel to prepare and pack zoological specimens in Bethlehem, and on the evening of 30 August 1832 arrived at Mauch Chunk. The following morning they set out to explore in the company of some friends, visiting scenes of interest. The present view shows the colliery, situated about nine miles from the town: in the mid-ground is the dock where the anthracite coal is being loaded onto boats for transportation. An ingenious system of railed trucks connects the site of the mining with the dock itself. A scene of inustry that has not yet overwhelmed its environment. Karl Bodmer's images show great versatility and technical virtuosity and give us a uniquely accomplished and detailed picture of a previously little understood (and soon to vanish) way of life. Swiss-born Bodmer was engaged by Prince Maximilian zu Wied-Neuwied (1782-1867) specifically to provide a record of his travels in North America, principally among the Plains Indians. In the company of David Dreidoppel (Prince Maximilian's servant and hunting companion), their travels in North America were to last from 1832 to 1834. They arrived in Boston in July 1832, traveled on to Philadelphia, where they stayed with Napoleon Bonaparte's elder brother Joseph. From here they headed west across Pennsylvania across the Alleghenies to Pittsburgh and the Ohio country, visiting all the important German settlements en route. Their most important stop on their route west was at the utopian colony of New Harmony in Indiana. The Prince spent five months there in the company of some of the country's leading scientific men, and studying all the relevant literature on backcountry America. On 24 March 1833 the party reached St. Louis, Missouri, and the start of the journey into Indian country.
David C. Hunt, "Karl Bodmer and the American Frontier," Imprint/Spring 1985, p.18. Cf.Graff 4648; cf. Howes M443a; cf. Pilling 2521; cf. Sabin 47014; cf. Wagner-Camp 76:1.