BAEGERT, Jacob (1717-1772)
Nachrichten von der Americanischen Halbinsel Californien
Mannheim: Churfurstl. Hof-und Academie-Buchdruckerey, 1773. 12mo. ,358pp. Two engraved plates, folding map.
Contemporary patterned paper boards, expertly rebacked and recornered to style, preserving original leather label
Rare, early account of Lower California by a German Jesuit.
Second issue with some corrections, after the first printing of the previous year. Baegert lived in Baja California for a period of seventeen years (1751-68) and spent most of his time at the Mission of San Luis Gonzaga, leaving after the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1767. He provides some important details on the culture of the Indians of Baja California, including the Pericues, Guiacuras, and Cochiemes. Wagner states that the German Jesuits were especially dissatisfied toward the end of the Jesuit regime in California, and Baegert's bitterness is evident in his book: "...it was a land full of ferocious beasts and even more ferocious Indians, the soil was poor, the water undrinkable and there was no fuel to be had." The fine and important map was made by the fellow Jesuit Ferdinand Consak, and is described by Streeter as "most helpful in giving the location of the many Jesuit missions in Lower California. It also shows the route along the west coast of Mexico followed by Baegert in going to California in 1751 and his route out in 1768, after the expulsion of the Jesuits." The top right corner of the territory (present day Arizona) is labeled, rather ominously, "Los Apaches Barbari." The excellent plates, which were apparently not issued with all copies, depict male and female California Indians. The NUC locates only three copies of this second issue. A prime early account of Baja California, with an important map and plates of the region.
Howes B29; Hill, p.12; Cowan, p.27; Sabin 4363; Bell B5; Streeter Sale 2442; Barrett 129; Wagner, Spanish Southwest 157; Meadows, Baja California 1; Graff 137; Pilling, Proof Sheets 203.