John Cushman Abbott Exhibit Supplement

Duke Paul's exploration route, 1822-1824
Duke Paul's exploration route, 1822-1824.

ii. Erste Reise nach dem nördlichen Amerika ...

Erste Reise nach dem nördlichen Amerika in den Jahren 1822 bis 1824.

By Paul Wilhelm, Duke of Württemberg.
Map by L. Greenwich.
[Second edition.]
Stuttgart; Tübingen: Verlag der J. G. Cotta'schen Buchhandlung, 1835.

vi, 394, [2] pages; [1] folded leaf of plates; map (lithograph); 24 cm (8vo) -- Text in German. -- Signatures: pi² 1-24⁸ 25⁴ 26² -- Map is a black-and-white lithograph of Louisiana at a scale of approximately 1:1,700,000. -- Printed on laid paper. -- Brown leather spine and cornerpieces with marbled cover boards; gilt lettering on spine; green bookmark ribbon. -- Library catalog record.

Click here for the entire book.

Duke Paul Wilhelm's uncle was King Friedrich of Württemberg. As a member of the royal family, Duke Paul enjoyed an excellent education. The king encouraged him to pursue a military career, but he resigned his commission at the age of twenty. He had always been interested in science and exploration and wanted to pursue it further.

When Duke Paul set out on his "first journey" ("erste Reise") to the New World in 1822, he travelled under the pseudonym Baron von Hohenberg. However, his attempts at anonymity soon failed. He was 25 years old.

Duke Paul began his trip in Louisiana, in October. He had planned to go to Mexico, but political turmoil in the aftermath of the revolution changed his mind and he went to Cuba instead. He then returned to New Orleans and embarked the following March on the crowded steamer Maysville up the Mississippi River. The ship travelled up to the Ohio River confluence, and then continued up the Ohio to the Falls. Duke Paul observed and scientifically documented various animal and plant species along the way.

The young duke's original plan was to travel up the Ohio River all the way to Pittsburgh. He now realized, however, that this trip would jeopardize his opportunity to explore the Missouri River. Luckily he was able to make arrangements in Shippingport (about forty miles downriver from Pittsburgh) to get on the well-worn steamboat Cincinnati, the only ship going to St. Louis for the next six weeks.

In St. Louis, Duke Paul met Auguste and Pierre Chouteau, patriarchs of the influential fur-trading Chouteau family and founders of the city. These connections led him to secure a spot on a sail-powered Berhold, Chouteau, and Pratte fur boat for his journey up the Missouri River. Through his travels, the young duke grew progressively more comfortable around rustic characters and fell in love with exploring. He would return to the United States for several subsequent explorations, including a 1829 trip up the Missouri River to its source. He also went on expeditions on the Nile River and in Australia. The duke married Princess Sophie Dorothea Caroline von Thurn when he was thirty; they had one son. Duke Paul died of pneumonia in 1860 at the age of 63.

---Written by Mary Z. Rose

"Louisiana" from Erste Reise nach dem Nördlichen Amerika in den Jahren 1822 bis 1824.
Click image to enlarge. Click here for the entire book.

References consulted for exhibition text:

Paul Wilhelm. Travels in North America, 1822-1824. Trans. W. Robert Nitske, ed. Savoie Lottinville. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1973. (Library catalog record.)