An Illustrated Expedition of North America

In 1832 naturalist Prince Alexander Philipp Maximilian (1782-1867), ruler of the small state of Neuwied, Prussia [now in Germany], conducted one of the earliest expeditions to the American West to record the natural history of the region. Accompanying him were Swiss-born artist Karl Bodmer, who produced numerous drawings illustrating their travels, and David Dreidoppel, Maximilian's servant and a skilled hunter-taxidermist. Although Maximilian and Bodmer were not the first to explore the American West and record their observations, they were the first team combining a trained, dedicated scientist with an especially skilled illustrator, whose collaboration resulted in a work of unique historical, scientific, and aesthetic importance.

Researchers are fortunate that Special Collections owns a German edition of Maximilian's narrative of the two-year expedition, Reise in das innere Nord-America in den jahren 1832 bis 1834 (Travels in the Interior of North America 1832 to 1834). This account was published in Paris by subscription from 1839-41 and was accompanied by a map of the travel route and by an atlas of eighty-one black and white etchings engraved by Bodmer. Today, there are fewer than twenty known editions of Maximilian's work in the United States.

Map to Illustrate the Route of Prince Maximilian of Wied in the Interior of North America from Boston to the Upper Missouri in 1832, 33 & 34.