From New York to San Francisco

From New York to San Francisco

Travel Sketches from the Year 1869
Ernst Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, edited by Gertrud Graubart Champe, translated by Barbara Thiem
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 09/11/2017
Format: Hardback 2 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-02631-6
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Welcome to an America you’ve never seen. Where anyone can drop by the White House and visit the President between 10 a.m. and noon; where cowcatchers are bloodied daily on train tracks between New York and Boston; where spent bullets are strewn across Civil War battlefields, and Indians still roam Yosemite Valley; where pigs rut in the sand-and-clay streets of Washington, DC., and the weather-bleached skeletons of oxen and horses line the old mail roads across the West.

For three hot summer months in 1869, Ernst Mendelssohn-Barthody, the nephew of famed composer Felix Mendelssohn, traveled by train across the United States accompanied by his older cousin. His letters back home to Prussia offer fascinating glimpses of a young, rapidly growing America. Unceasingly annoyed at the Americans’ tendency to spit all the time, the Prussian aristocrats seemingly visited everyone and everywhere: meeting President Grant and Brigham Young; touring Niagara Falls, Mammoth Cave, the Redwoods, and Yosemite; taking in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Omaha, San Francisco, and the still war-ravaged city of Richmond; and crossing the continent by rail just two months after the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads had been joined at Promontory, Utah.

Full of marvelous tales and insightful observations, Ernst Mendelssohn-Barthody’s letters are a revealing window to a long-ago America.

Author Bio

BarbaraHaimbergerThiem is a performing cellist and teaches at Colorado State University. She spends the summers in Austria and Germany keeping up the tradition of gathering at Traunsee in the old family place, surrounded by immediate and more distant family members.

Gertrud Graubart Champe, PhD, is a professional translator with an interest in European cultural history.


“ Fresh, wonderful, captivating. If you love epistolary genre and the USA and if you want to understand how Americans lived immediately after the Secession War, From New York to San Francisco is the book you were waiting for.


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Table of Contents

Translator’s Note
The Letters

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