Southern Methodist University

Rudolph Leopold Biesele papers

A Guide


Creator: Biesele, Rudolph Leopold
Title: Rudolph Leopold Biesele papers
Dates: 1820-1959
Abstract: Rudolph Leopold Biesele served as a faculty member in the History Department at the University of Texas from 1931-1957. He also taught at Corsicana and Waco High Schools (1910-1924), the University of Alabama (1929), and Louisiana Polytechnic Institute (1930). Biesele is known for his book, The History of German Settlements in Texas 1831-1861 (1930). His papers are arranged in five series: written works (1929-1952), correspondence (1926-1959), research (1820-1952), student work (1933-1940), and maps and photographs (1910-1956).
Accession No: MSS 103
Extent: (6 linear feet)
Language: Material is in English and German.
Repository DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University

Biographical Note

Rudolph L. Biesele was born January 29, 1886 in York's Creek, Texas and died in Austin on January 4th, 1960. A full-time history professor at the University of Texas at Austin, with a passion for his German heritage, he devoted most of his life to the research and writing of early German settlements in Texas.

In his youth, Biesele was educated in Guadalupe County public schools. He received his teaching certificate from Southwest Texas State Normal School (now Southwest Texas State University) in 1905. He then attended the University of Texas (UT) in Austin where he received a B.A. (1909) and M.A. (1910) in German. Biesele taught German and Civics at Corsicana High School, and history at Waco High School, before moving to Austin in 1924. At UT Austin he earned a PhD in History (1928); the subject of his dissertation was The History of the German Settlements in Texas 1831-1861. In 1929 the University of Alabama hired him to teach Latin American History; he returned to UT Austin History Department in 1930 as a temporary substitute for C.W. Hackett. Later in that year Biesele moved once more, and became chairman of the Department of History and Social Science at Louisiana Polytechnical Institute. He returned to Austin in 1931 where he remained for the rest of this life. His initial appointment at UT Austin was as an associate professor in the history department; after ten years, he was made a professor in 1941 and retired as professor emeritus in 1957.

Biesele's The History of German Settlements in Texas 1831-1861 (1930) is a definitive publication on the subject, built on years of extensive research, correspondence, and contextualization. He was invited to publish for journals such as the Handbook of Texas and to speak locally at graduations and meetings, and for events such as anniversary celebrations for New Braunfels and Seguin. As a professor, he supervised over 100 master's theses, some of which he saved, proving true the opinion that Biesele was whole-heartedly devoted to his students. From 1937-1957, Biesele served as associate editor of the Southwestern Historical Quarterly, and was on the editorial board of the Journal of Southern History from 1943-1946. He was affiliated with several associations, including the Southwest Social Science Association, the Texas State Teachers Association, and was an executive council member of the Texas State Historical Association.

Biesele garnered a New Braunfels Lodge of the Order of Sons of Hermann's educational award, the Hermannssöhne Stipendium, to support his studies in German literature, then later received a fellowship for the study of History in 1926. In 1969, the New Braunfels Conservation Society awarded him a posthumous plaque of appreciation. Biesele married Anna Emma Jahn September 3, 1910, and fathered four children with her. He was devoted to the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Austin, of which he was a founding member, served as an elder, and taught Sunday School classes. He died in Austin, January 4, 1960.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Literary works including research material, speeches and publications, correspondence and student work that includes photographs, maps, and drawings (1820 - 1956) created or collected by Biesele, evidence of his employment in the history department of the University of Texas and the research and publication of his book, The History of German Settlements in Texas 1831-1861 (1931). The collection is divided into five series.

The first series, written works (1929-1952), contains four subseries: articles and publications, speeches, reviews and translations, and materials directly related to the book The History of German Settlements in Texas 1831-1861.

The second series contains correspondence from 1926-1959.

The third series, research (1820-1952), contains five subseries: research (1820-1952), primary resources, secondary resources, people, county, and early German-Texan settlers.

The fourth series contains student work from 1933-1940. The fifth series contains maps and photographs from 1910-1956.

Biesele's records are contained in three document boxes and three note-card boxes. The bulk of the material is research compiled and contextualized by the creator on the subject of German-Texan immigrants in the mid-1800s for his book, The History of German Settlements in Texas 1831-1861. Austin (1930). Also included are his written works, speeches, translations, and reviews created from the research in the collection. Correspondence, both personal and professional, is largely composed of inquiries and responses on German immigration. Several of the maps are mass-produced, however the maps pertaining to Central Texas are much more rare.

Arrangement of the Collection

The arrangement is generally chronological within series, although many items are undated. Teaching files are arranged chronologically by year and semester, ordered Spring, Summer, Fall (as named by The University of Texas at Austin). Topical groupings are arranged alphabetically. Photographic materials are included within sub-series. When noted, some folders contain documents in German. No language note indicates the folder is completely in English. Boxes 4-7 contain note cards and are housed in smaller boxes.
The collection is organized into 5 series:
Series 1: Written works, 1929-1952
Series 2: Correspondence, 1926-1959
Series 3: Research materials, 1820-1952
Series 4: Student work, 1933-1940
Series 5: Maps and photographs, 1910-1956


Access to Collection:

Collection is open for research use.

Publication Rights:

Permission to publish materials must be obtained from the Director of the DeGolyer Library.

Copyright Statement:

It is the responsibility of the user to obtain copyright authorization.

Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following terms in the Southern Methodist University Libraries' online catalog. Researchers desiring related materials may search the catalog using these terms.
Biesele, Rudolph Leopold.
University of Texas. Dept. of History -- Faculty.
Historians -- Texas.
German Americans -- Texas -- History.
Texas -- History.

Related Materials

Biesele, Rudolph Leopold, 1886-1960. The history of the German settlements in Texas, 1831-1861. Austin, Tex.: Press of Von Boeckmann-Jones co. 1930. F395.G3 B47

Rudolph L. Biesele papers. Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Rudolph Leopold Biesele papers, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University.

Acquisition Information

Purchase, 2010.

Processed by

Michael Laird and Mary Beth Windham, 2010. Finding aid written by Michael Laird, 2010.

Finding aid revised and encoded by

Cynthia Franco, 2011.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Written works, 1929-1952
3 boxes

This series includes records created for publication, research, and speeches, transcripts, reviews, and information directly related to his published book The History of German Settlements in Texas. Because the bulk of his publications are undated, they are arranged alphabetically by title, with final copies, drafts, and notes kept in original order. Speeches are arranged by date given. Research notes are included with drafts to maintain original order. Documents written in German are noted.
1 Publications
1-3 The Beginnings of the Texas German Press: notes and drafts
4 Bonita, Texas
5 Die deutschen Pionier-Ansliedlungen in Texas (German) (1936)
6 Drei deutsche Ansiedlungen am Llano (German)
7 Early German Emigration to Texas (Dec. 1936)
8 Early Times in New Braunfels and Comal County
9 Die fruhesten Bewohner von Friedrichsburg, Texas [First Settlers in Fredericksburg] (German) with notes.
10 The First German Settlement in Texas [Industry, TX]
11 The First Settlers of New Braunfels
12 The German Ideal of a German American State
13-14 Germans in Texas
15 The German Settlers in the Politics of Texas before the Civil War
16 Zur Geschichte der deutschen Pioniers in Texas [the History of German Pioneers...] (German) (Oct 26, 1931)
17 The German Settlements in the Lower Brazos, Colorado, and Guadalupe Rivers...1831-1861 (Chapter 3)
18 History of German Settlements in Texas from 1831-1861 (German, English)
19 History of Art in Texas
20 The Meusebach-Commanche Treaty
21 Neu Braunfels: Die Neue Heimat (German)
22 Die erster Ansiedler von Neu Braunfels (German)
23 The San Saba Colonization Company
24 Prince Solm's Trip to Texas 1844-1845
25 Prominent Persons & Picturesque Places in the German Colonization of Texas [typescript]
26 Texas Attracts German Settlers
27 Texas Frontier Moves to Llano
28 The Texas State Convention of Germans in 1854
29 “The Fisher Miller Land Grant”, [typed draft which later appeared in the Handbook of Texas]
30 “Citizenship” read in Jonesboro, LA (Feb 23, 1931)
31 “The German Pioneers of Texas” read at Austin High School (April 24, 1936)
32 The Contribution of German Settlers Building Up Austin County read at Cat Springs Centennial (June 7, 1936)
33 “Early German Emigration to Texas” read at Town and Gown Club (March, 1937)
34 “The Contribution of New Braunfels and Comal County to the History of Texas” read at New Braunfels Centennial (Oct 24, 1937)
35 “Seguin and its Centennial” read at Seguin Centennial (1938)
36 “Some Objectives of German Colonization in Texas” read at Fortnightly Club (Feb 3, 1938)
37 “The Pioneering Activities of the German Settlers of Texas” read at unveiling of German Pioneers Monument (Aug 21, 1938)
38 “Cultivated Mind and Future Society” read at Pflugerville High School (May 30, 1941)
39 Speech read at Texas Exes meeting (March 2, 1943)
40 Speech read at Willman Family Reunion (1945)
41 The Twenty-fifth Anniversary of the Founding of New Braunfels (July 1, 1952)
Reviews and translations
42 Ervendberg, Louis Cachand (Pastor). “A Clergyman's Letter about...Texas in 1849”
43 Norton, Lewis W. et al. “A Social and Political History of Texas” (1932)
44 “Dr. Ferdinand Roemer's Account of the Llano-San Saba Country” (translation by RLB)
44B Warren, Harris Gaylord. “The Sword Was Their Passport…” (1943)
44C Ziegler, Jesse A. “Wave of the Gulf” (1938)
Directly Related to The History of German Settlements
4 Names in Biesele's “the History of German Settlements...” [on notecards]
Box Folder
1 46 Maps for “the History of German Settlements...” (original drawings) 1929
47 Reviews of “the History of German Settlements...” (1933)
48 Reviews of “the History of German Settlements...” (1930)
49 Review of speech in Cat Spring Newspaper, Austin County, TX (July 12, 1936)
50 Book Reviews, research notes, correspondence related to “the History of German Settlements...” (contains photographs) (1930)
51 Accounting notes and Statements related to “the History of German Settlements...” (1930-1942)
52 Record of Transactions Related to “The History of German Settlements...”
53 Accounts for Univ. of Texas Grant Project 43 “The Background of German Colonization in Texas” (1932-1936)
54 Accounts for Univ. of Texas Grant Project 43 “The Background of German...” 1933-1944
55 Application for Univ. of Texas Grant Project 43 “The Background of German...” 1933-1935
56 Accounting Notes and Statement Correspondence (1930-1942)
57 Correspondence with Albert Schutz, Book agent. (1930-1931)
5 Notecards
German background
Interest in the German colonization in Texas
The German Settlements on the Lower Brazos, Colorado, and Guadalupe Rivers
The Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas: Its Organization and Its Acquisition of Two Colonization Contracts
Colonization Preparations Made by the Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas
New Braunfels: Its Founding and Its Early History
Fredericksburg, Castell, Leiningen, Schoenburg and Bettina
Sisterdale, Boerne, Comfort, and other German Settlements in West Texas
The Relations Between the German Settlers and the Indians
The German Settlers in politics
Economic and Social Life Among the German Settlements
Book Requests

Series 2: Correspondence, 1926-1959
1 box

Records created in the course of the Biesele's personal, professional, and research activities. Certain recipients are separated and some dates overlap to maintain original order.
Box Folder
1 57 1926 – 1928 Dissertation Correspondence (inquiries and responses)
58 1926 – 1929 Dissertation Correspondence
59 1932 with Winkler, R.W. (Library of Congress)
60 1932
61 1930 – 1958
62 1932 – 1959
63 1936
64 1936 – 1938
65 1938 – 1947 with Geiser, S.W. (Southern Methodist University)
66 1946 New Braunfels Centennial
67 Libraries and Librarians
Box Folder
3 25 Duplicate material: transcriptions of Jean Jacques von Coll correspondence

Series 3: Research materials, 1820-1952
4 boxes

General research materials acquired by the creator throughout career for publications, speeches, and other writings including The History of German Settlements in Texas... Sub-series are divided into primary and secondary resources, people's names, county names, general information pertaining to early German-Texan settlers and to his published book, contextualized by the creator. Original order was maintained where possible. The series is arranged alphabetically by creator or contributor's name, except for sub-series C5 in which original order was completely preserved.
2 Primary resources : letter, publications, and accounts
1 Bee, Hamilton P. “Expedition to the Comanche Territory from Houston” (1843)
2 Buchel, August (Col.) Eulogy delivered by Lieut. Gov. Stockdale (May 1865)
3 Constant, Louis letter on German-Texan politics (Oct 18, 1865)
4 Eve, John correspondence to J.J. Crittenden (Sept 16, 1842) and John Tyler (Oct 1842)
5 General Land Office records, Immigrant Contracts
6 Original correspondence notes (1850)
7 German Emigration Company correspondence and notes (1848, 1865)
8 German Emigration Company Bill for the Relief of the Texian Creditors (Feb 4, 1831)
9 Germans in Texas political convention of 1854 (San Antonio and Louisville Platforms)
10 Houston, Sam (Gen.) letter (April 28, 1837)
11 Kapp, Ernst “Briefe aus der Comalstadt” (1850)
12 Klaener, D.H. Letters and pertinent excerpts from Weser Zeitung (1846)
13 Kirchenbuch: Cat Spring, TX register (1839)
14 Mainzer Zeitung on German Pioneers (1844)
15 New Braunfels' Early Colonists' letters, Roeder and Hunt (1842)
16 New Braunfels and German Politics [undated]
Box Folder
3 20-21 New Braunfels Zeitung notes on Slavery, etc.
Box Folder
2 17 The San Saba Company Constitution (May 9, 1839)
18 Schmidt, Friedrich letter to his son (1847) [German]
19 Frankfurter Journal article on status and treatment of German-Texan Immigrants (1844) [German]
20 Unpublished Letters on German Immigration Pt 1 of 2 (1844-1845) [German]
21 Unpublished Letters on German Immigration Pt 2 of 2 (1846-1874) [German]
Secondary Sources
22 Altgelt, Emma. “Beobachtungen und Erinnerungen” (1930) [German]
23 Register of the William G. Bartel Papers
24 Bopp, Marie-Joseph. “Die elsassische Auswanderung nach Texas” from Almanach du Journal L'Alsace, pp 147-153 (1952). [German]
25 Hecke, J.V. “Reise durch die Vereinigten Staaten von Nord-Amerika in den Jahren 1818 und 1819” (1820-1821). [German]
26 Hertneck, Friedrich “Das Schicksal eines deutschen Texas-Auswanderer” (1845). [German]
28 Schmidt, C.F. “John O. Meusebach founder of Fredericksburg, Texas […] His Expedition into the Commanche Indian Territory” (Feb 26, 1933).
29 Solms-Braunfels Archiv: Transcriptions [German]
30 Solms-Braunfels Archiv: Correspondence (1844) [German]
31 Solms-Braunfels Archiv: Vol LVI [German]
32 Solms-Braunfels Archiv: Index [German]
33 Solms-Braunfels Archiv: Indices [German]
34 Various “The German State Ideal”
35 “Books for Review” and notes on German-Texan politics (1936-1938)
36 Records of German Emigrants A – H
37 Biesele, Leopold
38 Coll, Jean Jacques von Pt 1 of 2 (1848-1849) [German]
39 Coll, Jean Jacques von Pt 2 of 2 (1848-1849) [German]
40 Ducos, Armand
41 Fisher, Henry Francis
42 Goeth, Mrs. Ottilie
43 Guenther, Heinrich
44 Kleburg, Rosa “Some of my Early Experiences in Texas” (1896)
45 Lindheimer, Ferdinand Jacob
46 Maetze, Ernst Gustav
47 Meusebach, John O. Pt 1 of 3
48 Meusebach, John O. Pt 2 of 3 (1929, 1934)
49 Meusebach, John O. Pt 3 of 3
50 Meusebach, John O. Biographical Sketch (1929, 1934)
51 Meusebach, Karl von (1847)
52 Meerschmidt, Arthur. (1940)
53 Miller, Buchard
54 Nagel, Dr. Karl (Sept 17, 1931)
55 D'Orvanne, Alexander Bourgeois
56 Schleicher, Gustav
57 Seele, Hermann F.
58 Solms, Carl (Prince of Braunfels, Germany)
59 Teichmueller, Hans
60 Urbantke, Carl
61 Wade, Houston (1937)
62 Notes on German-Texan Colonists and their Families
63 Guadalupe County, Seguin
64 Leiningen
65 Llano Settlement
6-7 Notecards
“Colonization Papers”
Cultural Contributions of the Texas German Pioneers
Early German emigration to Texas
Jean J. von Coll Papers
2 Early German-Texan settlers
66 Ship Registry for John Ireland's Company (Feb 7, 1889)
67 Ships Bringing Settlers to Texas
68 Ship Registry, notes on German Immigration to Texas
69 Ship Registry/Passengers to Texas (1844-1845)
Box Folder
3 22-23 Material on Texas-Germans in Politics
24 Duplicate material: Typescripts in German
Box Folder
2 70 German-Texan Schools
71 New Braunfels Academy Pt 1 of 2
72 New Braunfels Academy Pt 2 of 2
73 Newspaper review of “History of German Settlements”
74 Newspaper clippings related to Early German colonization in Texas
75 Newspaper clippings related to Early German Colonization in Texas
7 Notecards
Jean J. von Coll papers
Requests for Positions in the Colony
Applications to become Agents in Germany
Prince Solms
Alexander Bourgeois d'Orvanne
Acceptance of some without sufficient funds
People desiring to become settlers
Purposes of German Colonization in Texas
English Interest in German Colonization
Factors retarding emigration to Texas
Factors promoting...
Reasons for emigration
Occupation of persons desiring to emigrate
German trade with Texas
Texas and Mexico
Colony for the poor in Texas
The Society
Opposition to Society
Texas and the Hanse towns
Bremen as a Port of Embarkation
The Annexation of Texas
The German State Idea
Business hopes in Texas
A-Z by last name
Bettina, Fredericksburg, and early colonies
Plague of 1846
Census of 1850
Census of 1860
Lists of Colonists and Ship Rosters
Regarding the New Braunfels Sesquicentennial (2)
German Texan Newspapers
German Texas Schools
New Braunfels Minute Book Notes

Series 4: Student work, 1933-1940
3 folders

Three intact thesis proposals from students, two accepted and one denied. Includes photographs.
Box Folder
3 1 Meyers, Estelle. “The Lives and Works of Hermann Lungkwitz and Richard Petri.” (June 1, 1933)
2 Stever, Margaret. “Educational and Cultural Contributions to Texas of Four German Pioneers” (1940)
3 Weinert, Willie Mae. “Early Education in Seguin” and “The Food Supply of the Confederate Armies, 1865” [undated]

Series 5: Maps and photographs, 1910-1956
16 folders

Records of student projects and in-class presentations, on paper, slides, and photographs. Series also includes brochures for the design competitions that Duke may have used as components of his teaching curriculum. When known, student names are listed in association with work.
Box Folder
3 4 Highland Lakes of Central Texas. Lower Colorado River Authority [undated]
5 East Austin, partial map. United States Geological Survey (March 1910)
6 Fort Bend County, Texas. Austin General Land Office (April 1931)
7 The World. National Geographic (December 1935)
8 The Pacific Ocean. National Geographic (December 1936)
9 The British Isles. National Geographic (1937)
10 The White Mountains of New Hampshire. National Geographic (July 1937)
11 South America. National Geographic (December 1937)
12 Europe and the Mediterranean. National Geographic (April 1938)
13 Historic and Scenic Reaches of the Nation's Capital [Northeast U.S.]. National Geographic (July 1938)
14 Bible Lands and the Cradle of Western Civilization. National Geographic (December 1938)
15 Mexico, Central America and the West Indies. National Geographic (December 1939)
16 The United States and adjoining portions of Canada and Mexico. National Geographic, December 1940
17 Indian Ocean, Australian, New Zealand and Malaysia. National Geographic (March 1941)
18 Alaska. National Geographic (June 1956)
19 Texas. General Land Office (August 31, 1956)