DOMENECH, Emmanuel (1825-1886). Journal d'un Missionnaire au Texas et au Mexique. Paris: Librairie de Gaume Freres, 1856.

$ 675.00

DOMENECH, Emmanuel (1825-1886). Journal d'un Missionnaire au Texas et au Mexique. Paris: Librairie de Gaume Freres, 1856.

8vo. (8 ½ x 5 ½ inches) Large folding engraved map of Texas (ca. 45 x 35.5 cm) by J. Cordova 9 (light foxing). Contemporary marbled boards, flat spine, with calf panel gilt lettered “DOMENECH/ UN MISSIONAIRE AU TEXAS” (minor loss of color on spine).

Provence: Formally of the collection of noted collector Jean P. Perrette, with Ex Libris bookplate.

First edition. Beautifully bound in unique marbled paper, with out sized fold out map of Texas with surrounding lands (including “Indian Territory), partially hand colored with the route of M. Domenech after landing in Galveston, travelling through Texas and Mexico in the bad old days.

Emmanuel Domenech (1825-1903), a Catholic priest, was born at or near Lyons, France, on November 6, 1825, to Gabriel and Jeanne (Fournier) Domenech. Upon finishing his theological studies at the seminary of the Barrens in St. Louis, he was ordained in San Antonio on October 1, 1848; he may have been the first priest to be ordained in Texas.

His "Journal d'un missionaire au Texas et au Mexique," published in Paris in 1857, was translated into English in 1858 as "Missionary Adventures in Texas and Mexico." The book describes the trials of early Catholic missionaries and is filled with vivid sketches of the Texas frontier and anecdotes about its people. He found Houston "infested with Methodists and ants" and dismissed Austin, "the seat of the Texian legislature, as "a small dirty town" with "only one wretched hotel."

He published many repetitious, exaggerated, and self-glorifying accounts of his experiences and travels, but his colorfully detailed narrative of the establishment of the Catholic hierarchy in Texas, amid the tensions of boundary disputes with Mexico and the devastation of an epidemic of cholera, has no counterpart.

In 1852, because of his distaste for the hardships of missionary life and continuing poor health, he returned to France, where he served as a priest and began a supplementary career as a travel writer and amateur ethnologist. He published an anonymous collection of drawings of Indian pictographs from the holdings of the Bibliotheque de l'Arsenal in Paris. This collection he entitled "Manuscrit pictographique americain" (called "Livre des sauvages" in the Parisian library's records), a controversial work that, together with his "Seven Years' Residence in the Great Deserts," is an important source of information on American Indians of the Southwest. In 1864 Domenech accompanied French troops into Mexico as a chaplain; he later became press secretary to Emperor Maximilian. His three-volume "Histoire du Mexique" (Paris 1868) is made up of extracts from hundreds of unedited letters and documents of the years 1848 to 1869, from both Mexico and Texas, to which he had access. He died of apoplexy and was buried at Lyons, France, on September 9, 1903 with military honors. Location note: Americana 8D. For inquiries please contact Greg McMurray, MLS, Director, Rare Books.