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Journey to New Switzerland : travel account of the Koepfli and Suppiger Family to St. Louis on the Mississippi and the founding of New Switzerland in the State of Illinois /
by Joseph Suppiger, Salomon Koepfli, and Kaspar Koepfli ; translated by Raymond J. Spahn ; with excerpts from Jennie Latzer Kaeser's translation of Salomon Koepfli's Die Geschichte der Ansiedlung von Highland (The story of the settling of Highland) ; edited by John C. Abbott ; foreword by Joseph Blake Koepfli. --
Carbondale, Ill. : Southern Illinois University Press, c1987.
xxxiv, 236 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
0809313138 :
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1987-04:
First published in Switzerland in 1833, the greater part of this book consists of the journal kept by Suppiger during the migration to the US in 1831 of 11 Swiss Germans under the leadership of the physician Kaspar Koepfli. The balance is made up of letters to Switzerland by members of the group about their experiences during the first year of their settlement in the environs of Highland, Illinois. Suppiger's journal traces the group's movement through France to Le Havre, across the ocean to New York, up the Hudson, and west by canal, lake, and river, to St. Louis. Compared to Tocqueville's philosophical Democracy in America, written in the same period, the journal records the concrete experiences of the immigrants. Suppiger writes of travel conditions, meals, lodgings, and costs, as well as of the exasperating practices of European customs officials and ship owners. The account is spiced with comments on national characteristics and on human nature generally. The writers stress the advantages of their new home over what they had known in the Old World and their admiration of the energy of the settlers of the West. An immensely informative account, useful to those interested in social and immigration history. The translation is admirable, the format handsome. Annotated bibliography. College, university, and public libraries.-E. Cassara, George Mason University
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, April 1987
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Main Description
This is the account of three members of a party that left Switzerland in 1831 to found "New Switzerland" 30 miles east of St. Louis. Most of this work consists of the diary of 26-year-old Joseph Suppiger, charged with the logistics of the trip by his uncle, Dr. Kaspar Koepfli, the leader of the group. Suppiger recounts his adventures and observations as the group made its way from Sursee, Switzerland, through France to the port of Havre, its 49-day sea voyage to New York, and its journey to St. Louis. In addition to the diary account of the journey, the book relates the group's first year and a half at Highland, Illinois, the heart of New Switzerland.

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