Item No: #363165 [Italian Texas: Three Scarce 19th Century Publications]. Count Joseph Telfener.
[Italian Texas: Three Scarce 19th Century Publications]
[Italian Texas: Three Scarce 19th Century Publications]
[Italian Texas: Three Scarce 19th Century Publications]
[Italian Texas: Three Scarce 19th Century Publications]
[Italian Texas: Three Scarce 19th Century Publications]
[Italian Texas: Three Scarce 19th Century Publications]

Texas Immigration Rarities

[Italian Texas: Three Scarce 19th Century Publications]

Notes: 1) Il Texas e la colonizzazione italiana della sua costa [cover title: Il Texas: La ferrovia Nuova York-Texas-Messicano; la colonizzazione italiana della costa de Texas]. Torino: Tipografia Roux e Favale, 1881. 56 pages, 6-3/8 by 9-1/2 inches; with a large folding map of the coastline of Texas with the proposed rail route printed in red;
2) Il Texas: La sua nuova ferrovia e la colonizzazione italiana della costa. Torino: Tipografia Roux e Favale, 1881. 8 pages, plus self wrappers, 4-9/16 by 6-7/8 inches;
3) New-York-Texas and Mexican Railway: Impresa italiana J. Telfener... [small broadside, 6-1/2 by 9-1/2 inches]. Milano: Stab. Tip. F. Pagnoni, 1881.

In 1880, the Italian Count Joseph Telfener with French and American investors formed the New York-Texas and Mexican Railway Company, a venture intending to complete the missing links needed to connect New York to Mexico City by rail. The project began along the Gulf Coast of Texas because of the generous land grants offered by the state of Texas in exchange for infrastructure construction. Unlike so many Texas investment schemes, this one was real. Telfener's companies had successfully completed a 350-mile railroad in Argentina, and vast quantities of iron track and wood ties soon arrived at South Texas ports.

Within two years, Telfener had completed more than 90 miles of track between Rosenberg Junction and Victoria, Texas. The project ended when the state of Texas denied Telfener's land claim on a technicality and then rescinded the land grant program entirely. It seems Texas had issued more land grants than it had land available.

While the Italian Count fought for his land grants, he explained that his real plan was to encourage Italian immigration to Texas, first by recruiting workers from Italy, and then helping them bring their families to settle the land along the railway line. To this end, Telfener formed immigration companies and began producing pro-Texas recruitment literature, of which this grouping includes three examples. The first two examples extoll the opportunities for farmers and other trades in Texas and the high wages paid to skilled workers for railway construction. The broadside is a recruitment flyer for workers, offering two year's work and half of the transportation cost to the job site (to be repaid over time).

More than 1000 Italians worked on the NYT&M railway in the early 1880s, and many of them stayed in Texas. Material connected to Telfener's railroad and immigration program is scarce. The larger pamphlet is held in four US libraries (Berkeley, SMU, UT Arlington, Yale) and a half-dozen Italian institutions; the second pamphlet has a single holding in Italy (none in OCLC); the small broadside appears unrecorded.

Edition + Condition: The larger pamphlet (no. 1) has tissue paper repairs at the bottom corners, but is otherwise very good. The map has a three-inch tear at the point of attachment. The book was sent through the Italian mail soon after publication (while the postmark is hard to read, the stamps are ca. 1880). The small pamphlet (no. 2) is fine. The broadside (no. 3) has a couple of old folds, and is thus very good.

Publication: Torino [Turin]: 1881.

Item No: #363165

Price: $3,500