A Guide to the Samuel Maas Papaers, 1835-1850
Born in Meinbeim, Baden, Germany, to wealthy Jewish parents in 1810, Samuel Maas became fluent in German, English, and French before moving to the United States in the 1830s. Maas spent a short period of time in Pittsburgh and South Carolina, where he became engaged to Carolina Hart, before moving to Texas. His first attempt ended in disaster as the ship he was traveling on sunk, costing Maas lumber intended for his house and almost his life. In 1836, Maas successfully settled in Nacogdoches County, where he quickly learned Spanish and gained employment translating Spanish land titles into English. Three years later Maas moved to Galveston where he owned a ship chandlery and two mercantiles, though Caroline Hart was unwilling to join him and the relationship ended in 1842. During a trip to Germany two years later, Maas married Isabella Offenbach, with whom he had four children. During the Civil War, he was forced to leave Galveston without his family due to allegations that he was aiding the Union due to his business debts to New York merchants. Maas returned to Galveston after the war and lived there until his death in 1897.
Perkins, Alexandra M. "Samuel Maas and the Galveston Experience." The Compass Rose. Spring 2011, p. 4-6.
Consisting of letters, the Samuel Maas Papers, 1835-1850, chronicle Maas’ life after arriving in the United States in the 1830s. A bulk of the correspondence relates to personal affairs, touching on a wide variety of topics, such as philosophy, literature, education, poetry. He also writes about America and makes comparisons between his new home and Europe as well as to Henry Castro regarding the Castro colony in Texas. Additionally, the collection also contains Dr. E. M. Stack’s index cards that note information about each letter, such as language, recipient, and content.
This collection is open for research use.
Samuel Maas Papers, 1835-1850, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light project, 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers