Henri’s first-hand accounts of his travels in the New World reflect his observations on a variety of subjects: the grandeur of nature (made both from the vantage point of an artist and avid botanist); racial injustice and social inequality; his meetings with noted Swiss scientists such as Louis Agassiz; and his colorful encounters with European emigrants and wily government officials.
Henri’s journals and letters to his family, seeing the light of day for the first time in over 150 years, will fascinate readers who value wit, history, and the broadening qualities of travel. His thoughts and observations on the 19th century open a larger window into the past, one that shows at times how far we have come and at others how far we still have to go.
Six years ago I started a project which entailed the translation of my ancestor Henri de Büren's 1850s travel mémoire. Over time it has become something more and now Henri’s oeuvre will finally see the light of day. The journey to publication has been like his voyage—countless twists and turns, an uncertain fate, and a deeply satisfying conclusion.