Alexander Philip Maximilian was the Prince of Wied-Neuwied. He was born in the city of Neuwied, which is the capital of the German province of Wied. The Prince led two major scientific expeditions to the New World, one of which included an extended stay in New Harmony, Indiana.
His first venture, to the tropical forests of Brazil, resulted in two books:
Maximilian zu Wied, Reise nach Brasilien in den Jahren 1815 bis 1817, Frankfurt, 1820-21; in English, Henry Colburn & Co., London, 1820.
Maximilian zu Wied, Beiträge zur Naturalgeschichte von Brasilien, Weimar, 1825-33.
For the second venture, Prince Maximilian brought with him the Swiss artist Karl Bodmer and German hunter and taxidermist David Dreidoppel. They landed in Boston on the Fourth of July, 1832 and started westward, reaching New Harmony on October 19, 1832.
The Prince unexpectedly spent several months in New Harmony. He explains—
My stay at New Harmony, which was at first intended to be only for a few days, was prolonged by serious indisposition, nearly resembling cholera, to a four months' winter residence. At any other place in this country I should have extremely regretted such a loss of time, but here I derived much instruction and entertainment from my intercourse with two highly-informed men, Mr. Thomas Say and Mr. Lesueur . . .This translation is found in Chapter VII, on New Harmony and the surrounding country, of volume 22 of
Reuben Gold Thwaites, Early Western Travels, 1748-1846, reprinted by AMS Press, New York, 1966.
Thwaites's volume 22 is entitled "Part I of Maximilian, Prince of Wied's, Travels in the Interior of North America, 1832-1834." Volumes 23 and 24 comprise Parts II and III. The three volumes, totaling more than 1130 pages, are translated from
Maximilian zu Wied, Reise in das Innere Nord-Amerika in den Jahren 1832 bis 1834, 2 volumes, Koblenz, 1840-41. Reprinted by L. Borowsky, München, 1979.
Prince Maximilian also published two other works based on his 1832-1834 expedition, the first on mammals, the second on reptiles:
Maximilian zu Wied, Verzeichness der auf seiner in Nord-Amerika beobachteten Säugethiere, Berlin, 1862;
Maximilian zu Wied, Verzeichness der Reptilien welche auf einer Reise im Nördlichen America beobachtet wurdern, Dresden, 1865.
Prince Maximilian resided in New Harmony from October 19, 1832 to March 16, 1833. He and his party then continued westward, where they visited many Indian tribes and, especially through the drawings of Karl Bodmer, left a major contribution to the literature and art of the American west. The Prince returned through New Harmony, writing that "[Thomas Say] died on the 10th of October, 1834, soon after I had left him in good health on my second visit to Harmony."
The best-known species named in honor of Prince Maximilian is Leopardus wiedii, or Margay. Among species first described by and named by the Prince are the red-eared slider (turtle), western chorus frog, and spring peeper (frog). For images and full scientific names of these species, see the links below.
Leopardus wiedii, named in honor of Prince Maximilian [Margay]
Plates from Prince Maximilian's Travels in Brazil (London, 1820)
Frogs and turtle named by Prince Max
Wied Family History (in German), c/o Edzard Prinz zu Wied
New Harmony Scientists, Educators, Writers & Artists
Clark Kimberling Home Page