Gottfried Duden

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Gottfried Duden (May 19, 1789 – October 29, 1856) was a German emigration writer of the early 19th century. His famous book Bericht über eine Reise nach den westlichen Staaten Nordamerika's ("Report of a journey to the western states of North America") gave romantic and glowing descriptions of the Missouri River valley between St. Louis and Hermann, Missouri. He established a farm near what is now Dutzow, Missouri along the Missouri River near Washington, Missouri. His book on the region, comparing the Missouri River to the Rhine in Germany, and his positive remarks concerning the climate, culture and soils in Missouri led to untold tens of thousands of German immigrants to the area beginning in the 1830s.

Gottfried Duden was born in Remscheid, Duchy of Berg. A lawyer by profession, he settled in rural Warren County about 50 miles west of St. Louis, in 1824. He was able to hire others to farm his land while he spent most of his time traveling and writing. He returned to Germany in 1827, and published his "Report" which was first printed in 1829. It praised the virtues of settling in Missouri. Apparently numerous similar books circulated in Germany at that time, but Duden's was especially well known. The result was a flood of German immigrants beginning in the 1830s. By 1860, more than 38,000 Germans had settled in the lower Missouri River valley. German immigrants to Missouri are often called "followers of Duden." Duden died in 1856, and is buried in Bonn, Germany.

See also[edit]


  • "German Settlement in Missouri: New Land, Old Ways," by Robyn Burnett and Ken Luebbering, University of Missouri Press, Columbia, MO, 1996, p 10.
  • "How Gottfried Duden Sold Missouri," Beer, Brats and Baseball: St. Louis Germans, by Jim Merkel, Reedy Press, St. Louis, MO, 2012, p. 9.
  • “Report on a Journey to the Western States of North America and a Stay of Several Years Along the Missouri (during the years 1824, ‘25, ‘26, and 1827),” 1829, English translation by Elsa Nagel, manuscript on file at the Western Historical Manuscript Collection–Columbia of the University of Missouri
  • Boone-Duden Historical Society, PO Box 82, 3565 Mill St, New Melle, MO 63365
  • "Utopia in Missouri: Creating a New German State 'Where the Sun of Freedom Shines,'" by Dorris Keeven-Franke, Gateway Magazine, Vol 24, 2014, p 65
  • The Arts and Architecture of German Settlements in Missouri: A Survey of a Vanishing Culture, by Charles Van Ravenswaay, University of Missouri Press, Columbia, MO, 2nd Edition, 2006