Schott, Arthur Carl Victor (1814–1875)

By: Bernard L. Fontana

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: April 30, 2016

Arthur Schott, naturalist, artist, engineer, poet, geologist, and musician, was the son of Christian Friedrich Albert Schott. He was born in Stuttgart, Württemberg, on February 27, 1814. He attended a gymnasium and then a technical school at Stuttgart, served a year's apprenticeship at the Royal Gardens in Stuttgart, and attended the Institute of Agriculture at Hohenheim. He was hired by the United States Boundary Commission in 1851 as a "special scientific collector." Beginning in late 1851, he worked with the commission under William H. Emory in surveying the boundary between Texas and its neighboring Mexican states; collecting botanical, geological, and zoological specimens; submitting notes on geology, plants, and animals; and drawing landscapes and Indians. Lithographs and engravings based on Schott's Texas drawings were published in Emory's official report of the boundary survey, most notably those of Seminole, Lipan Apache, and Kiowa Indians; of the Military Plaza in San Antonio; of the Mexican military colony at Piedras Negras; and of falls on the Rio Grande forty miles below Eagle Pass. Schott also made significant contributions to the study of Texas geology. He examined sedimentary deposits and fossil evidence in the Rio Grande basin in order to establish the dates of inundation of the area by the sea, and made important contributions to the study of mountain formation. After completion in the mid-1850s of the boundary survey, Schott worked on a survey for a possible transoceanic ship canal across the Isthmus of Darien; collected zoological and botanical specimens in Yucatán; surveyed native vegetation in Washington, D.C.; and worked in the coast survey office. He died in Washington, D.C., on July 26, 1875, leaving a widow, Augusta, and six children.

Bernard L. Fontana, "Drawing the Line between Mexico and the United States," American West, July-August 1983. Gretchen G. Fox, Arthur Schott: German Immigrant Illustrator of the American West (M.A. thesis, George Washington University, 1977). W. H. Goetzmann, Army Exploration in the American West, 1803–1863 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1959; 2d ed., Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1979; rpt., Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1991).

  • Peoples
  • Germans
  • Visual Arts
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Science
  • Scientists and Researchers
  • Exploration
  • Surveyors and Cartographers
  • Graphic Arts

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Bernard L. Fontana, “Schott, Arthur Carl Victor,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 01, 2022,

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April 30, 2016