I stumbled across this fantastic collection of digitised manuscripts today. The Beinecke Collection is held by the Hamilton College Library. They have digitised hundreds of manuscripts from the 16th-19th century relating to the Lesser Antilles – the documents include maps, correspondence, legal documents and plantation reports. A document which particularly interests me is Grenada’s Book of Patents for 1765 to 1770, which is digitised in its entirety:) I’m constantly amazed at the online resources I can stumble across as I research places far away from my desk in Australia.
The British Library’s Endangered Archives programme contributes to the preservation of archival material that is in danger of destruction, neglect, or physical deterioration world-wide. In exciting news for historians of Haiti, the Endangered Archives programme has just approved a grant to work with the Bibliothèque Haïtienne des Frères de l’Instruction Chrétienne (BHFIC) in Port-au-Prince to digitise ninety-one Haitian newspapers published between 1813 and 1913. As set out in the Project overview, the material in the collection has been identified as BHFIC staff as vulnerable to degradation. The newspapers date from the years when Haiti was emerging from the Revolution. As the project team note, a rich and expanding international scholarship engages with the central impact of the Haitian Revolution—but research on Haiti’s post-revolutionary years “declines precipitously,” leaving an enormous gap in our understanding of the new nation after the first decade of the nineteenth century. Making the newspapers for that period accessible online will open up research possibilities in the future.
I learnt about this project on twitter—to monitor progress on the project, I suggest following Claire Antone Payton, a historian and PhD candidate at Duke University, and Erin Zavitz, Latin American and Caribbean History professor at University of Montana-Western.
The symposium “Collaborating across the Divide: Digital Humanities and the Caribbean” will take place September 21-22, 2017, at the University of Florida (in Gainesville, Florida). We’re hoping that folks involved in Caribbean Studies from around the region might be able to attend, with this event both focusing on and being an opportunity for facilitating collaborations. All events are free and open to the public and will take place in the Smathers Library, room 100.
Description: Digital technology has made the early twenty-first century a critical moment of opportunity by providing access to a wide range of library and archival materials and by offering new means of teaching, analyzing content, and presenting literary scholarship. While digital technologies have the promise of bridging institutional and geographic barriers, they have also continued to reproduce colonial hierarchies and marginalize content from the Caribbean and the Global South. This symposium, “Collaborating Across the Divide: Digital…
The link below will take you to an article written by Miles Ogborn, Professor of Geography at Queen Mary University of London.
Jamaican Maroons fought two major wars against the British during the 18th century. With reference to maps and views in the King’s Topographical Collection, Miles Ogborn investigates this community of escaped slaves and their attempts to win back independence.
The Voyages Database as we know it today—an open-access website—was launched in the mid-2000s, after initially being released as a subscription-based CD-ROM. Voyages comprises more than 35,000 individual slaving expeditions between 1514 and 1866. The records provide information about vessels, enslaved peoples, slave traders and owners, and trading routes.
The Voyages team have recently developed some new features, including an animation feature that helps bring into clearer focus the horrifying scale and duration of the trade. The site also recently implemented a system for visitors to contribute new data. As a result, in the last year alone, the project team has added more than a thousand new voyages and revised details on many others.
This is a link to an article recently published on The Conversation by the project team which provides background on the challenges of working with the complex data that sits behind Voyages, as well as a great explanation of the ways that users (you and I) can engage with Voyages. The article also points out that Voyages continues to collect lesson plans that teachers in middle school, high school and college have created around the database. There are some great resources available on the site for teachers, students, and researchers.
I’ve mentioned before the Legacies of British Slave Ownership project at University College London, which has been useful for my research. I came across this beautiful sketch on the project’s website under the ‘documents of interest’ section. According to the LBSO research, William Berryman was an English artist who lived in Jamaica between 1808 and 1815. He sketched and painted over 300 drawings of landscapes and enslaved people.
The Cuban Revolution receives as much media and popular attention as any event in Latin American history. Yet as Jennifer Lambe and I argue in a forthcoming essay, the field of Cuban revolutionary history is at once saturated and, paradoxically, “underdeveloped.” Friends, critics, and academic observers of the Cuban “process” have churned out decades’ worth of analyses. Still, fifty-eight years after the barbudos triumphantly entered Havana, our understanding of what actually transpired over the following decades continues to be limited by the vagaries of archival access, a predominant focus on high politics and international relations, and enduring political polarization.
There is little agreement, even, on when the timeline of inquiry should start and end. For supporters, the Cuban Revolution is ongoing and eternal, dating as far back to Cuba’s independence movement in the nineteenth century. For opponents, the Revolution’s hopes proved terminal long ago. 1959, 1961…
The Atlantic Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Americas: A Visual Record contains 1,280 images, many of them dating from the time of slavery. The website was created as part of a joint project of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the Digital Media Lab at the University of Virginia Library. The authors of the site (Jerome Handler and Michael Tuite) note that there is little interpretation of the images on the site, and they do not make claims as to the historical authenticity or the accuracy of what the images display—that is, these are images that have been in circulation, some of them will be an accurate representation of what the artist/author saw, but some will not. A lot of work has gone into ensuring the source of the pictures is accurate….as historians, it is up to us to interpret the images and make up our own minds about what those images tell us. As with all representations of the past, often the image can tell us just as much about the time or place where the image was produced (or the person who produced it), as it can tell us about the subject matter depicted in the image.
You can access the website and browse the collection here: Slavery Images
The Newberry Library in Chicago has just uploaded most of its French Revolutionary pamphlet collection on Internet Archive. The collection consists of more than 30,000 French-language pamphlets and more than 23,000 issues of 180 periodicals published between 1780 and 1810. The collection represents the diversity of contemporary opinion – the voices of those opposed to and those defending the French monarchy during the Revolution are represented, together with a broad array of ephemeral publications of the early Republic. Most items in the collection were published in Paris, but there are also some publications from regional France.
For the Caribbeanist, the collection represents a free, online resource for studying reporting/opinions/perceptions of Saint Domingue (Haiti) as published in France. For example, a quick search of “Saint Domingue” returns 7 results, including this 1790 8-page news pamphlet.
Internet Archive is a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, music, websites and more. The site is brilliant for anyone researching the past – millions of old books and other media are freely available.