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.
Click here to access the Collection.
The picture is from the Beinecke Collection. I’ll publish a separate blogpost about the picture collection because it’s wonderful!
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.
The digitised newspapers will eventually be available online via the British Library and the Digital Library of the Caribbean.
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.
Click here to go to the British Library Project Overview.
The real-life pirates of the Caribbean often had short careers, meeting with violent ends. We look at what happened to six of them…
Source: The fates of six real-life pirates of the Caribbean
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 Library of Congress, which owns Berryman’s collection, has digitised eighty-six of his drawings. Click here to view the drawings on the Library of Congress website.
Click here to go to the LBSO website and for more information on William Berryman.
Thomas Jefferys, The West Indian Atlas (London, 1780, copy in the John Carter Brown Library, Brown University), as shown on http://www.slaveryimages.org, compiled by Jerome Handler and Michael Tuite and sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.
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
Take note that some of the images on the site remain subject to copyright—where this is the case, the notes accompanying the images will notify you of this. For more information on using the images, visit the ‘Acknowledging the Website, Conditions of Use’ page here.
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.
This is a link to the French Revolutionary pamphlet collection on Internet Archive: https://archive.org/details/newberryfrenchpamphlets&tab=collection
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.