Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Haiti Collection, 1761-1826, 1895, 1954

Finding aid created by
Erin Platte and Meg Hixon, October 2011

Summary Information
Title: Haiti collection
Creator: William L. Clements Library
Inclusive dates: 1761-1826, 1895, 1954
Extent: 0.25 linear feet
Abstract:
The Haiti collection contains 123 items related to the social, military, and economic history of Haiti from the mid-18th century through the 19th century. The collection includes correspondence, documents, and a scrapbook. The scrapbook, compiled by Victor Advielle, chronicles the history of the island from 1803, during the last stages of its revolution, through the 1890s.

Language: The material is in French and English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1991, 1996, 1997. M-2752.3, M-3308, M-3375.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation:

Haiti collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Arrangement

The collection is arranged in the following series:

  • Series I: Correspondence
  • Series II: Photographs, Map, Postmark, and Printed Item
  • Series III: Transcriptions, Typescripts, and Notes
  • Series IV: Scrapbook

The correspondence series is arranged chronologically.


History

After colonizing Hispaniola, Spain decided in the late seventeenth century to transfer the western third of the island to the French, who called it Saint Domingue. During an 18th-century economic boom, the colony became France's most prosperous Caribbean possession. In 1791, tensions led to a large slave rebellion, the first of several conflicts that eventually led to Haitian independence. Discord continued after the abolition of slavery in 1794, and by the late 1790s Toussaint L'Ouverture, with his formidable army, had control of areas throughout the colony. L'Ouverture and his troops held off Napoleon's subsequent attempts to restore French control over the island, and on January 1, 1804, the country, now re-named Haiti, became independent. Haiti's 19th century was marked by political turbulence, including the Haitian occupation of Santo Domingo (now the Dominican Republic) from 1822-1844 and a quick succession of political leaders, who were often overthrown or assassinated.


Collection Scope and Content Note

The Haiti collection contains 123 items related to the social, military, and economic history of Haiti from the mid-18th century through the 19th century. The collection includes correspondence, documents, visual material, and a scrapbook. The scrapbook, compiled by Victor Advielle, chronicles the history of the island from 1803, during the last stages of its revolution, through the 1890s.

Of particular interest are a deposition giving a firsthand account of a 1793 slave insurrection (October 25, 1799) and a letter written by L. Dichter, a British officer, who described Haiti as the "Devil's own Country" (July 4, 1796). The collection also contains an autographed letter written by Toussaint L'Ouverture on his private stationary [1796]. Other items are two photographs, a copy of L'Écho de la Timbrologie that traces the history of Haiti (January 31, 1954), a Carte de l'Isle de Saint Domingue ([1759], housed in the Map Division), a 1788 postmark from "Cap Haitien," and a newletter about French colonial postmarks.

Victor Advielle compiled the scrapbook, entitled Notes sur Haiti, in Paris in 1895. In addition to newspaper clippings, speeches, correspondence, and government documents, the volume has a piece of music entitled "Les paroles sont de Mr. de la Soriniere danjou, Et la Musique de Mr. Boran de St. Domingue." The scrapbook pertains to Haiti's 19th-century history. The section entitled "Ma Correspondence avec Légitime" contains personal correspondence between Victor Advielle and François Denys Légitime, who later became president of Haiti (1888-1889). The material within the scrapbook is in French.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Haiti--History--1804-1844.
    • Haiti--History--1844-1915.
    • Haiti--History--Revolution, 1791-1804.
    Subjects - Visual Materials:
    • Hispaniola--Manuscript maps.
    Contributors:
    • Advielle, Victor.
    • Légitime, François Denys, 1841-1935.
    • Toussaint Louverture, 1743-1803.
    Genre Terms:
    • Articles.
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Manuscript maps.
    • Notes.
    • Photographs.
    • Postmarks.
    • Scrapbooks.
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
    Box   1  
    Correspondence,   February 5, 1761-September 23, 1826, and  undated [series]:
     
    Photographs, Map, Postmark, and Printed Item [series]:
     
    Transcriptions, Typescripts, and Notes [series]:
    Box   2  
    "Notes sur Haiti" scrapbook,  1895 [series]:
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Alternate Locations

    The Carte de l'Isle de Saint Domingue is housed in the Map Division.

    Bibliography

    "Haiti." Encyclopædia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica, 2011.