News from UMD: Rare French pamphlets shed light on Haiti's history

The news below is from the University of Maryland Libraries.  The news is on the very exciting new digital scholarship project, A Colony in Crisis.  In addition to being catalogued (so that users can find it through library catalog systems) and being on the open web, the project is also findable as a record-item linking to the website through the Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC,

Rare French pamphlets shed light on Haiti’s history

A new website launched by University of Maryland scholars features a collection of digitized and translated historic French pamphlets that offer insight to the 1789 Saint-Domingue flour famine, a little-studied episode from the years leading up to the Haitian Revolution.
A Colony in Crisis is the latest project in an ongoing effort to digitize and make freely accessible the university’s collection of rare historic French pamphlets.
By offering historical introductions and translations along with images of the French originals—too rare to be widely studied—the site introduces a worldwide audience to materials relating to a pivotal moment in history.
“Our goal is to get more people interested in these fascinating and underutilized pamphlets about the history of Saint-Domingue,” says project leader and librarian Kelsey Corlett-Rivera.

Corlett-Rivera and her project team believe the site will be especially useful for those studying Atlantic history, the Ancien Régime, and the Haitian Revolution and for those who may need English translations to access the original French content.
Colonial deputies and merchants in the French colony of Saint-Domingue in 1789 used the pamphlets to stake their positions in moral and economic disputes. Among them: defending themselves against accusations of starving the colony’s slave populations. Amid this unrest, the French Revolution was gaining momentum, and the Haitian Revolution would start in a just a few more years.
The pamphlets are drawn primarily from the University of Maryland’s Special Collections, although related items from other institutions are also included.
The project is sponsored by the university’s College of Arts and Humanitiesand the University Libraries.
Last update: 09/16/2014