Friday, February 19, 2010

Haitian Collections on Display at the State Library

Recently the library was host
to a group of local students from the Education Develop- ment Group, an institution that prepares recent immigrants for success in education and employment by providing language skills and cultural awareness. After a tour of the State House, the students, which included several Haitians, came by the library to see two particularly interesting artifacts in our collection regarding Haiti.

The first item presented was the book,
An historical survey of the French colony in the island of St. Domingo : comprehending a short account of its ancient government, political state, population, productions, and exports... published in 1797. This book contains a beautiful map of the island of St. Domingo prior to the revolution in 1804 that established Haiti as an independent country. While the library has several publications regarding Haiti after the revolution, this is the one in our collection that discusses the French colony prior to revolution. The map can be seen in the image above.

The second item presented was the medal awarded in 1871 by the Haitian government to U.S. Senator Charles Sumner of Massa- chusetts. Sumner worked tirelessly to gain official recognition of Haiti as a nation by the United States. Though Haiti declared nationhood after the revolution in 1804, the United States did not recognize Haiti until 1862. A letter by Sumner regarding the presentation of the medal can be found in Charles Sumner; His Complete Works, digitized by Google here. The medal is shown in the image above to the right of the map. Detailed images of the medal can be found on the State Library's Facebook page.

It is always a pleasure to display the library's treasured collections, and we were happy to host such an engaged group of students.

- Lacy Crews Stoneburner, Preservation Librarian