The Project to Preserve and Make Available
the Jeremie Collections.
This Project seeks to preserve and make available
the notarial records for the district of Grande Anse, Haiti whose capital was
the City of Jeremie. The records are spread between three repositories, the University
of Florida, Gainesville, Florida; the Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture,
New York Public Library, New York, New York; and the Archives d'Outre-Mer at Aix
en Provence, France. Estimated time period for the records begins in the middle
1700s and ends at the turn of the century, approximately, 1803. Number of
items is unknown. Linear footage will exceed 28 feet.
In summer, 1999,
Carla Summers became interested in these vital records which document the town
of Jeremie for the years before Haitian independence. These records contain documentation
of events that, under French Law, required notarization and registration including
contracts of marriage, wills, ecclesiastical records, actions of local councils,
etc. Three different repositories hold the complete set of these records. These
records are in such bad condition that use has been closed at the University of
Florida. Instead, patrons must rely on an incomplete list of very brief annotations
of the items contained in the collection. The rich and varied history that these
records document is inaccessible and in danger.
The goals of this project
- Contact and obtain agreements for cooperation between repositories.
and compile information on extent of preservation and access needs.
and implement plans for preservation, description and enhancement of use.
information concerning the holdings to interested parties.
and activities contained in these broad goals are almost overwhelming considering
the extent of the materials, their decentralization, and their condition. However,
the reward of bringing these vital materials into wider use and preserving them
for the long term is the motivating factor.
The University of Florida has
hired a temporary staff member who is fluent in French to begin the annotation
of 650 documents that were acquired after the first receipt of the Jeremie Papers.
These documents are unlisted and must be described and merged with the current
finding aid before we can go forward with microfilming the collection. The current
finding aid is also very rudimentary. A standard format for the translation and
abstracting of items is being developed.
We are seeking funding as seed
money to begin this project. In this first stage we will be looking to develop
commitments from the institutions involved and determining the extent and condition
of collections. Meetings will be arranged between curators at the institutions
as well as administrative heads to negotiate participation. The collections will
be inventoried according to approved archival standards. Translation will continue
at the University of Florida to develop cost facts for creating descriptions of
The University of Florida holds extensive documentation
of the French Caribbean including the Rochambeau Papers.
The seed money
will enable the project team to develop grant requests to submit to funding agencies
internationally. Without the figures and the commitments developed in this first
phase, funds for further description and preservation will not be forthcoming.
No individual institution can undertake such a beginning on operational funds.
Interested parties must fund this work.
It is the understanding that the
vital records of a society are the most valuable documentation available. No one
questions the preservation of the birth, marriage and death records of a countrys
or local governments people. We should act to save these priceless documents
now. Besides their considerable interest to the study of world history (this was
a time of great upheaval for governments around the world), these records support
the understanding of the contributions of families and individuals of Haiti. Haiti
is a nation that seeks to know itself no matter what the cost. Development of
a sense of oneself as a people leads to greater cultural and economic progress.
- Jeremie Materials In Florida. Enclosed is the finding
aid for the Jeremie Collection at the University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
purchased from Kurt Fisher. Carla M. Summers is the Curator in charge of this
- Jeremie Materials in New York City. Enclosed is a summary
of the Kurt Fisher Haitian Collection held at the Schomburg Center for Research
in Black Culture, The New York Public Library, New York, New York. Anre Elizee
at the Center is the Curator in charge of this collection.