Skip to Main Content

Coffee in Latin America and the Caribbean: A Research Guide

Digital Collections

Digitized primary source content from various areas within the Library of Congress can be found on the Library's website. The Prints & Photographs Division is the major source for photographs and related material, such as stereograph cards, trademarks, and advertising images. Maps, video and more related materials from the collections are also available on the website.

Images in the Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscapes Survey (HABS/HAER/HALS) collection include photographs of Puerto Rican coffee haciendas that were in use in the late 19th century. These collections document achievements in architecture, engineering, and landscape design from the 17th-20th centuries in the United States and its territories through measured drawings, photographs, and written historical and architectural information. 

Historic American Engineering Record, creator. Coffee despulpadora, Santaella Coffee processing site. Documented after 1968. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division.

Notable in the HABS/HAER/HALS collection are records for several Puerto Rican coffee haciendas:

Georges-Louis Le Rouge. Isle de la Martinique. 1767. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division.

The Library's Geography and Map Division has custody of the largest and most comprehensive cartographic collection in the world. Historical and contemporary maps of Latin America, South America, and the Caribbean range in date from the 16th century up until the 21st century. Many of these materials have been digitized and are available online. Materials that have not been digitized are available from the Geography and Map Reading Room.

Farm Hill coffee plantation, a typical Blue Mountain coffee estate, Jamaica. 1904. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division.

Stereographs consist of two nearly identical photographs or photomechanical prints, paired to produce the illusion of a single three-dimensional image, usually when viewed through a stereoscope.  A number of digitized images from the Library's  Stereograph Cards Collection, in the Prints & Photographs Division, document coffee production and distribution in the late 19th century, in countries that include Puerto Rico, Cuba, Jamaica, and Mexico.

Use the term "coffee" to locate stereographic images related to the topic in this collection:

You can further limit your search by adding the name of the country or region you are interested in:

There are approximately 200 digitized registered historical trademarks for coffee enterprises in the U.S. Patent Office Trademark collection of the Prints & Photographs Division. Most of these date from the late 19th century. 

Trademark registration by A. M. Martinez for Café Condensado brand Coffee. 1889. U.S. Patent Office Trademarks, Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division.
Trademark registration by Dilworth Brothers for Brazil brand Coffee. 1876. U.S. Patent Office Trademarks, Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division.
Trademark registration by Zoller & Little for Betsy's Choice brand Roasted Coffee. 1875. U.S. Patent Office Trademarks, Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division.
Trademark registration by by Haworth & Dewhurst for Haworth & Dewhurst's Cordoba Choice Coffee brand Roasted Coffee. 1888. U.S. Patent Office Trademarks, Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division.

Films held in the collections of the Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division can be identified through the Library's catalog and through resources of the Moving Image Research Center.

In this 1941 film, made by the National Geographic Society, the different processes of the coffee harvest in Brazil during the 1940's are shown. Three Brazilian cities are visited: Rio de Janeiro, Santos and São Paolo. The film shows the steps from harvesting to shipping coffee.

The following videos document past events at the Library of Congress touching on the topics of this guide:

Jack Delano, Photographer. Lajas, Puerto Rico, Coffee laborers' company houses. 1942. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division.

The Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information (FSA/OWI)Black-and-White Negatives Collection in the Prints & Photographs Division is another source for historical images related to coffee. Photographs of coffee farming and workers in this collection were taken primarily in Puerto Rico. Negatives and transparencies are accessed through the Library of Congress website.

This U.S. government project ran from 1935 to 1944 and employed such photographers as Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Russell Lee, Arthur Rothstein, Ben Shahn, and Jack Delano. Photographers were sent out on assignments throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. As the scope of the project expanded, the photographers turned to recording both rural and urban conditions throughout the United States as well as mobilization efforts for World War II.