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Haiti: Hispanic Reading Room Country Guide

Digital Collections and Services

The Library of Congress has over 20 centers that provide research space and guidance for users to interact with collection items based on subject or format. The Hispanic Reading Room curates materials from 61 countries and/or regions in 26 different languages and in varying formats such as books, maps, photographs, manuscripts, and digital objects. The Hispanic Reading Room staff provides access to materials from the General Collections and helps point researchers to relevant items in other reading rooms. Selected digitized primary source materials from the Library’s collections are highlighted below along with links for further exploration.

Folklife, Ethnographic Materials

The Library's American Folklife Center houses one of the largest archives of ethnographic materials from the United States and around the world, which include extensive audiovisual documentation of traditional arts, cultural expressions, and oral histories offering researchers access to the songs, stories, and other creative expressions of people from diverse communities.

The following webcast is an example of one of the many folklife-sponsored events presented at the Library of Congress.

On March 15, 2017 ethnomusicologist Gage Averill discussed the significance of Alan and Elizabeth Lomax's collection and documentation of a wide variety of Haitian classical music, dance music and vodou music in 1936-1937, and related work by Zora Neale Hurston, Katherine Dunham and others. Averill discussed the process of repatriating the recordings following the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

Prints, Photographs, Visual Materials

The Library's Prints and Photographs Division is the repository for a rich collection of prints, photographs, and other visual materials on and about Haiti from significant artists and photographers. Many of these items have been digitized and are available to researchers online. Many other visual materials are available to researchers in the Library's Prints and Photographs Reading Room.

Port-au-Prince, Haiti. 1911. Harris & Ewing Collection. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
Unloading flour from ships, Miragoâne, Haiti. [between 1909 and 1932]. National Photo Company Collection. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Law, Legal Materials

The Law Library of Congress includes a vast collection on foreign legal materials, such as Constitutions, Codes, Session laws, Commentaries and indexes to laws, rules and regulations, Judicial court decisions and reports, and Legal bibliographies.

Access to legal materials related to Haiti are provided by the Law Library, including:

Manuscripts, Archival Materials

The Manuscript Division holds approximately sixty million items in eleven thousand separate collections, including some of the greatest manuscript treasures of American history and culture and support scholarly research in many aspects of political, cultural, and scientific history. The Library's Manuscript Reading Room provides access to archival materials on and about Haiti, including primary sources from cultural figures, authors, and politicians.

Selected Finding Aids: Haiti

Haiti was the first country in the world led by former slaves after declaring its independence in 1804. The following French manuscript by Jean Decout, which is part of the Thomas Jefferson Papers, is related to the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804).

Haitian Revolution, correspondence. 1804. The Thomas Jefferson Papers. Library of Congress Manuscript Division.
Atlas mexicano. Maps dated 1884 to 1886.
Plan de la Baye et du Cap de Tiburon [Tiburon Bay, Haiti]. [17--]. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division.

Cartographic Materials

The Library's Geography and Map Division has custody of the largest and most comprehensive cartographic collection in the world with collections numbering over 5 million maps, 100,000 atlases, 8,000 reference works, over 5000 globes and globe gores, 3,000 raised relief models, over 130,000 microfiche/film, and a large number of cartographic materials in other formats. 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.

William Du Bois, author. Federal Theatre. Haiti. A Drama of the Black Napoleon, poster. [193-]. Federal Theatre Project, 1935 to 1939 Collection. Library of Congress Music Division.

Performing Arts

The Performing Arts Reading Room (part of the Library's Music Division) provides access to classified music and book collections, music and literary manuscripts, iconography, microforms, periodicals, musical instruments, published and unpublished copyright deposits, and close to 500 special collections in music, theater, and dance.

To hear recordings or interact with audio materials in the Library's collections visit the Recorded Sound Research Center which is part of the Library's Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division.

Marcus Rainsford, author. An historical account of the black empire of Hayti: comprehending a view of the principal transactions in the revolution of Saint Domingo, with its ancient and modern state. 1805. Library of Congress Rare Book and Special Collections Division.

Rare Books, Special Collections

Rare materials about and from Haiti in the Library of Congress collections are vast and filled with treasures. Researchers should visit the the Rare Book and Special Collections Reading Room to learn more about rare materials available online as well as special collections that contain significant resources on Perú.