HomeSubject Samplers

Subject Samplers

The subject samplers listed below present the Caribbeana Projects featured items by content and theme. Each includes a few of AASs most intriguing or tantalizing holdings regarding the subjects most frequently addressed in the collections, with some works appearing in multiple samplers if they address a variety of important themes. These samplers are not comprehensive but are representative of AASs holdings. 

Subject

Description

Early Publications

A collection of books, newspapers, and almanacs printed on Caribbean islands, all within five years of the arrival of the first printing press to its place of publication.

Reflections on Early Contact

The "discovery" of the Caribbean remained a romantic subject for European and white authors, while mistreatment of Indigenous islanders was frequently glossed over. Writings in this collection describe both phenomena.

Visual Representations

A selection of atlases and other works that feature contemporary visual depictions of the Caribbean region.

Emancipation and Abolition

The status and existence of slavery in the Caribbean was one of the most frequent topics of writings. Works in this collection comprise arguments made by contemporaries, British, American, and Caribbean, both for and against the abolition of the institution of slavery.

Agriculture and the Environment

The importance of the natural world to the production of sustenance and wealth in the Caribbean meant it was a frequent subject of writing, by everyone from farmers to geologists.

The Haitian Revolution

The Haitian Revolution (1791-1804) was both political revolution and slave rebellion, a radical event that shaped the consciousness of the Caribbean people. This collection includes works that describe the buildup, the revolution itself, and its results. 

Island Histories

Many authors, both local and abroad, sought to describe the political or natural histories of various Caribbean islands. AAS's holdings include a variety of writings from most islands in the region, some of which are included here.

Politics and Law

A wide-ranging collection that encompasses compendia of laws, disputes over territorial jurisdiction, accounts of trials, and more.

Literature

Comprising poetry, plays, and fiction written either in or about the Caribbean, this collection reveals the topics of interest and the sensibilities of Caribbean authors as well as the perception of the region in British and North American literary circles. 

Religion

The status of Christianity and its spread in the Caribbean was a subject of interest  for many authors with diverging interests and motivations. This collection comprises sermons, parish histories, and more.

Science and Medicine

The scientific questions of most importance to residents of the Caribbean were those relating to the diseases that thrived in the warm, tropical climate. This collection highlights the contemporary perception of and prescriptions for disease.

The Slave Trade

While not dealing directly with abolition, this collection focuses on the horrors of the Triangle Trade, and contemporary arguments for and against the elimination of the buying, selling, and shipping of enslaved people of African descent.

Commercial Activity

The Caribbean region relied on trade and commerce. This collection highlights the interactions between North American and Caribbean trading partners to demonstrate how closely intertwined and mutually invested the two regions were.

Travelers and Travelogues

Interestingly, one of the best represented genres of writing in and about the Caribbean is the travelogue. Often condescending in tone, the travelogue is nonetheless an invaluable resource for discovering contemporary perception of the Caribbean world and the conditions in which it existed.

Oddities

Not every work in AAS's wide-ranging Caribbeana collection can be easily categorized. Whether it seems to fit into too many of these sampler groupings, or to none of them, this collection is a one-stop shop for some of the most intriguing and distinctive items in all of AAS's collections.

Recent Acquisitions

AAS's collections are always growing and AAS curators are always seeking new material to expand its coverage and improve the strength of the Society's holdings for Caribbean region.