About Us

The John Carter Brown Library was founded in 1846 by its namesake, a wealthy citizen of Providence.  It is broadly devoted to the history of the Americas, from roughly 1492 to 1825.  The JCB has always collected deeply in French Americana, and we continue to actively acquire materials relating to Haiti and its predecessor colony, Saint Domingue.   A 2004 conference on the bicentennial of Haiti’s independence was an important turning point in raising awareness for Haitian history, and the JCB seeks to build on this legacy through the creation of this digital library.  


John Carter Brown Library a été créée en 1846 par celui dont elle porte le nom, un riche citoyen de Providence. Elle est consacrée à l’histoire des Amériques de 1492 à 1825. La bibliothèque a toujours collecté des documents relatifs à l’Amérique francophone et nous continuons d’acquérir activement des documents sur Haïti et sa période coloniale (Saint-Domingue). Un colloque organisé en 2004 sur le bicentenaire de l’indépendance d’Haïti marque un tournant dans l’intérêt pour l’histoire d’Haïti, et JCB cherche à entretenir cet héritage en créant cette bibliothèque virtuelle.


This site was created in a deeply collaborative spirit, drawing upon advice from historians, librarians, web designers, digital information specialists, and donors. Citizens of Haiti, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States all contributed meaningful support. At the John Carter Brown Library the site was coordinated by Leslie Tobias Olsen with invaluable help from John Minichiello and Xephyr Inkpen. Translations were generously supplied by Carlo Célius. Patrick Tardieu of the Bibliothèque Haitienne des Pères du Saint-Esprit in Port-au-Prince provided much invaluable advice about Haiti's rich printing culture. David Geggus provided us with invaluable historical advice. Ted Widmer wrote the general text. Allison Rich and Malick Ghachem contributed some of the descriptions of individual items. Pinpoint Studios created the design. The Internet Archive was an essential partner, lending technology and expertise. The other organizations listed below offered scans and moral support. Without David Rumsey, who underwrote the expenses, none of it would have been possible.

Bibliothèque Haïtienne des Pères du Saint-Esprit, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Bibliothèque Nationale de France
British Library
Clinton Global Initiative
Internet Archive
Yéle Haiti