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Comhaire-Sylvain (Suzanne) papers
M1835  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
The collection contains the research and writing of anthropologist Suzanne Comhaire-Sylvain, as well as material from her siblings and husband Jean Comhaire. Her papers include manuscripts with field notes; newpapers (La Voix des Femmes, Le Temps, L’Universitaire Colonial); published and unpublished articles; photographs of Haiti and her trips to Congo, Nigeria, Mali and other unidentified places; old maps of Haiti, the city of Port-au-Prince, the valley of Marbial, Kenscoff; songs and musical scores; phonograph recordings of voodoo ceremonies; personal and work related correspondence before, during and after World War II; and approx 500 photographs taken during Comhaire-Sylvain's research.
Background
Suzanne Comhaire-Sylvain was Haiti’s first black female anthropologist. She studied in Kingston and Port-au-Prince before she obtained her Bachelor’s degree and Doctorate in Paris. Besides her interest in Haitian folklore and social issues of the condition of women in Haiti and Africa, her research focused on the origins of Creole language; an idiom considered juvenile and worthless at that time. She had chosen a difficult path but her quaint work, disregarded by her peers, sparked the interest of famous Polish anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski. The latter invited her in London where she became her research assistant while studying at London University and later at the London School of Economics. She also conducted successful research at the British Museum that resulted in her major work regarding the African roots of Haitian Creole.
Extent
9 Linear Feet (17 manuscript boxes, 3 flat boxes)
Restrictions
While Special Collections is the owner of the physical and digital items, permission to examine collection materials is not an authorization to publish. These materials are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. Any transmission or reproduction beyond that allowed by fair use requires permission from the owners of rights, heir(s) or assigns.
Availability
The materials are open for research use. Audio-visual materials are not available in original format, and must be reformatted to a digital use copy.