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Guide to the Suzanne Comhaire-Sylvan Papers M1835
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Collection Overview
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The collection contains Suzanne's most brilliant works and those of her siblings and husband Jean Comhaire. The collection includes manuscripts with field notes; newpapers (La Voix des Femmes, Le Temps, L’Universitaire Colonial); published and unpublished articles; photographs of Haiti and her trips to Congo, Nigeria, Mali and other unidentified places; old maps of Haiti, the city of Port-au-Prince, the valley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; phonographs of recording 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.
Suzanne is 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.
9.0 Linear feet (17 manuscript boxes, 3 flat boxes)
All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, California 94304-6064. Consent is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission from the copyright owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner, heir(s) or assigns. See: http://library.stanford.edu/depts/spc/pubserv/permissions.html.
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.