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An accurate map of the West Indies

The University of Central Florida (UCF) Libraries contributes materials to the Digital Library of the Caribbean from their Special Collections & University Archives Department.  Most of the materials are from the William J. Bryant West Indies Collection—a scholarly collection of over 1,800 books and periodicals on the history, geography, economy, and social life of the Caribbean Region.  The books and the periodicals in the Collection may be found in the UCF Libraries online catalog by searching the series: “West Indies Collection.”  In addition to collecting books and periodicals, William J. Bryant was interested in archaeology and collected pottery pieces, bones, stone tools and shells from sites in Florida, the Virgin Islands and the West Indies which resulted in a fine archaeological artifacts collection.  Furthermore, there is also an audio collection which contains vinyl record albums and audio cassette tapes, comprising of various genres of music from the Caribbean Islands. These records and cassettes were purchased or collected on trips sponsored by the William L. Bryant Foundation.  During these collecting trips, William J. Bryant took over one thousand 35 mm slides of various islands in the Caribbean as well as Florida and Venezuela. The slides within the Bryant Slides Collection are organized by geographical location. The content of the slides vary and include landscapes, religion, houses, people and everyday life. Worth mentioning is the Ephemera Collection, which contains tourism brochures, pamphlets and newspaper clippings that nicely document the islands of the West Indies.  Bryant’s interest in archeology fueled his passion for collecting works of art: paintings; graphics; and, sculptures. Selections from the collection can be viewed at: http://library.ucf.edu/SpecialCollections/Exhibits/BryantCollection/

Since the initial acquisition, additional purchases or donations have enhanced this fine West Indies Collection such as the purchase of the West Indies British Parliamentary Acts.  This collection represents a sample of British Parliamentary Acts, dating from 1712 till 1813, regarding the British West Indies. The West Indies were colonized by Great Britain beginning in the early seventeenth century, over one hundred years after their initial discovery by Columbus in 1492. The islands were crucial to the triangular trade that developed between Europe, Africa and the British colonies of North America and the Caribbean, especially regarding the exportation of raw materials like sugar. Therefore, the Acts in the collection often address issues of trade, both between the islands and between the islands and Great Britain.  The original West Indies Collection also included fine West Indies and Caribbean Islands maps, and as of recently additional purchases of some very scarce maps have been added to the Collection, and contributed to dLOC.

Virtual Exhibit: http://library.ucf.edu/SpecialCollections/Exhibits/Bryant/

Bryant Materials Exhibit, Summer 2009: http://library.ucf.edu/SpecialCollections/Exhibits/BryantSite/Default.html

The UCF Libraries support and contribute to several other related Digital Collections which are listed on their website.

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