Scope and arrangement
The Maximilien Collection (1847-1933) consists of 240 bound volumes of handwritten and typescript Correspondence and official documents relating to Haitian diplomatic history. Although the collection is largely in French, considerable material exists also in English and to a lesser extent, in Spanish.
The volumes themselves are arranged in two series, a Chronological File and an Alphabetical File, according to the contents indicated on the spine of each volume. The volumes in the Chronological File are either more general in nature or refer to a specific diplomatic incident, rather than an individual diplomat, and are arranged in chronological order by the earliest date in the volume. The larger Alphabetical File consists of material concerning individual diplomats or governmental figures. The volumes in the Alphabetical File are arranged in alphabetical order by the first name appearing on the spine of the volume. The material within each volume in both the Chronological File and the Alphabetical File is in chronological order, with few exceptions.
Included in the Container List are all the names found on the spines of the volumes, with notations indicating the volumes in which each name appears. However, this cross reference list is not a complete index, as only names appearing on the volumes'spines are included. Correspondence by specific individuals may appear in other volumes throughout the collection. Researchers are advised to use the Chronology to determine which names are likely to contain information on a specific time period, and therefore particular individuals.
The French used on the volume spines has been retained in the Container List; only errors in spelling, grammar and date have been corrected.
The contents of the volumes vary greatly, reflecting the development of Haitian diplomatic history and the scope of the activities of the various Secretaries of State, Resident Ministers and Presidents of Haiti.
Much of the Correspondence is routine, including announcements of the arrival of new consuls and thank-yous for welcomes extended to foreign ministers in different countries. The ministers also received a great deal of Correspondence concerning missing persons, the costs of foreign exports and the situation for Haitian students in foreign countries.
Other letters relate to the arrangements for the payments of debts, discussion of public opinion towards individual ministers or judicial actions and the effect of leadership changes in other countries, notably the United States, France, Great Britain and Spain, on foreign relations with Haiti.