Brazilian Acquisitions Honor Stanley J. Stein and Barbara Hadley Stein

The Princeton University Library and Program in Latin American Studies, now celebrating its 50th anniversary, are pleased to announce the acquisition of historical manuscripts about African slavery and the plantation economy in colonial and imperial Brazil. The materials were acquired in honor of Stanley J. Stein, Walter Samuel Carpenter III Professor in Spanish Civilization and Culture, Emeritus; and his wife Barbara Hadley Stein (1916-2005), who was also a specialist on Latin American history and served for many years as the Library’s Bibliographer for Latin America, Spain, and Portugal. Professor Stein joined the History Department faculty in 1953 and authored many books on Latin American economic and social history, including Vassouras: A Brazilian Coffee County, 1850-1900: The Roles of Planter and Slave in a Plantation Society (1957); The Brazilian Cotton Manufacture: Textile Enterprise in an Underdeveloped Area, 1850-1950 (1957); Silver, Trade, and War: Spain and America in the Making of Early Modern Europe (2000); Apogee of Empire: Spain and New Spain in the Age of Charles III, 1759-1789 (2003); and Edge of Crisis: War and Trade in the Spanish Atlantic, 1789-1808 (2009). Several of his books have been translated into Spanish. The Steins worked together on several books, including The Colonial Heritage of Latin America: Essays on Economic Dependence In Perspective (1970), and were honored for their innovative studies.

This substantial archival collection just acquired in the Steins’ honor is in two parts: (Part I) A collection of 78 miscellaneous legal and other documents (1758-1888) pertaining to the history of the history of slavery in Brazil as a Portuguese colony and later as the Empire of Brazil, until the abolition of slavery in 1887. This group of documents provides insight into the slave trade, plantation economy, and lives of Afro-Brazilian slaves and their families, as for example in an 1823 petition of Maximiana Maria, a free woman of color (see image below). (Part II) Two bound volumes of transcribed financial accounts (1797-1810) of Luis Gomes Ribeiro, a member of the aristocratic Ribeiro de Avellar family, owners of the slave plantation (fazenda) of Pau Grande and its manor house, in the rural parish of Paty do Alferes, about 100 kilometers northwest of Rio de Janeiro, first producing only sugarcane but later expanding to other foodstuffs; and 144 letters (1831-58) written by Domingos Alves da Silva Porto, manager of Avellar & Companhia, an agricultural export business in Rio de Janeiro, to Joaquim Ribeiro de Avellar (1791-1863), first barão do Capivari, a Brazilian nobleman and owner of the same plantation.

Coincidentally, Professor Stein studied the plantation economy and society of Vassouras, located forty kilometers to the west, in his doctoral dissertation (1951), which became his first published book. In 2005, Stein donated a photograph album containing 111 photographs of Vassouras taken by him during his doctoral research (C0938, no. 78q). Other holdings of the Manuscripts Division on the economic and social history of Brazil before 1900 include the Codex Diamond, a manuscript register pertaining to diamond mining in Tejuco, Minas Gerais, 1781-95, with information about buying and renting slaves (C0938, no. 639); Gongo Soco Gold Mine, also in Minas Gerais, a ledger for 1840-44, with information about slave labor (C0938, no. 409q); and the Elma Sant’Ana Collection of the Mucker Papers, concerning a community of German immigrants in southern Brazil, 1840-77 (C1566). In addition, efforts to monitor transatlantic slave trade are documented in the Papers of George W. Storer (C1433), who served in the U.S. Navy for more than a half century, including his years as a captain and then commander-in-chief of the Brazil Squadron, 1837-50, which, in part, had the goal of preventing American ships from transporting African slaves. There is also a manuscript journal of a voyage from Norfolk to Rio De Janiero on board the Brig Don Juan, 1847, kept by H. V. Weakley (C0938, no. 583). Several of these manuscripts were purchased with support from a Library fund endowed by Kenneth Maxwell, also a student of Brazilian history. For more information, contact Don C. Skemer, Curator of Manuscripts, at

Fernando Acosta Rodriguez shows Brazilian Acquisition to Stanley J. Stein, May 10, 2018.

Petition of a free woman of color, 1823