Gems from the Archives – 54 War-spite to the Dominican Republic

Our item today was a big surprise when we found it. For years we had been telling researchers that we had no information on the persons who went to work in the cane fields of the Dominican Republic. This was because we have yet to find any records from whatever government agency handled migration at the time. This is still the case. However last November when going through the Administrators files we found one on the need for Labour in the Virgin Islands and other places. At the very back of the file was the list of 50 men who sailed on the Warspite to the Dominican Republic and as we looked through the file there were more lists similar to this one. At last some information on a topic that has generated a lot of interest over the years.

As you can see the item is quite damaged. We will make repairs when we have some space to do the work without causing more damage. When I first started working in Archives in 1996, the administrator’s files were on the floor at the back of the vaults and from the condition they were in, it was obvious that somebody had actually stood on the bare files to fix the air conditioner. Many documents have serious damage due to poor handling. This might even have started when the files were still in use and somebody tried to squeeze them in over-full file drawers. Records are information and information is valuable. Handling records badly means that we lose what information we create.

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