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Ken Chandler Photographs of the Carnival in Trinidad

Identifier: MSS 0604

Scope and Content

The collection contains 664 photographic slides of the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival taken from 1972 to 1978 by Ken Chandler and 1 issue of the Caribbean Beat Magazine from 2019. The photographs show Carnival participants in costumes, musicians performing, and a few photos appear to be of calypso singers.


  • Creation: 1972-2019
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1977-1978


Language of Materials

Includes materials written in English.


The collection is open for research.

Biographical/Historical Note

Kenneth Carlisle Chandler (1936-1978) was born in Trinidad and Tobago. He worked as a photographer and shot a variety of events including weddings and carnivals. He also worked for two newspapers in Trinidad: Trinidad Express andThe Mirror. After migrating to the United States, Kenneth Chandler continued to work as a photographer and graduated from the Germain School of Photography in New York.

He was married to Gloria Chandler and had two daughters (Nadine Chandler Wilburn and Karla Chandler) and three grandchildren, John Chandler Wilburn, Kenneth Bailey Wilburn, and Kristopher Carlisle Chandler).

The Trinidad and Tobago Carnival dates back to the 18th century when French enslavers hosted annual masquerade balls exclusively for the white elites. Enslaved Africans of the island were forbidden to attend these events, in response they began to hold their own celebrations, called Canboulay. During the Canboulay celebrations, the enslaved people mocked the behavior and dress of their oppressors. Calypso music was used not only to mock the enslavers but as a way to secretly communicate between them. Canboulay led to the creation of the "Mas" (masquerade) and became an important symbol of freedom and defiance after the emancipation in 1838. At Mas festivities, participants dressed up in costumes, masks, and other disguises to dance during the parade. These festivities played an important role in the development of calypso music, soca, and steel bands.

The Trinidad and Tobago Carnival is celebrated annually on the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday in Port of Spain in Trinidad.


.58 Linear Feet (664 (35mm slides), 27 (40mm slides), and 1 magazine.)


The collection consists of photographic slides of the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival taken from 1972 to 1978 by Ken Chandler. Includes 1 issue of the Caribbean Beat Magazine from 2019.


The collection is organized by date in chronological order.


University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Acquisition Information

The donation was coordinated by Nikkia R. Gumbs, Ed.D. (UF ‘21) and donated by Gloria Chandler in 2021 and 2022.

Related Materials

Andrew Pearse Collection, at The Alma Jordan Library, The University of the West Indies.

A Guide to the Ken Chandler Photographs of the Carnival in Trinidad
Finding aid created by Nelissa E. Caraballo-Ramos
February 2022 (Updated July 2022)
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Dacs
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida Repository

George A. Smathers Libraries
PO Box 117005
Gainesville Florida 32611-7005 United States of America