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Donatien Marie Joseph de Vimeur Rochambeau Papers

Identifier: MS Group 016

Scope and Content

The Rochambeau Papers include correspondence, decrees, microfilm, maps and other documents regarding Saint Domingue and Toussaint Louverture. The collection contains information on the history of Saint Domingue (Haiti), Santo Domingo, Jamaica and Martinique. It covers population, commerce, laws, customs, roads, buildings, agriculture, and especially the uprisings that occurred in Haiti around 1801-1803. The letters sent by English commanders Laring, Dundas and Bligh are the most significant. Some letters contain news about the war, security measures, troop movements, and military administration. These documents illustrate the failing condition of the French Army due to lack of supplies and sickness such as Yellow Fever. There are also microfilm copies of letters from the Archives Nationale from various significant figures, as well as original maps of roads and ports in the French portion of the island.

All documents in the Rochambeau Papers are described in A Calendar of Rochambeau Papers at the University of Florida Libraries, compiled by Laura V. Monti, Gainesville, 1972. The Calendar is available at


  • Creation: 1764-1803



The collection is open for research.

Biographical/Historical Note

Donatien Marie Joseph de Vimeur Rochambeau was a French General and Colonial Governor. He was born in Paris, France, on August 7, 1750. He began his military career by fighting with his father in the American War of Independence. His success gained promotions, and he played a key role in campaigns in Saint Domingue, eventually confronting Governor Toussaint Louverture. Beating Louverture, he was captured by other forces on the island but was later returned to France. He died on October 20, 1813, at the Battle of Leipzig, under Napoleon Bonaparte.


18 Linear feet (24 boxes)

Language of Materials



Correspondence, decrees, and other documents regarding Donatien Marie Joseph de Vimeur Rochambeau's involvement with Saint Domingue and Toussaint Louverture.

Physical Location

University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Alternate Form of Finding Aid

To review the descriptions of individual items in the Rochambeau Papers refer to A Calendar of Rochambeau Papers at the University of Florida Libraries, compiled by Laura V. Monti, Gainesville, 1972. The Calendar is available at

Acquisition Information

In 1971, Sotheby of London reported that there were no records of provenance for this collection. The descendants of General Rochambeau, Counts Philippe and Michel de Rochambeau, both confirmed that they were unaware of the history of these documents. In 1958, due to the efforts of the former Library Director, Stanley West, and the Assistant Director, Dr. Margaret Knox Goggin, it was possible for the University of Florida Libraries to acquire the nucleus of the collection at the auction of Sotheby of London. Through the years more documents were added, bought from Julio Lobo of Madrid, Kraus of New York, and Fischer of Puerto Rico whose representatives were also at the Sotheby sale.

Alternate Form of Material

Digital reproductions of items in this collection are available online via the University of Florida Digital Collections (UFDC). Please read the Permissions for Use statement for information on copyright, fair use, and use of UFDC digital objects.

A Guide to the Donatien Marie Joseph de Vimeur Rochambeau Papers
Finding aid created by Dept. Staff
December 2011
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