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A Guide to the Donatien Marie Joseph de Vimeur Rochambeau Papers

Finding aid created by Dept. Staff

University of Florida Smathers Libraries - Special and Area Studies Collections
December 2011

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Rochambeau, Donatien Marie Joseph de Vimeur, vicomte de, 1750-1813
Title: Donatien Marie Joseph de Vimeur Rochambeau Papers
Dates: 1764-1803
Abstract: Correspondence, decrees, and other documents regarding Donatien Marie Joseph de Vimeur Rochambeau's involvement with Saint Domingue and Toussaint Louverture.
Extent: 18 Linear feet. 24 boxes.
Identification: MS Group 16
Language(s): French
Online Content Items from this collection have been digitized and are available online in the UF Digital Collections. For more information please see the note below.

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.

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

Access or Use Restrictions


The collection is open for research.

Administrative Information

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.

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

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Donatien Marie Joseph de Vimeur Rochambeau Papers, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Acquisition Information

In 1971, Sotheby of London reported that there were no records of provenance for this collection. The descendents 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.

Selected Subjects and Access Terms

France -- Armée -- Colonial forces -- Haiti -- History -- 18th century
Haiti -- History -- Revolution, 1791-1804
Jamaica -- History
Martinique -- History
Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) -- History
Toussaint Louverture, 1743-1803
Yellow fever

For further information, please contact: Special Collections Access Services.

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