Duke Doctoral Student Finds a Treasure

Julia Gaffield, a doctoral student in history at Duke University, discovered what is believed to be the only original written printed copy of Haiti’s Declaration of Independence in the British National Archive. While researching the early independence of Haiti in February, Julia Gaffield found the document, an eight-page pamphlet dated Jan. 1, 1804, in the British National Archives in London. It is only the second declaration of its kind in the world, the first being the U.S. Declaration of Independence written by Thomas Jefferson and others.
Gaffield, who is researching early 19th century Haiti for her doctoral dissertation in history, said the document had been overlooked in the British archives, even as researchers spent decades searching for it in Haiti.
“I wasn’t specifically looking for it, but I had an eye out for it because I knew it was missing,” Gaffield said. “We figured there was an original somewhere, but didn’t know if it still existed.”
An interview with Julia can be found on Duke’s Office of News & Communications website.
Read more in : The Herald Sun and in The Times Online.