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West Indies: manufacture of sugar


Titles in this section primarily cover activities in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean. However, some coverage of activities in these places can also be found in the more general section of this guide as books and journals are often much broader in their coverage. These are not all the materials devoted specifically to these places, additional materials – particularly those in Spanish - can be found by searching in the catalog. There are also local associations like the Association of Sugar Producers of Puerto Rico, the Sugar Association of the Caribbean, and the West Indies Sugar Technologists that publish annual reports, meeting notes, statistical compilations, and other related material.

Sugar & Sugar Cane: Historical Resources for a Sweet Industry

February 2017

Table of Contents

Print Titles
    General Resources
    Louisiana & the South
    Cuba, Puerto Rico, & the Caribbean
    International Data Sources
LC Subject Headings
Databases & Internet Resources


Image (left): [West Indies: manufacture of sugar]
Illus. in: Du Tertre, Histoire generale des Antilles habitees par les François, Paris, 1667-1671
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

When doing research on this industry historically and particularly when using digitized sources of period material, it is import to search the early spelling “Porto Rico.”

American Sugar Refining Company. A Century of Sugar Refining in the United States. [3. ed.] [New York, The De Vinne press, 1918]
LC Call Number: TP379.U5 A7 1918
LC Catalog Record: 20008151

The American Sugar Refining Company had interest in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean though refined in New York. This pamphlet was is a very brief overview and is not the same as the similar publication by the same name produced in 1916.

Anuario Azucarero de Cuba ... Habana, Cuba, Cuba económica y financiera
LC Call Number: HD9114.C88 A85
LC Catalog Record: unk81006078

Holdings 1941-1960. Serial annual report, in Spanish, that includes statistics and analysis covering that year.

Association of Sugar Producers of Puerto Rico. The Sugar Problem of Puerto Rico. San Juan, P.R., 1936
LC Call Number: HD9114.P8 A8
LC Catalog Record: unk83011519

This brief title was published by the Association of Sugar Producers of Puerto Rico a group that represented the sugar producers in the Country. It was their direct response to comments made by then Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes on how "a few big companies" have most of the cultivatable land in Puerto Rico.

Caribbean Research Council. Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, Fisheries, and Forestry. The Sugar Industry of the Caribbean. [Technical editor: Gustave Burmeister] Washington, 1947.
LC Call Number: SB229.C3 C3
LC Catalog Record: 48006117

This is an historical overview of the sugar industry in the Caribbean that is presented by country. There is a very extensive bibliography.

Cuba, Ministerio de hacienda, Sección de estadística. Industria Azucarera y sus Derivados ... Habana, 1906-
LC Call Number: HD9114.C88 A4
LC Catalog Record: 08030794

Holdings 1903-1931. Statistical serial publication published in Spanish.

Funes Monzote, Reinaldo. De bosque a sabana. English From Rainforest to Cane Field in Cuba : an Environmental History since 1492; translated by Alex Martin. Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, c2008.
LC Call Number: SB229.C9 F8613
LC Catalog Record: 2007026916

This title is the history of sugar in Cuba and is organized by time periods: 1772-1791; 1792-1815; 1815-1876; 1876-1898; and 1898-1926.

García Muñíz, Humberto. Sugar and Power in the Caribbean : the South Porto Rico Sugar Company in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, 1900-1921. Kingston [Jamaica] ; Miami : Ian Randle Publishers ; San Juan, P.R. : La Editorial, Universidad de Puerto Rico, c2010.
LC Call Number: HD9114.P84 S674 2010
LC Catalog Record: 2009018675

This traces the history of the South Porto Rico Sugar Company activities in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic begging in 1898. There is a detailed bibliography as well as several appendices that include many statistics by municipality.

Gayer, Arthur D. The Sugar Economy of Puerto Rico, New York, Columbia university press, 1938.
LC Call Number: HD9114.P8 G3
LC Catalog Record: 38039333

This is a detailed look written in 1938 about the impact of the sugar cane industry's structure and operations in Puerto Rico as well as its impact on the economy.

Gilmore, A. B. Manual de la Industria Azucarera Cubana = The Cuba Sugar Manual. [Havana, Cuba] : A.B. Gilmore : Swan's Bookstore [distributor], c1937.
LC Call Number: HD9114.C89 G55 1937
LC Catalog Record: 85105421

The Library only has one copy from 1937 but the title is in both English and Spanish. Most of the title is a directory with information on the plantations, companies, and mills in Cuba.

Maio, Michael and James A. Schmitz, Jr. “What Ever Happened to the Puerto Rican Sugar Manufacturing Industry?” Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Research Department Staff Report 477, December 2012. External Link [PDF format: 360 KB/67 pp.]

This is an article from the Minneapolis branch of the Federal Reserve making the case for local economic policy being responsible for the sugar industry's demise in Puerto Rico in the 1960s.

Martínez Vergne, Teresita. Capitalism in Colonial Puerto Rico : Central San Vicente in the late Nineteenth Century. Gainesville, Fla. : University Press of Florida, c1992.
LC Call Number: HD9114.P82 M37 1992
LC Catalog Record: 91028358

This book looks at the sugar industry as it was in the San Vicente area of Puerto Rico. Includes a detailed bibliography and extensive notes.

Mintz, Sidney Wilfred. Sweetness and Power : the Place of Sugar in Modern History. New York, N.Y. : Viking, 1985.
LC Call Number: GT2869 .M56 1985
LC Catalog Record: 83040667

The authors focus is on the Caribbean. He does cover production and consumption and the roll that the trade/industry played out in power and politics.

Parker, Matthew. Sugar Barons : Family, Corruption, Empire and War. London : Hutchinson, 2011.
LC Call Number: HD9114.W42 P37 2011
LC Catalog Record: 2011431668

This is predominantly a history of the West Indies sugar trade and industry. There is an obvious focus on Jamaica, Barbados, and the broader Caribbean.

Puerto Rico. Department of Agriculture and Commerce. What Sugar Means to Puerto Rico in Employment, in Tax Payments, in Buying Power [and] in Living Standards. [San Juan, 1940]
LC Call Number: HD9114.P8 A5 1940
LC Catalog Record: 40028218

This is a general overview of the sugar industry in Puerto Rico as it was at the time of publication.

Puerto Rico. Minimum Wage Board. The Sugar Cane Industry in Puerto Rico. San Juan, P.R., Insular procurement office, Printing division, 1943.
LC Call Number: HD9114.P8 A5 1942c
LC Catalog Record: 44042040

This is the English version of a publication published in September 1942. It looks at the costs of production of sugar cane with a particular focus on wages. There is written analysis but does include tables on living conditions, health, of workers on farms and factory.

The Puerto Rico Sugar Manual, including data on Dominican Republic and Haiti. 1930-31-- New Orleans, Gilmore Pub. Co. [etc.] [n.d.]
LC Call Number: SB229.P65 G5
LC Catalog Record: 30015508

Holdings: 1930/31, 1932/33, 1934/35, 1937/38, 1942/43, 1950, 1960. This may be referred to as Gilmore's Porto Rico Sugar Manual. There is information on the ownership, operating personnel, machinery equipment, transportation, production, facilities, etc. for the various Centrals. There is also sugar production figures for the various mills as well as a number of industry articles on a variety of topics though those differ for different years. There is some similar data for Santo Domingo.

Reinventing the Cuban sugar agroindustry / edited by Jorge F. Pérez-López and José Alvarez ; [contributors, José Alvarez ... et al.]. Lanham, MD : Lexington Books, c2005.
LC Call Number: HD9114.C89 R44 2005
LC Catalog Record: 2005001208

The catalog record does include a detailed table of contents but the title is mostly about reinventing the industry in Cuba but does include a few chapters on the history of the industry as a way to provide historical context.

Reynolds, Philip Keep. The Story of Cuban Sugar. Boston, Mass., United fruit company, 1914.
LC Call Number: SB229.C9 R4
LC Catalog Record: 24007654

Hardcopy of this pamphlet is off-site and is not served however, there is a digital version. It is based mainly on the workings of the United Fruit Company and its subsidiary Revere Sugar Refinery as they existed at the time of publication. It is organized into 3 major themes: plantation in Cuba, factory ("Central") in Cuba, and refining in the United States.

Smith, Dudley, William M. Requa. Puerto Rico Sugar Facts. Washington, D.C., Association of sugar producers of Puerto Rico, 1939.
LC Call Number: HD9114.P8 S53
LC Catalog Record: 40006391

This title looks at the history and importance of the sugar industry in Puerto Rico though 1940. It is broken down into blocks of time – before 1900, 1900-1917, 1917-1940 – with sections on various topics. These topics include: importance of the industry to the economy; number, size and value of the farms; ownership and control; employee wages; working conditions; earnings; etc. The title does include a lot of statistics in charts and graphs. A title very similar to this and by this author was also published in 1938.

United States. Congress. House. Special Committee on the Investigation of the American Sugar Refining Co. and Others. Hearings held before the Special Committee on the Investigation of the American Sugar Refining Co., House of Representatives ... Washington, Govt. print. off., 1911-12.
LC Call Number: KF27.5 .A47 1911
LC Catalog Record: 11026617

This is a six volume set that covers the hearings held from December 5-9, 1911 and January 9-16, 1912. This primarily concerns the company and is related to the hearings held in July and August 1911.

United States. Congress. House. Special Committee on Investigation of American Sugar Refining Company. Hearings held before the Special committee on the investigation of the American sugar refining co., and others on June 12 [-August 11] 1911, House of Representatives, in three volumes. Washington : U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1911.
LC Call Number: KF27.5 .A47 1911a
LC Catalog Record: 11035778

These hearings are broken into three volume: I. June 12-16, 19-24 and 26.; II. June 27-30 and July 11-15, 17-20.; III. July 21-22, 24-25, 31, and Aug. 1-2,4-5, 1911. It is predominantly about the company though others are included and the sugar monopoly (includes discussions on prices).

United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Relations with Cuba. Cuban Sugar Sales. Testimony taken by the Committee on relations with Cuba [May 1-June 16, 1902] Under authority of Senate resolution of April 26, 1902. 57th Congress, 1st session. Washington, Gov't print. off., 1902.
LC Call Number: HD9114.C88 U4 1902
LC Catalog Record: 05001586

This is a transcript of the hearings before the Senate Committee on Relations with Cuba and is related to the investigations by Congress and their interest in the "sugar trust." A secondary copy of this is available in the Law Library as well as the general collections.

Last updated: 02/23/2017

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