Les habitants de Suriname; Notes recueillies a l’exposition coloniale d’Amsterdam en 1883. Prince Roland Bonaparte. Paris, A. Quantin, 1884.
This one of the most beautiful books from the Bibliotheca Surinamica. It is huge and majestic, full with splendid photos and lithographs. Clearly it was not intended for the man in the street but more for a select group royal friends, scientists and libraries.
In 1883, in Amsterdam on the Museum Square, a colonial world exhibition was held. Apart from Except curiosities from Dutch East-Indies, Suriname was also an important focus point. 28 inhabitants of Surinam were exhibited in some sort of circustent. It was the intention of the organisers of this exhibition to create interest for Suriname with the Dutch public. Thanks to prince Roland Bonaparte (1858-1924), a grandson of Lucien Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon, this Suriname exhibition has been documented in a splendid manor. In this first anthropological study on the inhabitants of Suriname Indians (Arowakken and Caraïben), marrons (bush negroes) and Creols (negres sedentairs) were exhaustively described and portraited. Of all 28 Surinamese men and women two photos are shown, en face and en profil, with a description of their external characteristics. Les Habitants the Suriname is in my opinion not only important because it is the most beautiful book. It forms also clearly a breaking point with all the books published earlier. Black people and indians were in former publications anonymous subjects, here for the first time they step into the lime lights as individuals. For the first time ordinary people form Suriname became individuals with a name and characteristics.