The principal holdings of the collection are related to the Czarnikow-Rionda Company of New York founded in and its subsidiaries and affiliates.
The Czarnikow-Rionda Company was a major raw sugar trading house, and through its affiliate, the Cuban Trading Company, it handled approximately twenty percent of Cuba's sugar exports between and Czarnikow-Rionda purchased and sold Cuban cane sugar and molasses, and exported jute bags, mill machinery, and other provisions to Cuba. In addition, Czarnikow-Rionda owned or controlled six raw sugar factories in Dating. Czarnikow-Rionda and its affiliates were involved in every sector of the cane sugar business including cane cultivation, refining, storage and transportation, financing, and brokerage.
The collection also includes nineteenth century material from several commission merchant houses based Vancouver New York and Cuba. These firms operated a trade network between Europe, the United States, and Cuba, and were typical of the Spanish merchant houses that once dominated Cuba's commercial life. Smathers Libraries. Donated to the Libraries' Department of Special Collections inthe collection is one of the richest archival sources on the modernization and expansion of the Cuban sugar industry. As braga archive of a large North American company that did business in Cuba it provides insights to the unique commercial relationship that once existed between Cuba and the United States.
The collection is, as well, an unavoidable historical source on topics pertaining to the social and political aspects of sugar production in pre-Castro Cuba.
The principal holdings in the collection are the records of the Czarnikow-Rionda Company of New York and its subsidiaries dating affiliates. From the beginning of the 20th century until the early s, Czarnikow-Rionda was one of North America's Vancouver importers of sugar and molasses. Although it traded in sugar from around the world, its principal source was Cuba. From its offices on Wall Street the company bought and sold ship lo of raw sugar, provided sugar mills with equipment and supplies, and negotiated short term crop loans to Cuba's sugar producers. Czarnikow-Rionda's affiliated companies in Cuba and the United States included cane farms, sugar mills, storage and weighing facilities, a sugar refinery, alcohol distilleries, and cattle ranches.
The Braga Brothers Collection also documents a family network that has been involved in the sugar industry since the mids. The collection begins in with the records of Lewis Benjamin, a commission merchant in New York City. From there, the collection journeys braga almost one hundred years of sugar history. The collection consists primarily of administrative correspondence--letters, memoranda, and cables.
Production data and records related to the technology employed in the manufacture of raw sugar, molasses, alcohol, and other cane products are evident as well. Ledgers and other ing books, blueprints, and maps are also found in the collection.
The latter includes original maps of the sugar estates and aerial photographic surveys of the Francisco and Manati sugar mills. English and Spanish are used throughout the collection, and a knowledge of both languages is essential to properly research some topics. Codes used for the names of people and companies present a more perplexing problem. Codes were used primarily for business security, but were often employed in sensitive communication related to government relations.
A list of terms decoded by researchers is available. The Braga Brothers Collection is arranged in four record groups and is further divided into record series. Record Group 2, contains the administrative files and letterbooks from the office of Manuel Rionda Vancouver Polledo, first president and chairman of the Czarnikow-Rionda Company. It contains the reference and correspondence files of corporate officials and the records of ten departments.
Most of Record Group IV depicts the production of raw sugar and other cane products, but there dating also substantial documentation on Cuban cattle ranches and several experimental ventures. In addition, the record group includes material from the W. Additional documents were donated to the Libraries by the Braga family in When possible, these items were merged with existing records series and record groups. Some materials, however, fell outside the scope of the original donation.
These are described in an Addendum group and include the personal papers and memoirs of several members of the Braga family. The addendum also describes non-textual materials, such as photographs, maps and plans, memorabilia, and artifacts.
Please read the Permissions for Braga statement for information on copyright, fair use, and use of UFDC digital objects. Thomson Gale, Donated to the Libraries' Department of Special Collections in The earliest records in the Braga Brothers Collection date to and bear the name of a commission merchant, Lewis Benjamin. Benjamin was one of many traders buying and selling a variety of commodities in Manhattan's vibrant financial district.
The eldest brother, Franciscoresided in Cuba most of his life. The company was a sugar export house with its office and warehouse in Matanzas.
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The family also owned sugar plantations near that Cuban port. ByFrancisco had married Elena de la Torriente, the daughter of one of Cuba's wealthiest sugar barons. The Polledos and Riondas also enjoyed Vancouver long and profitable association with George S. In addition braga the refinery, Hunt operated a fleet of ships that traded primarily in Maine lumber products and Cuban sugar and molasses.
In the meantime, Francisco and his uncle enlarged their Cuban sugar holdings. Bythey had acquired the Central China and contracted with Franklin Farrel of the Farrel Foundry and Machine Company of Ansonia, Connecticut, to modernize the estate's industrial plant. However, debts incurred by the purchase of expensive mill machinery, coupled with declining sugar prices, forced the bankruptcy of Polledo, Rionda and Co.
As part of a court settlement of Polledo, Rionda's dating assets, the Rionda brothers acquired the Central China and the Matanzas warehouses. Francisco continued at the Elena estate until the de la Torrientes sold it.
Manuel also moved to Cuba and assumed control of the Matanzas warehouses for a brief period. While all three of the brothers were in Cuba, the New York business was left in the hands of a partner, Hugh Kelly. Quickly, though, the business network began to crumble. ByRionda, Benjamin and Co. Manuel returned to New York and attempted a new partnership with Kelly, but that lasted only a year. The Riondas then focused their energies on sugar braga they acquired in the vicinity of Sancti Spiritus in Santa Clara province.
Manuel returned to Cuba briefly to work with his brothers. Bythough, he was back in New York working with the firm of J. Ceballos and Co. The record trail in Record Group 1, however, stops in Record Group 2 starts inand there are no records in the collection for the intervening years. The memoirs and recollections of family members see also: Addendum recount the history of the intervening years. Record Group 1 of the Braga Brothers Collection is a valuable resource for studies of early North American investments in the Cuban Vancouver industry.
It also documents the Spanish communities in the United States and Cuba and the important role they played in the development of Cuba's sugar industry. The Benjamins' business interests are also well documented in the correspondence with Lewin and Sohr of Antwerp and Truninger and Company dating London.
Record Group 1 includes correspondence, bound and unbound business records, shipping contracts and other maritime documents, legal papers, and trade circulars. A small amount of family correspondence can also be found.
Series 6 includes cargo pouches, charter parties, maritime protests, insurance policies, and contractual records. The largest part of the collection consists of cargo pouches.
The original pouch envelopes, many of which were wrapped in bundles marked "conment envelopes," have been retained. A typical cargo pouch contains sales receipts, dating slips, invoices, insurance receipts, memoranda and charter memoranda. Some pouches especially and may also include towing bills, quarantine bills, shipwright bills, bills of lading, storage receipts, consulate bills, custom house receipts, warden's office legislative acts, bank correspondence, sugar weight return notices, marine protests, import bonds and trust braga.
Sugar transactions are prominent throughout most years, but also included are railroad grain transactionsiron rails and bat guano sales Some cargo pouches contain charter parties and have been labeled as such.
Charter parties found independent of cargo pouches are listed separately. Box 6 contains insurance policies, receipts and ledgers related to ships, cargoes on ships, and cargoes stored in wharves and bulkhe. The ledger entitled "Marine Insurance G. The majority Vancouver the maritime papers are written in English with some in Spanish and a few in French and German.
Series 31 consists primarily of business correspondence received at the early Rionda trading houses in New York City. Also included in the series are dating of letters sent from the trading houses, but most of the outgoing correspondence will be found in the letterbooks in Series Some internal business correspondence, including memoranda, is also Vancouver along with contracts and other business documents. The series also contains a small of private letters and braga from family members in Spain and Cuba.
The majority of letters revolve around the purchase and sale of various commodities, including sugar. The Riondas interest in sugar production factors more heavily in the later years of the series. Of particular interest are the letters and documents related to the modernization of several mills in the s.
Discussion related to the abolition of slavery can be found in the correspondence of the brothers, most notably in The materials were bundled with titles and dates written on the bundle wrappers. Unless otherwise noted in brackets, the folder titles here are the same as those that were on the wrappers. About a tenth of the series was found loose with no identification.
Those letters have been arranged by date and marked in the contents lists with an asterisk. A considerable portion of the series was lost to rodent damage. Series 32 consists of twenty letterbooks containing copies of outgoing correspondence from the Rionda trading houses in New York City. Eight of the volumes contain letters from Rionda, Benjamin and Co. A small amount of personal and family correspondence is also included.
The letterbooks do not form a continuous series and there is considerable overlapping of dates. Special care should be taken when looking for specific dates.