• Woman Writes Husband Enrolled In Joint U.S.-Haiti Program To Increase Rubber Production

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    Lewis Burchill of Passaic, NJ, worked for the Société Haitiano-Américaine de Développement Agricole - a project begun 1939 to turn over 47,000 acres of Haitian land to grow rubber trees. This joint venture was intended to expand wartime production of rubber in the Haitian Countryside. Financed by the US, the Haitian government held 100% of the stock, but arable land was taken from growing food.  Peasants lost their homes and a 1943-44 drought ruined the harvest. The US offered compensation to families and recommended cancelling the program.  The program ended in 1944 as did its employment of 90,000 people. This was happening in the middle of World War II.


    Offering a group of four letters, five covers, 1943, from Burchill’s wife, Kay, dated January 11, 18, February 7, 11 with discussion about her upcoming visit with him.  The letters are addressed to Burchill c/o of Shada, an acronym for the program.  “Please don’t hire all those servants until I see whether we need them or not...It seems very strange to be retired & totally dependent on my husband for support.”  The letters have all been censored.  Four of the covers are backstamped with an examination mark in Haiti.

    On February 7, 1943, she writes in part about shoes being rationed. “Shoe rationing has started very suddenly. I bought your white shoes last week so you ought to be all right. Imagine me with 3 pairs a year!  I’ll have to give shoes an awfully good trial before I actually buy them...”  [The United States began rationing shoes because leather was in short suppy during World War II.]

    She complains about some of her letters not reaching him and blames the censors.  She explores the availability of the conveniences they’re used to in America.   “I still expect good directions on what to bring down.  Will the electric current fit our appliances? Do they have any dry cleaners? Can you get golf clubs down there and do many people play golf? Do you miss the radio? How much news do you get? Have you been on any field trips yet.  Your last letter sounds as if there is something wrong with the place and you don’t want me to come down...I gather that with all the clothes you are getting you intend to stay...”

    In excellent condition and very easy to ready.

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