The History of Coffee in Brazil — Primary Sources

The Brasiliana digital library of the University of São Paulo has just published a new site that links to digital editions of a number of key primary sources for the history of coffee in Brazil. Many of these are, of course, in Portuguese, although there the site also includes links to digitized primary sources in English, French, and even a Latin edition of Dufour’s 1696 study of the history of coffee, tea, and chocolate. For those of us interested in the environmental history of Brazilian coffee, it is a pleasure to see a link to Franz Dafert’s Principes de culture rationelle du café en Brésil. The website also contains links to digital editions of Thurber’s classic Coffee, From Plantation to Cup (whose cover graces this blog), and William Ukers’ encyclopedic All About Coffee, the starting point for almost every history of coffee. In short, this is a nicely curated collection. I hope that the site continues to develop, and include more primary sources on Brazilian coffee since the 1930s. The historical literature on Brazilian coffee after the Great Depression is not nearly as extensive as the literature studying the booms and busts of the nineteenth and early twentieth century. This is an area that needs more development.

Request to Readers: Coffee and Divorce in the Ottoman Empire

On behalf of a fellow historian, I have a request for information for you. Apparently, some coffee histories claim that Ottoman women could file for divorce if their husbands did not provide enough coffee. This is a fascinating claim and, if true, could say a lot about the significance of coffee in the Ottoman Empire. But my colleague has not found any original Ottoman source to back up this claim. If anyone knows of a good primary or secondary source that could document this, please let me know. Thanks!