Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

UWI Mona West Indies and Special Collections: Collections

This guide provides an overview to the collections and services of the West Indies and Special Collections Section at The University of the West Indies, Mona Library, Mona Campus.

Due to the current COVID-19 crisis the West Indies and Special Collections Section is closed until further notice. For any enquiries please contact us at:

Overview WISC Collections

The West Indies and Special Collections (WISC) brings together a number of the Mona Library's special and unique research collections including the West Indies Collection and the Special Collections.

The West Indies Collection

The West Indies Collection is comprised of books, pamphlets, theses, microforms and other material focused on the teaching of the Humanities and Social Sciences. It has a wide geographic coverage representing material from the West Indian islands as well as Guyana, French Guiana, Belize, Bermuda, Suriname and the Caribbean Diaspora. Its collection of West Indian periodicals provide a wide subject base for students and faculty, with non UWI based researchers making frequent trips to consult the collection.

The Special Collections

The Special Collections at Mona Library prides itself on its holdings of a plethora of collection types, with content that is multi-disciplinary. This collection is unique with its focus on the achievements of faculty, staff and students of The UWI. Its holdings charting the historiography of the West Indies, covering its political and artistic landscape is complemented by the unique personal papers of Caribbean leaders and global icons presents numerous opportunities for continued and novel research. 

Special Collections

The Special Collections and their content include:

  • University Collection:  material originating from The UWI and its staff, material about the University; theses accepted by The UWI for higher degrees
  • Rare Book Collection: containing mainly rare West Indian books and pamphlets
  • Caribbean Leaders Collection
    • Edward Seaga - search UWILinC
    • P. J. Patterson
    • Hugh Shearer
    • Dudley Thompson
  • Global Icons Collections
  • Manuscript Collections: including diaries, estate journals, land transfers, letters and ships' logs on the West Indies
  • Map Collection: rare and twentieth century maps
  • Microform Collection: extensive collection of official documents, manuscripts, periodicals and newspapers
  • Newspaper collection: West Indian newspapers in print, microfilm or digital format covering the period 1774-1998.
  • West Indian Creative Writers: anthologies, novels, plays and poetry by writers from the English-speaking Caribbean 
  • Prints and Post Cards
  • Literary manuscripts:  West Indian authors, novelists, journalists and critics, including
  • Photographs:
  • Vertical Files Collection 

Caribbean Leaders Collection Seaga

Edward Seaga Papers and Memorabilia

Edward Philip George Seaga was the fifth Prime Minister of Jamaica  serving  from 1980 to 1989 and  was  Leader of the Jamaica Labour Party from 1974 to 2005. He served as leader of the opposition from 1974 to 1980 and again from 1989 until January 2005. 


The Edward Seaga Papers includes documents, books, scrapbooks,  photographs and other memorabilia accumulated during his years in public service.

The Edward Seaga Papers are in the process of being digitized and are being made assessible via the Library's Search and Discovery platform UWILINC. To date over 550 files of correspondence, reports and policy documents are accessible both in print and in digital format.  Scrapbooks of press reports about Jamaica collected from newspapers world wide during the period when Mr.  Seaga  was Prime Minister  are also being made assessable.

You can view the collection by searching here: UWILinC.

Global Icons Collection

Elsa Goveia Collection

The Elsa Goveia Collection housed in the West Indies and Special Collections (WISC) of The UWI Mona Library is your opportunity to walk a path to discovery.


Professor Elsa V. Goveia (1925 - 1980) began teaching at then University College of the West Indies (now The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona) in 1950 when she took up teaching duties as Assistant Lecturer in History. Her steadfast work and dedication earned Goveia her first promotion to the post of Lecturer by 1952, Acting Head of Department between 1956 - 57 and then Senior Lecturer by 1958. Among her outstanding achievements was her elevation to the rank of Professor of West Indian History, at 36 years of age. Prof. Goveia was the first to be conferred with this appointment at The UWI.

Through the Elsa Goveia Collection at The UWI Mona Library (circa 1951 - 1980), there is a unique opportunity to delve into her thoughts and passions, through the content that exists nowhere else. The content can stimulate research and scholarship as the scores of notebooks and notecards can offer something novel to each researcher. The numerous correspondence, advocacy regarding the British Guinana constitution, West Indies Federation, published and unpublished reviews give further insight into this global icon. The documents can be interrogated from several disciplines.

Photographs from the Goveia collection can be viewed on The UWI Mona Library Digital Collections here.

Caribbean Leaders Collection Patterson

The Most Hon. P. J. Patterson

In 2009, The UWI Mona Library received from the Most Honourable P. J. Patterson, former Prime Minister of Jamaica, his personal files consisting of 58 boxes with 538 files.


Mr. Patterson was first appointed Prime Minister of Jamaica in March 1992 after winning post of PNP president upon the retirement of Michael Manley. He was returned to office in Jamaica's General Elections in 1993 and remained at the helm until February 2006. 

The P. J. Patterson collection is primary source, the collection provides researchers with the opportunity to view material of special significance to the Jamaica's governance, before and during his tenure as Prime Minister and leader of the People's National Party.

Read more on the P J Patterson Collection at Mona at UWILinC or go directly to the collection finding aids below:

P.J. Patterson Speeches Collection 

Global Icons Collection

Lucille Mathurin Mair Collection

Lucille Mathurin Mair (1924 - 2009) was a prolific writer and advocate for gender issues. Her work was instrumental in the development and teaching of women's across The University of the West Indies (UWI) campuses. 


The Lucille Mathurin Mair Collection at the Mona Library, which spans the 1970s through to the early 2000s, consists of twenty-seven boxes. Approximately eight boxes have had their contents listed, and soon these will be available for research.

The Lucille Mathurin Mair Collection falls into several areas depicting her life and work:

  1. Drafts and Book Chapters
  2. Memorandums
  3. Correspondence  
  4. ‘Women’s Conference’ – consists of papers relating to meetings, seminars conferences focusing on gender issues
  5. Photographs
  6. United Nations

Throughout the collection, there is a heavy focused on her years in the United Nations and her role as Secretary-General and her work researching and writing about the issues facing women in developing countries, particularly in the Caribbean. Issues such as gender equality, the role of women in the workplace and poverty alleviation. She was an inveterate collector, saving documents from conferences, meetings, and letters from friends and colleagues, excerpts and drafts from books and articles. There is a whole box which contains primarily handwritten notes on whatever subject she was researching or even simply thinking about.