Milkmaid and Milk Sellers, Surinam, 1839

Milk and milk products, the author explains, are provided by elderly “missies” (usually free Black women and former mistresses of White men) who own cows. These women then have their milk peddled or hawked by their own enslaved people, young Black or creole women (p. 37). Benoit (1782-1854), a French-speaking Belgian, visited Surinam around 1829/1830. The 100 coloured lithographs in his book are derived from drawings he made during his visit.

Milkmaid and Milk Sellers, Surinam, 1839; Image Reference BEN3, as shown on, sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the University of Virginia Library.