Mongui Maduro Library
To enter the plantation house of "Rooi Catootje" is to step into a world where time stands still; where it is impossible not to be overwhelmed by a sense of history. From a very early age, Mr. Maduro had been a fervent collector of documents, books, manuscripts, archivalia and periodicals relating to Curaçao and the Dutch West Indies. These ranged from publications of major historical significance such as paper clippings and photos of Lindbergh's visit to Curaçao, to the mundane: calendars and invitation cards, menus and other day-to-day items which provide insight into everyday life.
The collection is carefully complemented with postcards, phonograph records, stamps, bank notes and coins. Naturally, documentation on the history of the Jewish community in Curaçao also forms a major section of the library. Some unique publications which are found in this collection include a comprehensive and chronical description of the Urbina invasion of 1929. The Jewish roots of the local community are firmly captured in the pristine "Memorias Senior" (c.a. 1750) and "Memorias Curiel" (c.a. 1730). Finally one of the earliest documents "exposing" the indigenous "papiamentu" language can be found in the form of "Il dialetto Curassese" by Teza (1863). The Mongui Maduro Collection is situated in no ordinary library. Rather this remarkable collection is housed in antique cabinets, admidst a household setting that appears to have changed little since the heyday of the plantation houses.
An antique dresser with a mirror and a complete set of bedroom furniture are but a few of the items which tastefully decorate the valuable documents in a complete room-setting. Precious, large mahogany cabinets and even an immaculate antique 19th century "fontein" (or wall-fountain) carefully complement the main room.
While the original collection of Mongui Maduro forms the basis of the library, new publications on the Antilles are constantly being acquired so that it will continue to be an authoritative source on the evolution of political, social and cultural history of the Netherlands Antilles and Curaçao in particular.
One room has been set aside to honor the memory of Mongui's widow, Louise. It primarily contains her collection of the sea-shells and numerous handicraft objects. The latter were formerly for sale at the "Vereniging Huisvlijt" (Home Industry Association) of which she had been President for thirty-nine years.