Digitization for Access and Preservation

A Collaborative Project of the University of the Virgin Islands Libraries and the Virgin Islands Division of Libraries, Archives, and Museums

(Funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services)

About this Project
Project Home
UVI Libraries
Credits
DLAM
Help Us Grow!
  Return to Document  


JARVIS, J. ANTONIO

November 22, 1901 - July 21, 1963


Jose Antonio Jarvis was born on November 22, 1901, the offspring of a minister of the African Methodist Church, Joseph W. Jarvis and Mercedes Duvergee, a Roman Catholic St. Thomian. He was brought up by Miss Mary Hughustein, whom Jarvis referred to as his godmother, in a house on Gamble Gade in Savan. Young Antonio attended the Catholic School. His interest in journalism began rather early when he worked as a printers evil to Herbert Taylor, who owned a newspaper and then to "Lightbourn's Mail Notes." He contributed to it when it became George Audain's "St. Thomas Mail Notes" and years after became its assistant editor. The noted educator satarted teaching in 1924, first at the St. Thomas Academy, later, the same year, at Abraham Lincoln School. After passing exams in the public education system, he received an elementary certificate. He then taught at the Charlotte Amalie High School for eight years.

In 1927, he won an "Opportunity Award in Fine Arts", and in 1930 wrote the Virgin Islands Guide Book.

Mr. Jarvis first published the Daily News in 1930, a paper he owned and managed for many years. In 1932 after being transferred to Charlotte Amalie High School, he published his first book of poems, Fruits in Passing. Three years later he published his first large book Brief History of the Virgin Islands. In 1939 he first attended Colubia University in the summer and exhibited paintings at the New York World's Fair and the Golden State Exposition, where he won medals for his paintings.

In 1942 Jarvis was made principal of the Abraham Lincholn School, a post he held until May, 1963. During this period he published some of his finest works such as The King's Mandate, The Virgin Islands and Their People, and Virgin Islands Picture Book.

One of the greatest moments of his life took place on January, 1946 where in the setting of the White House, President Harry S. Truman presented Jarvis with the Selective Service Medal. He had the distinct honor of being the only Black man in the group. Jarvis loved his people and is tenderly remembered by many as a philanthropist more than a poet, historian or educator. He was guardian of many young St. Thomians, including Terrance Todman and Franklin Jarvis,

In 1961 he was selected as the historian of the Virgin Islands to write a school text on Virgin Islands history. The Legislature on June 18, 1960, appropriated $2,000 under Bill 416822 for a trip to Europe to consult the archives of Denmark and England for the purpose of researching source material to be used in his history text. Unfortunately, he died before completing this assignment. His notes are still unpublished and in possession of his son Franklin.

Antonio Jarvis died on July 21, 1963.



  Return to Document  
About this Project
Project Home
UVI Libraries
Credits
DLAM
Help Us Grow!




St. Croix Campus Library
RR 02, Box 10,000 Kingshill
St. Croix, VI 00850

Ralph M. Paiewonsky Library
#2 John Brewer's Bay
St. Thomas, VI 00802-9990