Liberian Collections

Liberian Collections

Herman B Wells Library
1320 East Tenth Street
Bloomington, Indiana 47405, United States
Visit Liberian Collections
Attention Visiting Researchers: The Liberian Collections are currently closed for research. The Liberian Collections maintains the world’s largest non-governmental collection of Liberian materials. Holdings spanning back to the 1820s include personal papers of Liberian political leaders, intellectuals and scholars, ethnographic research records, government publications, newspapers and photographs.

Our Collections

Bai T. Moore Papers, 1919-2004

Bai T. Moore was a renowned poet and author whose work was greatly influenced by his experiences growing up in Liberia. In addition to Moore's career as a writer, he served as a government official for several years, first as Chief of the Liberian Bureau of Agriculture, and later, as Deputy Minister of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism. This collection consists of government papers, ethnographic materials, published works, manuscripts, and drafts of his writings.
Collection ID: LCP2005/008

Dorith Ofri-Scheps Collection, 1991-1992

Dorith Minna Ofri-Scheps (1930-2015), known as "Jɛbɛ" to the Vai people, was a linguist and scholar of the Vai language and culture. Her dissertation, "On the Object of ethnology: a propos of the Vai culture of Liberia 1963-88" was submitted and defended in 1991, at the University of Bern, after the outbreak of the First Liberian Civil War had interrupted her field research.Her correspondence covers many aspects of Vai language and culture, touching on the cumulative work of August Klingenheben, Bai Tamia Moore, Gail Stewart, Jangaba Johnson, C. K. Kandakai, and many others. Her research drew on interviews with Mɔmɔlu Cole, and her assistants included Morris Davies, who died in the war, Fatu Kiazolu, and in later life Poppy Willard.
Collection ID: AS2

E. Reginald Townsend and Evelyn Diggs Townsend Papers, 1905-2002

E. Reginald Townsend (1917-1980) is best known as the man who built Liberia's Information Service. He served as Press Secretary and Chief of the Bureau (now the Department of Information, Culture and Tourism) to William V.S. Tubman, President of Liberia from 1944 to 1971, and as Minister of State for Presidential Affairs to William R. Tolbert, President of Liberia from 1971 to 1980. Townsend's wife, Evelyn Diggs Townsend (1932-2004), was involved in and led several church and women's organizations. After a coup brought down the Tolbert government and resulted in her husband's execution in 1980, she worked to attain peace in Liberia. The materials in this collection include papers from the years of Reginald Townsend's service during the Tubman and Tolbert presidencies and those from Evelyn Townsend's work in many service organizations, as well as personal correspondence and memorabilia from the Townsend family
Collection ID: IULC002

Frederick Dean McEvoy Collection, 1956-1979

The collection consists of field notes, research material, manuscripts and conference papers. Also included is a list of conference dates and papers that coincide. There is also a removed material Bibliography.
Collection ID: LCP2008/004

Friends of Liberia Collection, 1963-2014

The Friends of Liberia collection consists of educational, and government material. Within the collection there is also information about the organization, and "subject files."
Collection ID: LCP2008/001

Jeanette Carter Papers, 1928-2013

The Jeanette Carter Papers spans the dates 1928-2014. Renowned anthropologist on West Africa and women, this collections includes her research on women in Liberia and the Gambia, personal accounts of the Liberian Civil War, her field notes, research on ethnic groups, and extensive reports, publications and news articles on Liberia.
Collection ID: IULC025

Jeanette Carter Reports, 1973-2011

The materials in the Jeanette Carter Reports include reports published by international organizations, the Liberian government and various countries. It also consists of clippings from international news media websites, programs and publications and correspondence.
Collection ID: LCP2012/01

J. Gus Liebenow Collection, 1882-2011

J. Gus Liebenow was a professor emeritus of political science at Indiana University. Starting his tenure in 1958, Liebenow also served as the dean for Research and Advanced Studies as well as vice president and dean of Academic Affairs. In 1961, he also found the University's African Studies Program. This collections consists of lecture notes, personal files, department records, Liebenow's writings, and materials from numerous organizations he was affiliated with.
Collection ID: LCP2007/02

John Gay Collection, 1916-2002

John Gay is a former professor and current scholar of Liberian and African studies. He began his career as a missionary for the Episcopal Church, teaching at Cuttington College in Liberia. John also had a number of fellowships that allowed him to develop his research and publish several works covering the civil war conflicts, culture, and social issues in Liberia. Though retired, John continues to have an active role in Liberian studies and currently serves on the Advisory Committee of the International Institute for Justice and Development. This collection contains his research, student publications, and other scholarly works.
Collection ID: LCP2002/001

Kathleen d'Azevedo Papers, 1956-1996

The Kathleen d'Azevedo collection spans the dates 1956-1996. The collection consists of d'Azevedo's research on school-aged children from various villages in Liberia as well as correspondence and programs.
Collection ID: IULC015

Liberian Government Archives I, 1828-1911

The collection consists of correspondence, reports, records, minutes, and other miscellaneous manuscript items. These materials are typically either photocopies of items from the Liberian Archives in Monrovia, Liberia, or are typescript copies/notes created by Dr. Holsoe in the course of his research. The collection also includes material from the research notebooks of Dr. Peter Murdza.
Collection ID: LCP006

Liberian Government Archives II, 1911-1968

The collection consists of correspondence, reports, records, minutes, and other miscellaneous manuscript items. These materials are typically either photocopies of items from the Liberian Archives in Monrovia, Liberia, or are typescript copies/notes created by Dr. Holsoe in the course of his research. The collection also includes material from the research notebooks of Dr. Peter Murdza.
Collection ID: LCP2006/003

Peter Sevareid Papers, 1967-2005

The materials in the Peter Sevareid Papers include correspondence, one of Sevareid's publication drafts, and conferences programs and papers. It also consists of research materials, including publications, reports, news clippings and interviews from the Liberian Customary Law Project.
Collection ID: LCP005

Raymond Smyke Collection, 1951-2003

Raymond Smyke worked in African education for over 30 years teaching and developing programs to assist teachers and leaders in English and French speaking countries. He was the executive secretary of the World Confederation of Teachers and published several books and articles on Africa, especially on Momulu Massaquoi, a king of the Vai people and the first indigenous African diplomat, and his family
Collection ID: LCP2005/002

The A. Romeo Horton Collection, 1959-2007

A. Romeo Horton was best known in Liberia as a banker, the founder and former president of Liberia's first indigenous bank, the Bank of Liberia. Horton was also a dedicated public servant and was committed to economic cooperation in West Africa. In addition to his work in Liberia, Horton also had a successful career in Philadelphia as the president of the Phildelphia Corporation for Development and Cooperation and helped establish the United Bank of Philadelphia. This collection contains materials pertaining to his career as a banker, his involvement with numerous organizations, government materials, and his manuscripts and drafts.
Collection ID: LCP2012/03

The David Zuber Collection, 1989-2004

The materials in the David Zuber Collection include reports, newsletters, and news clippings from various agencies.
Collection ID: IULC014

The Fr. Christopher K. Kandakai Collection, 1928-2011

A student of Cuttington College, Fr. Christopher K. Kandakai became an ordained Epsicopal priest in 1951. He was Liberia's longest serving Episocpal priest and served as rector and priest-in-charge of many Episcopal churches in Liberia and trained many Episcopal theologians. Additionally, Kandakai was an avid linguist who translated the New Testament into both Gola and Vai languages. This collections contains materials pertaining to the Episcopal Church as well as to adult education and linguistics. A large selection of his materials are written in Vai, only one of two African languages with an original script, unrelated to Latin or Arabic.
Collection ID: LCP2011/05

The Gerald Currens Collection, 1918-2002

Gerald Currens' experience with Liberia began in 1951 as a Lutheran missionary. In 1968 he began his graduate studies in anthropology at the University of Oregon, which had a strong program focused on Liberia. In December 1971, Currens began his abroad research in Liberia for his PhD dissertation study on upland rice cultivation and other features of subsistence based economies in rural Liberia. His main area of study was Lawalazu which is a Loma speaking town several miles from Voinjama, the capital for Lofa County. The collection consists of his field notes, data, questionnaires, personal research documents, personal and nonpersonal published and unpublished papers, copies of "The Loma Weekly," and a great variety of small educational readers produced by the Loma Literacy Center.
Collection ID: LCP2012/02

The Jana Bertkau Collection, 1959-1995

The materials in the Jana Bertkau Collection include notes and publications pertaining to Liberian linguistics, specifically the Bassa language.
Collection ID: IULC010

The Jane Martin Collection, 1966-1997

The Jane Martin Collection contains materials she gathered including reports, newsletters, and programs. Also included are materials pertaining to the Rajo Poetry Contest
Collection ID: IULC011

The Liberian Newspaper Collection, 1941-2011

The Liberian Newspaper Collection is one of the largest collections of Liberian newspapers in the world. An exhaustive list of titles, including many with small circulation or a limited run. The collection is ever growing and the finding aid will be updated frequently to reflect the additional titles.
Collection ID: LCP001

The Norman R. Peters Collection, 1965-1981

Norman R. Peters was a member of the United States Peace Corps who spent over four years in Liberia. The collection contains handwritten and typed stories regarding the local Gborbo Krahn people as well as news related material on the 1980 coup.
Collection ID: IULC016

The Svend Holsoe Collection: Edward James Roye Materials, 1811-1986

The materials in The Svend Holsoe Collection: Edward James Roye Materials include research materials and manuscripts of Holsoe's work pertaining to Edward James Roye, Liberia's 5th president.
Collection ID: IULC035

The Svend Holsoe Collection: Vai Materials, 1924-1995

The Svend Holsoe Collection: Vai Materials contains information about the Vai, both the ethnic group and language of Liberia and South-Eastern Sierra Leone. Included is Holsoe's dissertation, research, photocopied 19th century documents on the region, people, and language, as well as reference materials and writing samples of the unique Vai script.
Collection ID: IULC039

The Svend Holsoe Newspaper Collection, 1830-1979

The materials in The Svend Holsoe Newspaper Collection are originals, photocopies, and citations from numerous small press newspapers in Liberia and West Africa. Most are from the 19th century and early 20th century.
Collection ID: IULC036/IULC022

The W.A. Whitten Collection, 1962-1991

Willie A. Whitten completed his Ed.D. from Indiana University in 1966. He made several trips to Liberia throughout the 1960s and 1970s as a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) worker in order to gather research for his dissertation. His research interests include education in Liberian villages with an emphasis on adult education and the conducting and planning of town meetings. This collection consists of newspaper and magazine articles from Liberia, government reports, and materials from the Voinjama School District, as well as 11 open reel tape recordings of town meetings and music from Liberian tribes. Also included are a collection of color transparencies showing images of tribal villages and culture, as well as a set of 86 artifacts containing items such as musical instruments, household tools, textiles, and decorative figurines.
Collection ID: LCP2009/004

The William Kory Collection, 1959-1995

The materials in the William Kory Collection include papers and publications collected by Kory on Liberia. These materials include censuses, Liberian Studies Association papers, and geographic materials.
Collection ID: IULC013

The William Siegmann Collection, 1932-2007

William Siegmann was the leading expert on the arts in Liberia and Sierra Leone. His collection contains an exhaustive lists of resources, both primary and secondary, pertaining to the arts, culture, language, and history of Liberia and Sierra Leone. Also included are materials from his various projects, espeically those from his "Aesthetics of Power: African Art Along the Windward Coast." Correspondence with various museums and universities, personal and teaching materials are also in this collection.
Collection ID: IULC038

Warren d'Azevedo Collection, 1895-2001

Warren d'Azevedo is a retired ethnographer, renowned for his work in anthropology and African studies. D'Azevedo began his research in the 1950s, focusing primarily on African cultures, including the Gola ethnic group of Liberia and the Native American Washoe culture of the Great Basin. This collection consists of d'Azevedo's writings, photographs, memorabilia, and U.S. and Liberian government documents and teaching materials.
Collection ID: LCP2001/001

William V.S. Tubman Papers, 1904-1992

William V. S. Tubman (1895-1971), Liberia's longest serving President, served from 1944–1971. Tubman's presidency was marked by great changes in the economy, politics and social environment of Liberia. The materials in the collection include papers from the years of Tubman's presidency, his personal correspondence and memorabilia from Tubman's family.
Collection ID: LCP2005/014.EAP 027