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Holsoe County Surveys, 1981-1994

Electronic finding aid encoded by Megan MacDonald

Summary Information

Liberian Collections
Indiana University
504 North Fess Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47408
Phone: (812) 856-0782

Holsoe, Svend E.

Holsoe County Surveys,1981-1994

Collection No.

5 cubic feet; 5 records cartons

Materials are primarily in English

This collection consists of census materials for various counties in Liberia including correspondence, maps, reports, statistics and indexes. Many of the different Chiefdoms and Clans are represented.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Biographical Note

Over the course of his prolific scholarly career, anthropologist Svend Einar Holsoe has greatly advanced our knowledge and understanding of the history and culture of the peoples of Liberia. During his youth, Holsoe’s family lived in Liberia for nine years. His interest in a close study of this country and its peoples began during his senior year in high school. Asked to write an essay on his hometown for his senior English course, Holsoe chose Monrovia, only to discover the dearth of material on the nation and its people. It was at this moment, he says, that he dedicated himself to finding and collecting printed materials on Liberia.

Unparalleled in his dedication to the preservation of documents and artifacts on Liberia, in 1997 Holsoe donated his collection of materials to Indiana University’s Archives of Traditional Music, Liberian Collections Project, Mathers Museum, and Art Museum. A product of his years of research and relentless materials collection, The Svend E. Holsoe Collection is one of the largest and most comprehensive deposits of resources on the West African nation. The Collection includes: copies of Liberian Government Archive Documents between 1824-1983 ; extensive genealogical records, including analyses and family trees developed from these records; political, institutional, social and cultural surveys from the 1980s Liberia Rural Radio Project; field notes and oral history tapes of Vai and Bandi research; Vai script materials, including research notes, examples and articles; and slides and photos spanning decades and covering many geographical areas and activities. Due to looting and the destruction of Liberia’s National Archives during the civil war that began in 1989, the Liberian Government Archives, part of the Holsoe Collection, contains the only extant copies of important historical and cultural documents.

During his career, Holsoe published numerous important scholarly contributions on Liberia. As early as 1966, Holsoe's article, “The Condo Confederation in Western Liberia,” was published in the Liberian Historical Review . Over the next thirty years, Holsoe wrote twenty-seven articles related to Liberia for numerous publications. Holsoe and D. Elwood Dunn collaborated on the first edition of The Historical Dictionary of Liberia (1984). He followed up this major project as a co-author of A Land and Life Remembered: Americo-Liberian Folk Architecture (1988). More recently, he co-edited African American Exploration in West Africa (2003).

A co-founder of the Liberian Studies Association, Holsoe created and edited the Liberian Studies Journal from 1968 to 1978, as well as a Liberian Studies Monograph Series. In 1999, Indiana University awarded Holsoe the Chancellors’ Medallion in honor of his unique contributions to scholarship. In presenting the honor, Chancellor Kenneth Gros Louis said of Holsoe: “We know, thanks to his collecting and preserving, thanks to his selfless donation to a public university which will make his work available to all in what we hope will be perpetuity, that Svend Holsoe has done more than his part to ensure that much of what constitutes the country and the cultures of Liberia will remain, and that we, as stewards of his materials, will harvest richly from his efforts.” Indeed, Holsoe's scholarly legacy and invaluable collection will long remain an indispensable source of information and inspiration to future scholars of Liberia.

Scope and Content

7 published handbooks, plus correspondence, maps, rough drafts, fieldnotes. Some government publications, esp. prior census materials (1920s-1970s) in supplementary material. Lofa, Bong, Grand Gedeh, Nimba (rural counties) are best represented. Maryland, Sinoe, and Grand Kru counties are not yet represented.

  • Indexing Terms

  • The following terms have been used to index this collection.

    • Names
    • Holsoe, Svend E.
    • Places
    • Liberia -- History -- 20th Century
    • Liberia -- Politics and Government -- 20th Century
    • Bomi County (Liberia)
    • Bong County (Liberia)
    • Grand Bassa County (Liberia)
    • Grand Cape Mount County (Liberia)
    • Grand Jide County (Liberia)
    • Lofa County (Liberia)
    • Margibi County (Liberia)
    • Montserrado County (Liberia)
    • Nimba County (Liberia)
    • River Cess County (Liberia)
    • Topics
    • Indigenous Peoples -- Liberia

Processing Note

Arranged October 2003. Some large maps and computer disks removed. Countries are arranged alphabetically, but Holsoe's original order roughly correlating to geography is maintained within each. Each country has a separate report not yet processed.

Administrative Information

User Restrictions
All research at the Liberian Collections Project is by appointment only. See collection Guidelines for further information about photocopy requests and permissions for publication:
Preferred Citation
[item], Holsoe County Surveys, Bloomington, IN: Liberian Collections, Indiana University Libraries, 2009
Copyright Transferred
Copyright interests for this collection have been transferred to the Trustees of Indiana University. For more information, contact the Indiana University Liberian Collections
Processed by
Megan MacDonald

Series: Box 1 BOMI COUNTY

Subseries: Box 1 General Folders


Rough Notes #1

Exceprts from Bai T. Moore "On the Dewoin People", n.d.

Names List (bibliography?), n.d.

Central Government Officials, 7 Nov 1983

Rough Notes #2

History, 17 Oct 1991

Bomi Territory Administrators, 1974

Subseries: Box 1 Bopolu-Suehn District Folders

Dei Cheifdom

Bulugba Clan

Deigbo Clan

Gbaavon Clan

Zo Clan

Lofa-Gola Chiefdom

Boje Clan

Gbor Clan

Gobla Clan

Kpo Clan

Mana Clan

Senje Clan

Teh Clan

Subseries: Box 1 Mecca District Folder:

Mecca Chiefdom

Uppa Mecca

Lower Mecca

St. Paul District Notes

Series: Box 1 BONG COUNTY

Subseries: Box 1 General Folders


Commerical topographical map, 1968

County map showing districts, 1986

Photocopies of topographical map

Census of Population and Household, 1974

Notes 1#

Paramount Chiefs, 1915-1960s

Excerpt from Daily Log, 3 Feb 1984-5 Feb 1984

Notes #2

Language Maps of Liberia and Gbanga Station, n.d.

Population Statistics from Census, 1978

Maps of Kpelle Chiefdoms, 1978-1979

Distances between Gbanga and Palela, 12 Jan 1986

Structural Diagrams of County Government, 3 Jul 1983

Photography of Published Photo: "The Paramount Chief at Gbanga with his Favorite Son", n.d.

Table: "Distribution of Localities by Major Languages" , n.d.

Handbook Draft: "IV. Current Institutional Activities" , 21 Dec 1983 , 12 Jan 1984

Distances Between Gbanga & Various, n.d.

Notes #3: "Kpelle Central Province"

Superintendents, 1964-1983

District Divisions, 1932

Sections for & Against Government, 1917

Schools in Zone 6

Names & propositions from Daily Observer & Bong Crier, 1982-1983

Census Photocopies, 1974

Handbook Draft: "IV. Current Institutional Activities", 2 June 1983

"People's Magisterial Court" & other notes on Couty System, n.d.

"Number of Health Workers by Professional Categories", 27 June 1983

Rubber Corporation, n.d.

County Officials, 27 June 1983

Wells, n.d.

Notes #4

Fieldnotes, n.d.

Trip Report, 27 Feb 1984

Handbook Work Plan, Aug 1982-June 1983

Notes on Handbook Design, 1984

Bibliography, 1984

Subseries: Box 1 Jorkwele District Folders

Jorkwele Chiefdom, 1984

Maps Photocopies


Handbook excerpt: "Historical Information

Jorkwele Chiefdom/Behekwele Clan, 1983

Maps photocopies

Survey responses

Jorkwele Chiefdom/Gbanshe Clan, 1983

Maps photocopies

Survey responses

Jorkwele Chiefdom/Jorkpolu Clan, 1984

Maps photocopies

Survey responses

Jorkwele Chiefdom/Behekwele Clan, 1984

Maps photocopies

Survey responses

Jorkwele Chiefdom/Sheansu Clan, 1983

Maps photocopies

Survey responses

Subseries: Box 1 Kokoya District Folders

Kokoya Chiefdom

Kokoya Chiefdom/Bonwein Clan

Kokoya Chiefdom/Kokoya Clan

Kokoya Chiefdom/Senwein

Kokoya Chiefdom/Tukpabli

Subseries: Box 1 Panta-Kpai District Folders


Panta Chiefdom

Panta Chiefdom/Panta Clan

Panta Chiefdom/Wuna Clan

Kpai Chiefdom

Kpai Chiefdom/Wetua Clan

Kpai Chiefdom/Wolata Clan

Subseries: Box 1 Salala District Folders

Nyaforkwele Chiefdom

Nyaforkwele Chiefdom/Kornorye Clan

Nyaforkwele Chiefdom/Kuwrongwoala Clan

Nyaforkwele Chiefdom/Kpatoli Clan

Nyaforkwele Chiefdom/Nyaforkwele Clan

Subseries: Box 1 Suakoko District Folders

Suakoko Chiefdom

Suakoko Chiefdom/Gaiye Clan

Suakoko Chiefdom/Kpatawee Clan

Suakoko Chiefdom/Kporyorkwele Clan

Suakoko Chiefdom/Suakoko Clan

Suakoko Chiefdom/Tongboyah Clan

Suakoko Chiefdom/Yandewein Clan

Suakoko Chiefdom/Zeansu Clan


Subseries: Box 1 General Folders


Rough Notes #1

Exceprts from Liberian News (Sept 1924); Bill's Notes "Concerning New Cess" (n.d.); 1962 County Census Publication (1962)

Rough Notes #2

Draft, 5 Nov 1991

Subseries: Box 1 District #1 Folders

Rough Notes

1A Cheifdom (Joya)

Doe-Doe Wein Clan; Soniwein Clan; Wehnsohn Clan

1B Chiefdom (Tenor)

Nyonwein Clan; Mehwein Clan; Sewein Clan

Subseries: Box 1 District #2 Folders


2A Cheifdom (Glarkon)

Goingbe Clan; Hoegban Clan; Kabli Clan; Marbli Clan; Marloe Clan; Peter Harris Clan; Varmbo Clan

2B Cheifdom (Camwood)

Boe-Glayn Clan; Chan #1 Clan; Chan #2 Clan; Gbor Clan' Gogowein Clan

Subseries: Box 1 District #3 (Gbezohn) Folders


3A Cheifdom (Gbezohn)

Dorzohn-Goryah Clan; Gorbli Clan; Neekreen Clan; Zeewein Clan

3B Chiefdom (Gbewen)

Gbarwein Clan; Gbaryah Clan; Seeyah Clan; When-Gba-Kon Clan; Wrogba Clan

Municipality of Buchanan

Subseries: Box 1 District #4 (Timbo) Folders


4 Chiefdom

Doe Gbahn Clan; Gianda Clan; Grand Kola Clan; Neepu Clan; New Cess Clan; Trade Town Clan

Gbeta Kru Chiefdom


Subseries: Box 2 General Folders


Tourist map & travel guide (1965); Commercial topographical map (1968); Photocopies of topographical maps (n.d.)

Notes #1

Acts passed by legislature (1932)

Report Draft, 7 Nov 1991 

Locality Index, 7 Nov 1991

Box 2 District Folders

Report Draft: Gawula-Kone District, 7 Nov 1991

Gawula Chiefdom/Kiadil Clan

Gawula Chiefdom/Kiahon Clan

Gawula Chiefdom/Kiazolo Clan

Gawula Chiefdom/Manobala Clan

Gawula Chiefdom/Zorgbor Clan

Tombe Chiefdom/Fusaa Clan

Tombe Chiefdom/Kiakpongbor Clan

Tombe Chiefdom/Kiatamba Clan

Tombe Chiefdom/Seiwana Clan

Tombe Chiefdom/Sombai Clan

Tombe Chiefdom/Sombai Badalo Clan

Gola-Kone Chiefdom/Dablo Clan

Gola-Kone Chiefdom/La Clan

Gola-Kone Chiefdom/Mana Clan

Gola-Kone Chiefdom/Gion Clan

Gola-Kone Chiefdom/Kiazolo Clan

Gola-Kone Chiefdom/Zolu Duma Clan

Report Draft: Tewo District , 7 Nov 1991

Kpokpa Chiefdom/Dagole Clan

Kpokpa Chiefdom/Dazambo Clan

Kpokpa Chiefdom/Kposo Clan

Kpokpa Chiefdom/Semavule Clan

Kpokpa Chiefdom/Sokpo Clan

Kpokpa Chiefdom/Kposo Clan

Tewo Chiefdom/Dagoh Clan

Tewo Chiefdom/Dasen Clan

Tewo Chiefdom/Fahnbulleh Clan

Tewo Chiefdom/Getawe Clan

Tewo Chiefdom/Golafali Clan

Tewo Chiefdom/Jaleiba Clan

Tewo Chiefdom/Kiawu Clan

Tewo Chiefdom/Kiatamba Clan

Tewo Chiefdom/Kroma Clan

Tewo Chiefdom/Mendemassa Clan

Tewo Chiefdom/Paaseve Clan

Tewo Chiefdom/Sambola Clan


Subseries: Box 2 General Folders

Bibliographies, 1984,  undated

Rough Notes

Sociocultural Report, 1984-1985  , undated

Subseries: Box 2 Gbason District Folders

Rough Notes

Biai Chiefdom

Report Draft, Oct 1985

Gbason Chiefdom

Report Draft, Oct 1985

Gbason Chiefdom

Map tracings


Subseries: Box 2 Tchien Distict Folders

Tchien Chiefdom

Tchien Chiefdom/Gborgo-Niabo Clan

Tchien Cheifdom/Menyon-Kaira Clan

Tchien Chiefdom/Menzon-Gboro Clan

Subseries: Box 2 Konobo District Folders

Rough Notes

Konobo Chiefdom

Gbilibo-Gbalu Clan; Glio-Twabo Clan

Putu Chiefdom

Gbaegbo Clan; Jibehgo Clan

Subseries: Box 2 Gbepo District Folders

Notes and Draft, 19 Dec 1986

Maps and Tracings

Chedepo Chiefdom

Subseries: Box 2 Webo District Folders

Rough Notes

Map Tracings

Survey Results, Feb 1984

Sabo Cheifdom

Sabo-Palipo Clan; Kitiebo-Glaro Clan

Webo Cheifdom

Tuobo Clan; Webo Clan

Bound Report, 1986

Subseries: Sahlipia-Ma District

Report, 1986

Series: Box 2 LOFA COUNTY

Subseries: Box 2 General Folders

Bibliography, 28 Dec 1981

"Incomplete Preliminary Draft", 9 June 1985



5 folders

Rural/Regional Planning, 1976

Subseries: Box 2 Bopolu District Folders

Rough Notes

Bopolu Chiefdom

Bunde-Mandingo Clan; Gonbeya Clan; Tawola-Wonnoa Clan

Bokomu Clan

Bokumu Clan; Goua Clan

Belle Chiefdom

Belle Chiefdom - "Materials for a History of Western Liberia: The Belle", 1971

Belle Chiefdom - "The Traditions, History, and Folklore of the Belle Tribe", 1969

Belle Chiefdom/Batti Clan

Belle Chiefdom/Lobaizu Clan

Subseries: Box 2 Gbama District Folders

Rough Notes

Goje Chiefdom

Gbama Clan; Yangaya Clan

Kongba Chiefdom

Jawajei Clan; Zui Clan

Subseries: Box 2 Guma District Folders

Guma Chiefdom/Mende Clan

Subseries: Box 2 Kolahun District Folders

Survey Results, Apr 1984

Bandi Chiefdom

Bandi Chiefdom/Hasala Clan

Bandi Chiefdom/Hembe Clan

Bandi Chiefdom/Lucasu Clan

Bandi Chiefdom/Tahamba Clan

Bandi Chiefdom/Wanwuma Clan

Bandi Chiefdom/Wulukoha Clan

Kissi Chiefdom/Tengia Clan - Reort Draft, 1992

Kissi Chiefdom/Tengia Clan - Reort Draft, 1986

Kissi Chiefdom/Waum Clan

Subseries: Box 2 Voinjama District Folders


"A Social Institutional Survey", Bunde-Wubomai Chiefdom and Kwadu-Boni Chiefdom, 1993

includes 4 4 inch computer discs

Survey Results, Apr 1984

Bunde-Wubomai Cheifdom

Bunde-Wubomai Cheifdom/Bunde Clan

Bunde-Wubomai Cheifdom/Lower Workor Clan

Bunde-Wubomai Cheifdom/Upper Workor Clan

Kwandu-Bomi Chiefdom/Kwandu-Bomi Clan

Subseries: Box 3 Zorzor District Folders

Survey Results, Apr 1984

Kpelle Chiefdom - Report Draft, 1987

Kpelle Chiefdom - Report Draft, May 1986

Kpelle Chiefdom/Gbalein Clan

Kpelle Chiefdom/Palama Clan

Kpelle Chiefdom/Vavala Clan

Loma Chiefdom - Report Draft, 1993

Loma Chiefdom/Bluyema Clan

Loma Chiefdom/Bluyema Clan

Loma Chiefdom/Gissima Clan

Loma Chiefdom/Ziehma Clan

Bound Report: Kolahun District, 1986

Bound Report: Voinjama & Zorzor Districts, 1986


Subseries: Box 3 General Folders


Rough Notes

Excerpts from "Missionary Exploration of Liberia" (1871); administration & maps (n.d)

Subseries: Box 3 Mamban-Kaba District Folders

Notes on Marshall Territory

Kaba Chiefdom

Mamban Chiefdom

Subseries: Box 3 Other Districts:

Marshall City




Firestone Plantation


General Folder: Rough Notes

Monrovia Folder: Monrovia& Environs


Series: Box 3 NIMBA COUNTY

Subseries: Box 3 General Folders

Bibliography, 6 Mar 1994

Commercial Maps, 1968

Nimba County Profile,

Published Maps

"Carte schematique des courants migratoires" (1948); "Die Dan", n.d.; "Mano & Gio Clans and Chiefdoms", n.d.; Excerpts from field notebook (distances to Saklipia to Tapita), n.d.

Report Draft Table of Contents, 6 June 1987

Rough Notes #1

Political Structure; Excerpts from "Uberliefurungen aus Nordestliberia" (Traditions from Northern East Liberia) (1939)

Rough Notes #2

Letters and Envelopes to County Commissioners, 3 Feb 1986; Distances in Saklipia, n.d.; Photocopy of St. Jerome's Field Trip Notebook, Apr-May 1984; Photocopy of Lorette's Field Trip Notebook, Apr-May 1984

Subseries: Box 3 Saklipia District Folders

Saklipia-Ma Chiefdom/Report Draft, 4 May 1986

Gbana Clan; Gbei Clan; Lisonoh Clan; Loo Clan; Wei Clan; Zaan Clan

Subseries: Box 3 Sanikwelle District Folders

Sanikwelle-Ma Chiefdom/Report Draft, 3 May 1986 

Bein Clan; Bua Clan; Gaa Clan; Gbehng Clan; Sei Clan; Yaamein Clan

Sanikwelle-Ma Chiefdom/Rough Notes

Yarpea-Ma Chiefdom/Report Draft, p Mar 1994 

Duo Clan; Gbein Clan; Kpaiyee Clan

Subseries: Box 3 Boo-Kehlei District Folders

Boo-Kehlei Chiefdom

Boo-Kehlei Chiefdom/Report Draft, 19 June 1990 

Boo Clan; Kehlei Clan; Yurpea Clan

Subseries: Box 3 Kanple District Folders

Gbehlei-Geh Chiefdom

Gbehlei-Geh Chiefdom/Gbehlei Clan

Gbehlei-Geh Chiefdom/Gborple Clan

Gbehlei-Geh Chiefdom/Sorlei Clan

Gbehlei-Geh Chiefdom/Srohlei Clan

Gbehlei-Geh Chiefdom/Zor Clan

Subseries: Box 3 Kpabli District Folders

Kpabli Chiefdom

Dyorworwli Clan; Kpabli Clan

Subseries: Box 3 Tapita District Folders

Amalgamated Gio Chiefdom

Amalgamated Gio Chiefdom/Report Draft, 19 June 1990

Amalgamated Gio Chiefdom/Doo Clan

Amalgamated Gio Chiefdom/Gbea Clan

Amalgamated Gio Chiefdom/Gblor Clan

Subseries: Box 3 Yawein-Mehnsonoh Distric Folders

Yawein-Mehnsonoh Chiefdom

Yawein-Mehnsonoh Chiefdom/Report Draft, Jan 20 1990

Mesonoh Clan; Yawein Clan; Zehnla Clan

Subseries: Box 3 Zo-Geh District Folders

Zo-Geh Chiefdom

Zo-Geh Chiefdom/Butulu Clan

Zo-Geh Chiefdom/Gbao Clan

Zo-Geh Chiefdom/Yalei Clan

Zo-Geh Chiefdom/Zo Clan

Subseries: Box 3 Gbi-Doru District Folders

Gbi-Doru Chiefom

Doru Clan; Gbi Clan

Bound Report #1: Saklipia & Sanikwelle Districts, 1987

Bound Report #2: Saklipia & Sanikwelle Districts (copy), 1987


Subseries: Box 3 General Folders



Population Census of River Cess Territory 1962

Subseries: Box 3 River Cess (Timbo) District Folders


River Cess District Established (retyped) 1923

5A Chiefdom

5C Chiefdom

Gbeta Kru Chiefdom

Rock Cess Interior

Subseries: Box 3 Moweh District Folder:

5B Chiefdom


Community Health Survey Report, undated

County Health Department, undated


Assorted Maps

3 folders

Conference: "How to Put Liberia Back Together", 10 May 1991

Duplicate Publications and Teaching Handouts

Ethnographic Survey Schedule

Locality With Populations Over 100 or More by District, Clan, and Locality, 1976

Samori Materials

Survey Notes and Bibliographies

West African Resources

Unprocessed Materials

Includes floppy and hard disks

Includes box 5