Liberian Photograph Collections

About Liberian Photograph Collections

The Liberian Collections Photograph Collection holds over 30,000 images from the 1940s to the present. Photographers include Liberian and American government officials and employees, private citizens, missionaries, development workers, concessions employees and ethnographic researchers.

As part of Indiana University's renowned Archives of Traditional Music (ATM), the IU Liberian Collections now enhances the ATM's rich holdings of audio and videotaped recordings of Liberian music and dance. The Liberian Collections include historical and ethnographic documents, newspapers, government publications, books, journals, dissertations, maps, slides, negatives, photographs, microfilms, audio & video tapes, artifacts and memorabilia.

For more information, visit the Indiana University Liberian Collections.

Collections

Whitten

Willie A. and Lucile S. Whitten Photography Collection

The Willie A. and Lucille S. Whitten Photography Collection contains nearly 700 images reproduced from slides taken during the Whittens’ stays in Liberia in the 1960s and 1970s. A native of Mississippi, Mr. Whitten first traveled to Liberia in 1963 on a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) project while completing his graduate studies in adult education. Whitten conducted research for his doctoral dissertation in Lofa County, receiving a Doctorate in Education from Indiana University in 1966. He continued as a USAID education officer in Liberia during the late 1960s. He returned to Liberia in the late 1970s and early 1980s, before and after the violent overthrow of the William Tolbert presidency in the military coup led by Samuel Doe in 1980. The collection includes photographs of the Liberian towns and schools Whitten visited in his USAID work, photographs of Liberian government and cultural events, and family photographs.

Tubman

William V.S. Tubman Photograph Collection

William Vacanarat Shadrach Tubman (1895-1971) was Liberia’s longest-serving president, in office from 1944 to 1971. During his presidency Tubman travelled extensively, visiting many African countries both pre- and post-independence, Haiti and Trinidad as well as other Caribbean countries, the United States and many European countries. In turn Liberia received frequent return visits by Heads of State and other high-ranking officials. The William V. S. Tubman Photography collection contains over 5,500 photographs, most documenting official functions such as trips, inspection tours, formal receptions and inaugurations. Tubman family member appear in many of the photographs in an official capacity, but the collection also includes family photographs. Most photographs were taken by official photographers for Liberia or the host governments.

Siegmann Photographs

William C. Siegmann Photograph Collection

William C. Siegmann (1943-2011) was a leading expert on the arts of Liberia and Sierra Leone and was particularly associated with West African masking traditions and performance. His interest was not only in their aesthetics, but in understanding the cultural meanings and context of these arts, including their relationship with cosmology, music and dance. During his career, Siegmann served as a curator at the Africana and National Museums in Liberia, Museum of the Society of African Missions African Art (NJ), Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and the Brooklyn Museum. He wrote and lectured extensively on the art of masquerades in Liberia and Sierra Leone, as well as on issues in museology, collecting, interpretation and connoisseurship. Siegmann shared his skills in collections development broadly, conducting frequent seminars on museum management and curatorial training in Europe, Africa, and South America. Both Siegmann’s papers and photographs are held by the Indiana University Liberian Collections.

McEvoy

Frederick D McEvoy Photograph Collection

This is the collection of anthropologist Fred McEvoy’s photographs from his 1967-1968 research among Sabo labor migrants in southeastern Liberia. McEvoy's major research sites were the Sabo home area in Webbo District of Grand Gedeh County (now in River Gee County) and the Firestone Company's Cavalla Plantation in Maryland County.

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