Photographs depicting the women's Sande Society, school, ceremonies, dances and other scenes in Wozi, Liberia. Collection also includes two CDs containing scans of slides.
See finding aid to records of the American Ethnological Society for additional information.
The collection, which dates from circa 1812-1895 and measures .06 linear feet, is comprised of correspondence from Liberian elected officials and diplomats, and other individuals involved in the American Colonization Society. The primary recipient of these letters is Benjamin W. Austin, an American autograph collector and historian. The collection also includes a lithograph image of Joseph James Cheeseman, the president of Liberia from 1892 until his death in 1896; a collection of autograph cards bearing the signatures of other members of the Liberian government; and a newspaper clipping of an article on the American Colonization Society.
Photographs documenting Liberian people and their natural and built environments, including the Saint Paul River, rock formations, barricades, dwellings, and other structures.
Photographs taken by Richard Flach during his work with the Firestone Rubber Plantation near Monrovia, Liberia, during the 1930s. Photographs assembled in an album entitled, A Pictorial Story of Two Years Service on the Firestone Rubber Plantation, Monrovia, Liberia, West Africa: Jan. 5, 1936-Mar. 4, 1938.
Photographs taken by Allan L. Pitcher, a Foreign Service officer working and traveling in Nigeria, Cameroon, Liberia, Ghana and Upper Volta. Images include individual and group portraits of men, women and children, leaders and village elders. There are numerous images of markets to include close-ups of market stalls and street views. Also included are images of rites, ceremonies and various dance performances in Liberia, among the boys about to enter the initiation camp, women of Sande society and dances performed in conjunction with government ceremonies. Another focus of the photography are industry and economic activities. Slides show rubber production in Firestone Rubber plantation (Liberia), mining and dam construction. Among the most important images are architectural shots, which include African residences as well as official buildings. Pitcher also photographed the Esso station with the screens by Adebisi Akanji and a shrine in Oshogbo.
Photographs taken by Thomas Weir in Liberia to document Liberian culture, 1960-1966. The photographs document the architecture, arts, events and peoples of Liberia, particularly the Bassa, Kru and Vai. Activities documented include blacksmithing, ivory carving, the making of a dugout canoe, pottery, market vending and basket and cloth weaving. Architectural images include government ministries, hospitals, schools and numerous street scenes in Monrovia, as well as Bassa houses and villages. Art works depicted include paintings on houses and signs, as well as paintings, sculptures and textiles created as tourist art. Events documented include official government ceremonies with staged indigenous dances; rituals in villages such as young members of the female sande society returning from the initiation camp; and visits by foreign heads of state such as Queen Elizabeth II and Josip Broz Tito of Yoguslavia. Liberians portrayed include President William V.S. Tubman and the people of Monrovia and other towns.
Photographs taken by Warren Robbins during a research trip to Cameroon, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal and Ghana in 1982.
Photographs of West Africa, mostly from Lagos and coastal Nigeria, 1877-1895. There are high quality pictures of trading houses and residences in Lagos, often with the name of the owners given in the caption. One of the buildings depicted is the cathedral. Several exceptional images portray chiefs, such as the King of Opobo, and the wives of the King of Opobo, the Balogun of Epe, the Alake of Abeokuta, and the chief of New Calabar. Of greatest interest is a photograph entitled "Benin Gods" which shows figures from the Kingdom of Brass, taken in circa 1877/1878. There are also views of Cape Coast, Elmina, Accra, Wydah, Fernando Poo, Porto Novo, Grand Popo, and one from Liberia. The themes range from architecture to dances and weddings. Of particular interest are two depictions of fancy dress.
Photographs taken and postcards gathered by Philip M. Abrams during his travels through Liberia, Mali, Guinea, Cote d'Ivoire, Cameroon and Burkina Faso, 1970-1973. Activities documented in the images include a Bundu sande women's society performance with Sowei (female guardian spirit) masks in Liberia; a Dogon dama (festival) masquerade staged for tourists in Sangha, Mali; a Grebo war dance in Krutown, Monrovia, Liberia; young Vai boys during initiation into the poro male secret society; and masked Vai dancers performing on Providence Island, Monrovia.