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.
Scope amd Contents note:
The collection which dates from 1862 to 1895, bulk dates 1880-1889, documents an artificial grouping of letters, visiting cards, and articles that address the personalities of various early government officials of what was then the Republic of Liberia. Of particular interest are the series for letters addressed to Rev. Ben W. Austin who was at one time the secretary of the Northwestern Literary and Historical Society in Sioux City and later, the secretary of the Trinity Historical Society in Dallas, Texas. There is also an interesting letter from Joseph J. Roberts, the first President of Liberia.
The papers are arranged into two series. Folders are arranged alphabetically within series, while documents are organized chronologically.
Series 1: Correspondence
Series 2: Printed Material
The roots of the country of Liberia can be traced to the American Colonization Society. The society was instrumental in the founding of the colony of Liberia in 1821. Controversial even at its beginnings, it advocated the removal of free people of color from the United States, where they suffered restrictive legislative rights, to Africa. It was thought in Africa, African Americans would enjoy freedoms that would always be denied to them by free whites in the Americas.
Originally begun as a colony of the United States, Liberia was governed by white agents until the appointment of Joseph Jenkins Roberts in 1842. In 1847 Liberia's legislative body voted to declare independence from the United States and elected Roberts as the first President.
Use of the materials requires an appointment. Please contact the archivist to make an appointment: ACMarchives@si.edu.
The Correspondence from the Republic of Liberia collection is the physical property of the Anacostia Community Museum. Literary and copyright belong to the author/creator or their legal heirs and assigns. Rights to work produced during the normal course of Museum business resides with the Anacostia Community Museum. For further information, and to obtain permission to publish or reproduce, contact the Museum Archives.