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A Guide to the W.E. Manis Collection

Finding aid prepared by Daniel A. Reboussin

University of Florida Smathers Libraries - Special and Area Studies Collections
August 2004


Descriptive Summary

Creator: Manis, W. E. (Wallace Eugene), 1913-1978
Title: W.E. Manis Collection
Dates: 1939-1941
Abstract: Includes photographic prints, letters and ephemera collected or created by W. E. Manis. The collection pertains to the collector's life and work as a Rubber Planter and later in change of the research department of Firestone Plantations Co. in Liberia, West Africa (1940-41). Manis took the photographs and selected items for inclusion in the two scrapbook albums that constitute this gift, complete in 80 pages of 224 black and white photographs, with about 133 sheets of mostly unpublished typescript letters, manuscripts, mimeos and telegrams.
Extent: 0.5 Linear feet. 2 albums.
Identification: MS Group 143
Language(s): English
Access: Researchers should consult with Special Collections staff before using the collection because there are access restrictions. See the Access note for more information.
Online Content Items from this collection have been digitized and are available online in the UF Digital Collections. For more information please see the note below.

Biographical/Historical Note

Wallace Eugene ("Gene") Manis was born in Lewiston, Montana on May 20, 1913. He attributed his interest in international travel to the stamp collection hobby that his stepfather, Carl E. Magni, shared with him. He became interested in a career in science by volunteering at the Rocky Mountain Laboratory in Hamilton. He studied horticulture at the University of Montana, earning an AB degree in 1935 and completing a Master's (AM) degree at the University of Michigan in 1936.

Manis was working in the doctoral program at the University of Wisconsin School of Forestry when Firestone Plantations Co. offered him a position in November 1939. He accepted the position of Rubber Planter in the Research Department of Firestone Plantations Co. and traveled to Monrovia, Liberia on a freighter in December 1939. He returned to the US in November 1941.

His subsequent career included employment with several other commercial rubber interests as well as with the USDA in Brazil (1942-43), as a pathologist with the US-Costa Rican Cooperative Rubber Plant Program (1943-44) and in Uraba, Colombia (1944-46). He was in charge of the US-Costa Rican Cooperative Rubber Plant Experiment Sub-Station (1947-54) and was a hybrid seed and ornamental plant producer with Linda Vista, Ltd. in Costa Rica (1955-57). He was a plant breeder with the Rubber Research Institute and with USAID in Ceylon (1958-60).

He returned to Africa as rubber research officer with the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources in Western Nigeria and with USAID (1961-63). His professional service continued as a research horticulturist in charge of the US plant introduction station, New Crops Research Bureau (1964-73) and as Agricultural Research Officer with the International Programs Division, Agricultural Research Service of the USDA (1974-77). He was a consultant to the UN in Thailand and Burma in 1973, where he worked with the United Nations Program for Drug Abuse Control in Chiang Mai.

A member of the Society for Economic Botany, he held concurrent positions as Adjunct Associate Professor (1966) and as Adjunct Professor with the University of Miami (1967-77). He and his wife, Rosemary, moved to Gainesville, Florida in 1977, and he died the following year.


Scope and Content

The collection consists of two scrapbook albums, dating from November 1939 to November 1941. Materials included begin chronologically with business correspondence by telegram and regular mail relating to his job offer and contract with Firestone Plantations Co., as well as a handful of personal letters prior to his travel, letters offering travel advice for living in the tropics, company manuals and policies, and personal photographs. A 22-page transcribed letter that he wrote to his mother, Mrs. Elsa Magni [his mother's name after remarriage], and his sister, Beth, soon after arriving in Monrovia is also included.

Several examples of informal typescript pamphlets from the company's Overseas Club recreational organization are included (excerpts from several newsletters, a play script, entertainment programs, etc.). Ephemera, mementos and scrapbook items include a small number of manuscript notes or letters from Liberian laborers under his supervision, offering a glimpse of the personal relationships established in the context of this global horticultural and industrial enterprise. Another example, rare in library collections, is a small pamphlet on Kroo (Kru) ethnic history published in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Other examples include two Bank of Monrovia checks with revenue stamps, luggage tags with a customs stamp and the S.S. Acadia ship's menu for Thanksgiving dinner. An official letter on company letterhead confirms to Mrs. Magni the departure of her son on Nov. 7, 1941. A Playbill and program for Olsen and Johnson's New Hellzapoppin revue represent the collector's arrival in New York during November 1941.

The photographs are a rich source of visual information, but captions were not included. Descriptive information has been interpreted from the photographs themselves, from a letter written by Manis to his family in Montana (1940), from interviews with Manis and other knowledgeable persons, and from various reference sources. Subjects include scenes encountered and people met on the trans-Atlantic freighter S.S. Cathlamet (December 2-24, 1939), upon Manis's arrival in Monrovia on Christmas Eve Day, during his establishment as a staff member on the Firestone plantation, through his work and recreational activities while working there, and finally at his departure back to New York on November 7, 1941.

Approximately 48 prints are of Americans (ship passengers, plantation staff). About 112 prints depict Africans (primarily Liberians, either as plantation laborers or depicted in a variety of village-based activities such as cooking, construction, childrearing, but also as marketers, craftspeople, and celebrants in several kinds of ceremonial activities). Approximately 64 prints depict plantation or urban landscapes (Monrovia, [Harbel?], [Kakata?]) and a few residential interiors (the latter are presumably of Manis's bungalow, including the masks that served as its decor).

The majority of the photographs are of Liberian men, women and children at work or posing for the camera. Manis himself appears in a few of the photos. He identifies the primary Liberian ethnic groups with which he worked as Gio (who call themselves Dan), Mono (Mano, Ma) and Bassa. The Bassa people are Kruan speakers, like the Kru, while the Dan and Ma people are Mande speakers, as are the Mendingo (Manding), who Manis points out are mostly traders in this area.


Access or Use Restrictions

Access

The collection is open for research, with access restriction applied only for a Firestone Plantations Company employee handbook ("General information for the information and guidance of staff and families of Firestone Plantations Company and affiliated companies in Liberia." June 15, 1941). Users with legitimate research interests should contact the Department of Special and Area Studies Collections to apply for research access to this item. This item may be quoted and cited, but it may not be reproduced until further notice. Patrons seeking access to the item must sign a copy of a restriction statement, confirming that they have read and understood the restrictions, and that they intend to comply with these terms.


Related or Separated Material

The Firestone Tire and Rubber Company's archives are held at the University of Akron, where access may be restricted. For more information on the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company's official corporate archives, please contact: John V. Miller, Director of Archival Services, The University of Akron University Libraries, Polsky Building, 225 South Main Street, Room LL10, Akron, OH 44325-1702, (330) 972-7670

In addition, a portion of the Akron archives was photocopied with permission and deposited as a part of the Liberian Collections Project at Indiana University's Archives of Traditional Music. Information on these materials, identified as the Svend E. Holsoe Collection, is available at: http://www.onliberia.org/collections.htm (e-mail: liberia@indiana.edu).

W.E. Manis and his wife, Rosemary, donated several important art objects from Liberia to the Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida, including a Deangle masquerade ensemble pictured in the field at the time of its acquisition.


Administrative Information

Alternate Form of Material

Digital reproductions of the photos and documents in the W.E. Manis albums are available online via the University of Florida Digital Collections (UFDC) Africana Collection. Please read the Permissions for Use statement for information on copyright, fair use, and use of UFDC digital objects.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], W.E. Manis Collection, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Acquisition Information

The W. E. Manis Collection was donated by Will and Jean Manis of Sammamish, Washington in June 2003. The collection was acquired through the assistance of Rosemary Manis, Robin Poynor, Susan Cooksey and Dan Reboussin.

Processing Information

These materials were described in 2003 by Dan Reboussin. The following individuals provided assistance in administrative matters and descriptive work: Susan Cooksey, Svend Holsoe, Mandelyn Hutcherson, Erich Kesse, Fredline McCormack, Rosemary and Will Manis, John V. Miller, John Nemmers, Tim Nevin and Robin Poynor.


Contents List

Scrapbook Album 1

Page: One handbook for employees of the Firestone Plantations Company.
"Handbook for Employees of Firestone Plantations Company."

Page: Job offer via telegram and contract letter.
Western Union job offer telegram stamped Nov. 17, 1939.
Firestone Plantations Co. contract for Junior Planter position.

Page: Three telegrams with envelopes.
Telegram 1: personal note from Mother (Mrs. Elsa Magni).
Telegram 2: personal note from Betty.
Telegram 3: personal note from Beth (Manis's sister).

Page: Three letters from Health Service scientists whom Manis met while volunteering at the Rocky Mountain Laboratory in Hamilton, Montana.
Personal ms. letter from Cornelius B. Philips on US Public Health Service letterhead. Nov. 26, 1939.
Typescript letter from Dr. Gordon E. Davis, US Public Health Service. Nov. 26, 1939.
Ms. letter from H.R. Herman dated "Tuesday noon."

Page: Photographic prints. S.S. Cathlamet freighter, passengers, tugboats, etc. The ship left Pier 17 in Brooklyn on Dec. 2, 1939. Ports of call were Dakar on the 18th and Freetown on the 21st, arriving at Monrovia on the 24th.
Photo: S.S. Cathlamet from shore or dock (small lighter boats are alongside).
Photo: View of tugboat from aboard S.S. Cathlamet.
Photo: Three passengers on deck of S.S. Cathlamet. Mac, a West Highland Terrier, belongs to Perry and Olive Jester
Photo: View of S.S. Cathlamet's tugboat from aboard ship.
Photo: Crewman on deck of S.S. Cathlamet freighter.
Photo: Passenger on deck of S.S. Cathlamet freighter.
Photo: S.S. Cathlamet freighter.

Page: Photographs of passengers on board S.S. Cathlamet.
Photo: Olive and Perry Jester, Fran and John Diefenback, Dewey and Mary Miller, Eddie and Helen Kloke, Gravey and Kit Graves, "Mac."
Photo: Three passengers on board S.S. Cathlamet.
Photo: Four passengers on board S.S. Cathlamet.
Photo: A passenger on board S.S. Cathlamet.
Photo: Two passengers on board S.S. Cathlamet.
Photo: A passenger on board S.S. Cathlamet.

Page: Photographs of S.S. Cathlamet and the passengers on board.
Photo: Six passengers on board S.S. Cathlamet (with Mac).
Photo: Two passengers on board S.S. Cathlamet.
Photo: One passenger on board S.S. Cathlamet.
Photo: Three passengers on board S.S. Cathlamet (with Mac).
Photo: Crew and laborers on deck of S.S. Cathlamet.
Photo: S.S. Cathlamet from shore or dock (lighters pulled alongside).

Page: Photograph of ship, a Kroo pamphlet, and a postcard of African woman.
Photo: Ship arriving in port (taken from S.S. Cathlamet).
"Reasons why Kroo people were never slaves: an historiette of the Kroo Confederacy."
Postcard portrait of African woman in traditional dress.

Page: Bank of Monrovia check with Firestone watermark, 2 one cent revenue stamps.
Bank of Monrovia check with Firestone watermark, 2 one cent revenue stamps.

Page: Photographs of an African crewman and an urban street scene. Also a folded letter to Elsa Magni.
An African crewman poses in dress whites on board the S.S. Cathlamet.
Typescript letter dated 12/27/1939 advising Mrs. Elsa Magni that her son arrived in Liberia on Dec. 24.
Photo: Monrovia (Water Street?). Many pedestrians, African man in white suit, pith helmet.

Page: Two photos of palm trees.
Photo: Palm trees bordering a rural road.
Photo: Top of a palm tree against the sky (showing rows of many bird nests on the fronds?).

Page: Letter dated Feb. 21, 1940 to Manis from Johnny Cooper requesting work.
Ms. letter dated Feb. 21, 1940 to Manis from Johnny Cooper requesting work.

Page: Seven photos on grounds of plantation guest house with portraits of Liberian servants or workers.
Photo: Stone guest house with galvanized roof, elevated first floor.
Photo: Liberian man in white shirt and shorts posing with long handled brush and shoes.
Photo: Liberian man in white shirt and pants posing.
Photo: Liberian man in white shorts and t-shirt posing.
Photo: Liberian man in khaki shorts and white t-shirt posing.
Photo: Young boy in shirt and shorts posing in front of a plantation pickup truck.
Photo: Adolescent boy in Western clothes posing with foot on running board of pickup truck.

Page: Letter dated Feb. 19, 1940 to Mr. Manis from "Momo" requesting a job.
Ms. letter dated Feb. 19, 1940 to Mr. Manis from "Momo" requesting a job.

Page: Four photos with Liberian children depicted.
Photo: Two Liberian children, one in Western and another in local dress.
Photo: Liberian boy with tethered monkey.
Photo: Two Liberians posing in front of elevated (guest house?) residence.
Photo: Young Liberian displaying underwing plumage of an African Harrier-hawk.

Page: Letter dated March 21, 1940 from R. F. Nyan.
Ms. letter dated March 21, 1940 requesting transfer to another position.

Page: Eight photographs of plantation laborers and one of a plantation office building.
Photo: Liberian rubber tappers with latex collection buckets.
Photo: Plantation building (divisional office?)
Photo: Plantation workers in front of collection station.
Photo: Plantation workers in open building (divisional collection station?).
Photo: Young Liberian man in Western clothing and with glasses.
Photo: Liberian man in white shirt and overalls.
Photo: Rubber tapping, or possibly tapper training. Tappers appear to be practicing on the stumps of thinned trees.
Photo: About 15 rubber tappers sitting on bench in front of tapping buckets at collection station.

Page: Note dated Feb. 9, 1940 ("Dear Boss, Please come help immediately...").
Ms. note requesting medical help for a fellow worker wounded by a razor in a fight.

Page: Five photos of the rubber plantation depicting a road, tapping techniques and saplings.
Photo: Rubber tree with 30 degree, 1 mm. cut for tapping, porcelain collection bowl attached (cuts deeper than a millimeter may damage the tree).
Photo: Rubber tree and tree stump with cuts in bark (possibly the result of test tapping and thinning or an example of a training tool for tappers?).
Photo: Dirt road through new plantations of rubber saplings.
Photo: Plantation of small rubber trees.
Photo: A sapling (2 year old trees are 12-14' tall).

Page: Ms. letter from Henry Cooper dated Feb. 26, 1939 (sic--must have been 1940).
Letter from Henry Cooper requesting a pass for his wife to leave the hospital and return home.

Page: Five photos of plantation office buildings in a cleared area.
Photo: Plantation office buildings.
Photo: Plantation building.
Photo: Possibly nursery areas? (Thousands of acres between Du and Farmington Rivers felled, cleared, burned in mid-1930s).
Photo: Plantation office building.
Photo: Plantation office buildings on ridge above cleared area.

Page: Letter dated March 13, 1940 from Henry Cooper.
Letter from Henry Cooper, begins "Dear Boss..." Requests help after "a Vai man" named Boymah beat writer's wife.

Page: Four landscape photos.
Photo: Falls on a river in the bush.
Photo: Dirt track road with apparently abandoned building (roof has no thatch).
Photo: Clearing a forested area.
Photo: Reed or cane screens erected on three sides of a leveled earthen floor.

Page: Ms. letter dated Sept. 26, 1941 to W.E. Manis from Edward Urey.
Letter from Edward Urey regarding his pay.

Page: Four photos depicting plantation landscapes.
Photo: Plantation landscape with buildings in background.
Photo: Plantation landscape with road, building in background on a hill.
Photo: Wide plantation landscape with fence in foreground, buildings behind.
Photo: Plantation landscape with large executive residential building on hill in background.

Page: Typescript: "Staff assignments. June 2, 1941."
Staff assignments June 2, 1941 (p. 1 shows Manis in change of research dept.)

Page: Ms. Letter dated Feb. 21, 1940.
Ms. Letter from "Fireman" requesting a hospital pass for his daughter.

Page: Five photos of small round houses in different settings. All appear to be built by Firestone rather than indigenous construction.
Photo: Set of ten or twelve houses set close together on cleared hillside. Apparently company housing or work camp buildings?
Photo: Liberian man in Western clothes posing in front of a round thatched house.
Photo: Twenty five or more round thatched houses closely set together on flat, cleared land with three Liberians standing. Good example of company built housing, almost military in its straight lines.
Photo: Several open, round, thatched buildings (palaver houses or "plava huts"). These outbuildings or kitchens traditionally use "river thatch."
Photo: Eighty+ small round thatched houses on cleared hillside (possibly a Firestone plantation work camp?).

Page: Five images of house construction. Apparently these are not residences but "plava huts" or kitchens, employing "river thatch."
Photo: Four men in Western clothes sitting and making construction materials.
Photo: House frame without thatch or wall covering.
Photo: Two houses, background house framed only, foreground example is thatched.
Photo: Thatching the roof on a house.
Photo: Man posing in front of a house with frame completed.

Page: Five river and landscape photos, two with construction project.
Photo: River rapids with American man standing in khakis.
Photo: River rapids from above, tree stumps in foreground, three figures by the bank.
Photo: Construction project behind earthen dam (possibly a dam or bridge?) with a crane and truck.
Photo: Two Liberian men entering a cleared area.
Photo: Construction project on bank of large river.

Page: Six photos of Manis's residence in Liberia, two of exterior and four of interior.
Exterior photo (bungalow house as provided for American staff at Firestone Plantations).
Exterior photo of residence (pickup truck in front).
Photo: Manis residence interior with 15+ masks (shows Deangle costume for masquerade now in Harn collections).
Photo: Manis residence interior with 12+ masks, Deangle costume for masquerade (now in Harn collections).
Photo: Manis residence interior with mask over fireplace, carved figures and other objects on mantle.
Photo: Manis residence interior with 19+ masks, Deangle costume for masquerade (now in Harn collections).

Page: Photograph of two American women inside a residence.
Photo: Portrait of two women, one seated other standing holding carved figure.

Page: Portrait and two small photos with newsletter clipping from "Planter's Punch" Dec. 15, 1940.
Photo: Portrait of an American woman in a lounge chair holding a cocktail.
Letter to "Dear Miss Fortune" from "Senorita", Research, printed in "Planter's Punch" Dec. 15, 1940.
Photo: Plantation guest house with elevated first floor.
Small photo of kitchen items (canned ham and other goods, sliced bread) on a table.

Page: Three photos of termites: the queen, a mound and surface tube across a road.
Photo: Large termite mound.
Photo: Termite queen held up for camera on a light colored piece of paper.
Photo: Termite surface tube crossing a dirt road.

Page: Four photos of Americans posing with animals.
Photo: American man in hunting khakis and pith helmet with rifle, posing with a large unidentified bird.
Photo: Manis on boat posing with a barracuda. He loved fishing, but wasn't very interested in hunting.
Photo: American man with two young chimpanzees.
Photo: Two young chimpanzees hugging photographer's pant leg.

Page: Two photos, primarily Liberian men.
Photo: Young Liberian man posing in front of a Traveller's palm in residential garden.
Photo: Roadside group of Liberian and American men with two pickup trucks near thatched roof houses.

Page: Three photos of Americans.
Photo: Two American men and a woman, seated.
Photo: An American man and woman, standing.
Photo: Two American men and a woman, seated. Manis is on the right.

Page: Four photographs: three of land clearing and one of an American couple.
Photo: American woman posing on a Caterpillar Diesel bulldozer.
Photo: An American man and woman, standing at top of a steep hill.
Photo: A bulldozer, parked in felled and cleared area.
Photo: Bulldozers and other heavy equipment for clearing, with a few Liberian workers.

Page: Four photos of Americans at the beach.
Photo: Three American men and an American woman at a picnic on the beach, three wear pith helmets. Manis is in left foreground.
Photo: An American man and woman in pith helmets and bathing suits at the beach.
Photo: Three Americans at the beach.
Photo: Four Americans, three men and a woman picnic on the beach, all wearing pith helmets or a hat.

Page: "Planter's Punch, Firestone Overseas Club newsletter. Harbel, Liberia. Vol. 2, No. 4."
"Planter's Punch, March 1 and 15, 1941."

Page: Two photos and a clipping.
Photo: Street scene, African urban buildings (possibly Kakata, site of the Booker Washington Institute vocational and agricultural school).
Newsletter clipping: "New Kakata Road Open" from Division 26 to Kakata.
Photo: Landscape photograph with forest, plantation building in background with water tower.

Page: Two photos and a cover of minstrel show program.
Photo: American men and women seated separately on small set of bleachers (at a sporting event?).
"Minstrel show" program: "Firestone Overseas Club presents the Greater Minstrel Shows 9:30 p.m. Sept. 27, 1941. Clubhouse."
Photo. American woman on porch of a plantation building, two Liberian employees in background.

Page: Three photos of rubber plantation laborers.
Photo: Long line of Liberian men entering a plantation building.
Photo: Large group of Liberian plantation workers with rubber saplings behind them.
Photo: Several Liberian men display cloth, other items for sale in front of field of rubber saplings.

Page: Three photos of a public event (on the Firestone plantation parade grounds or athletic fields?).
Photo: A large group of Liberians and Americans surrounds a group of Liberian women.
Photo: Acrobats of the Snake Society toss a child between them.
Photo: A large group of Liberians and Americans watches a Snake Society acrobat toss child above his head.

Page: Two photographs of Liberians.
Photo: Liberian couple stands for (wedding?) portrait in front of round thatched roof house, man in Western suit.
Photo: 31 Liberian men pose for group portrait, three at center in western dress (for wedding?).

Page: Eight photographs: return from the hunt. A forest buffalo (Syncerus caffer nanus) trophy is displayed.
Photo: American man with rifle poses over "bush cow" or buffalo trophy. Note Liberian man in hammock, who died, as Will Manis recalled, when the buffalo charged and gored him.
Photo: Second American man with rifle poses over buffalo trophy.
Photo: Two American men (Manis is on the right) pose over trophy, Liberian men and boys, American woman and children in background.
Photo: Three American men, two women, two children in fore with Liberians behind (one in uniform).
Photo: American girl about 6 years old in pith helmet stands on carcass holding rifle (with her mother?).
Photo: The hunting trophy displayed on ground.
Photo: American woman and two children pose in front of raised trophy supported by Liberian men.
Photo: Liberian men supporting the trophy.

Page: Snapshot of an American woman standing at a tourist site.
Photo: American woman standing with river falls in background, cabana with hammock, leans on chain fence.

Page: A newsletter clipping announcement and a script for "The bride wore red pyjamas."
"One act play Sunday." Dec. 15, 1940 newsletter clipping.
Play script: "The bride wore red pyjamas."

Page: Photograph of two American women walking along a dirt road.
Photo: Two American women walking along a dirt road, Plantation residence in background.

Page: Pamphlet entitled: "General Instructions"
Typescript: "General information for the information and guidance of staff and families of Firestone Plantations Company and affiliated companies in Liberia.
Scrapbook Album 2

Page: Three photos of Liberians in local dress.
Photo: Liberian woman carrying a baby on her back, row of houses in background.
Photo: Man in Muslim clothing, probably of Mandinka ethnicity, with white turban or head covering and white robe.
Photo: Three Liberians, a woman and two men with baby in older man's arms and on woman's back.

Page: Three photos of Liberian adults and children.
Photo: Two women, an adult man and three children in a cleared forest area.
Photo: Two children and an infant in a recently cleared area.
Photo: Man in Muslim clothing poses with a woman in local dress (same people as on previous page).

Page: Two photos of Liberian men performing traditional tasks.
Photo: Liberian man making "men's weave" strip cloth with a traditional loom.
Photo: Liberian man cutting strips of reed or palm (for house construction?).

Page: Three photos of women and children in village.
Photo: Seated woman beside a sleeping infant and dog. She wears chalk on her face, which is used as a traditional cure and after Sande initiations.
Photo: Child with distended belly standing with a crying toddler.
Photo: Woman bathes baby in enamel bowl, preadolescent child stands nearby. Houses, mortar, pestles behind.

Page: Three photos of Liberians gathering (for market?) in village.
Photo: Liberian group in village on market day. Women seated with baskets under tree at center.
Photo: Liberian group in village. Men seated on cloths spread on ground in foreground. Houses behind.
Photo: Liberian group in village. Most people in this image are standing or walking except for two sitting children.

Page: Three photos of Liberian men manually sawing planks from large timber.
Photo: Two men use a large saw to cut a log set in a lashed wooden frame to allow saw to work vertically.
Photo: Four men operating two-man saw with large cleared area in background.
Photo: Close up view of lashed frame apparatus for sawing timbers into planks.

Page: Three photos of Liberian women making crawfish trap baskets and carrying them to market.
Photo: Young woman emptying crawfish from her traps, long narrow baskets, into a bucket.
Photo: Two women carrying crawfish traps on their heads, and holding bouquets of flowers.
Photo: Two women and a child seated in front of a house. Younger woman tends a cooking pot while the older woman makes a large flat basket, shares stool with child.

Page: Two photos of young Liberians working.
Photo: Five young Liberian men and women carrying goods on roadside. Several use handmade back packs.
Photo: Three young men appear to be carrying bundles or sheaves of rice on their heads. Possibly to shade the sun?

Page: Three photos of adult Liberians at work.
Photo: Liberian woman tends a market stall in village or work camp. She has bitter ball, cola and rice among other things for sale.
Photo: Young men sewing with a treadle sewing machines on a porch. Note ceiling mats above.
Photo: Seated man at work, perhaps making shoes. He has a kit of leather material at his side.

Page: Three photos of Liberian men and women using mortars and pestles. Apparently posed.
Photo: Young Liberian woman pounds grain in front of house. Two women stand behind, one with winnowing basket.
Photo: Two Liberian men using a mortar, each with a pestle.
Photo: Two Liberian women using a mortar, each with a pestle. They are posed in front of a reed or bamboo fence.

Page: Three photos of Liberians in village setting.
Photo: Four Liberian adult men eat cassava from a bowl. Cooking fire with pot suspended from tripod is nearby. Underexposed image.
Photo: Two Liberian men and a woman holding an infant surround a cooking fire with several metal pots.
Photo: Five Liberian men sit on a mat around a bowl. Two houses, a cooking pot, sandals are nearby.

Page: Single closeup portrait of a Liberian woman. Her face is adorned with white powder. She wears a batik dress and a plaid headscarf.
Photo: Portrait of Liberian woman in batik dress with plaid headscarf. She wears chalk on her face, which is worn for Sande Society initiation ceremonies and as a traditional cure.

Page: Two photos of Liberian women.
Photo: Liberian woman with an enamel bowl balanced on her head, carrying an infant on her back.
Portrait of a Liberian woman standing with arms folded. She is in front of a house and smiles broadly.

Page: Two photos of Liberians.
Photo: Liberian man posing along a path in the bush, with several women standing in background.
Photo: Adolescent girl in ceremonial dress. She may be dressed for a Sande initiation ceremony.

Page: Two photos of Liberian men in village.
Photo: Liberian man displays scarification pattern on his back. Possibly a Poro Society marking?
Photo: Two seated Liberian men playing Mancala or "Poo" with pebbles or seeds placed in holes in the ground.

Page: Two photos of Liberians in village setting.
Photo: Liberian man and woman pose standing up for portrait in front of a house.
Photo: Liberian man standing with two young women and two older women in front of a house. Possibly the women are this man's wives?

Page: Three photos of houses and people in a Liberian village.
Photo: Large house with a thatched roof, with two women in front.
Photo: A group of nine children in the village. Small photo is damaged in lower left.
Photo: A group of three young boys in the village, with a preadolescent boy.

Page: Three photos of Americans and Liberians handling snakes. Members of the Snake Society keep snakes in their villages.
Photo: American man in short khakis and pith helmet handles a large snake.
Photo: American man in short khakis and pith helmet poses with a large snake.
Photo: Manis poses with a Liberian man and woman, each of whom holds a snake.

Page: Three photos of Liberians and an American in pith helmet handling snakes.
Photo: American man in pith helmet and with a holstered pistol poses with several Liberians handling two large snakes.
Photo: Liberian man in ceremonial Snake Society dress holds a snake's head in his mouth. American man holds a second snake.
Photo: Liberian man in ceremonial Snake Society dress handles a snake. Three musicians with small slit drums, rattles, play amongst several observers. Houses apparently "Gio" or Dan.

Page: Four photos of acrobats of the Snake Society performing. Young girls typically are the ones tossed.
Photo: Adult in ceremonial costume stands over two children performing backbends. Drummers are nearby.
Photo: Snake Society acrobatic performance accompanied by several musicians amongst the audience.
Photo: Acrobatic performance attended by a group of Americans standing in front of their pickup trucks.
Photo: Acrobatic performance with drummers and observers. African and Western style buildings behind.

Page: Three photos of Snake Society acrobatic performances.
Photo: Adult acrobat raises one hand to support a child standing on one leg.
Photo: Acrobatic performance with child standing on adult's shoulders. African and Western style buildings behind.
Photo: Acrobatic performance with child sitting on adult's shoulders. African and Western style buildings behind.

Page: Three photos of an acrobatic Snake Society performance.
Photo: Adult acrobat prepares to catch a child performer. Drummers are behind with a small audience.
Photo: Adult acrobat prepares to catch a child performer. He holds a large knife in one hand.
Photo: Adult acrobat prepares to catch a child performer. Drummers are behind with a small audience.

Page: Single photo of W. E. Manis standing with Mano performer, who wears a Deangle mask and costume.
Photo: Manis purchased this Deangle mask and costume after the wearer performed in it for a boys' initiation ceremony. Manis and his wife Rosemary donated it to the Harn Museum of Art in 1978.

Page: Two photos of a masked and costumed dancer known as a "Country Devil" or "Bush Devil."
Photo: A masked and costumed dancer. Thatched buildings are visible in background.
Photo: Dancer in mask and costume. Thatched building behind, with photographer's shadow visible on ground.

Page: Two photos of a dancer in masquerade.
Photo: Thirteen men and boys pose behind seated masquerade, one with a drum.
Photo: Dancer in masquerade performs in front of a male audience.

Page: Three photos of a masqueraded dancer, one with a group of Liberian men, women and children behind.
Photo: Nine Liberian men, women and children pose with drum, flag, other objects behind a masquerade.
Photo: Masquerade sitting in front of a small thatched structure (kitchen or shrine?).
Photo: Standing masquerade posed in front of a small structure.

Page: Two photos of a masked, costumed dancer.
Photo: A masked and costumed dancer performs in front of drummers and an audience of mostly young men.
Photo: A masked and costumed figure performs (possibly a dancer supporting another on his shoulders).

Page: Two photos of a masked, costumed dancer (or dancers).
Photo: A masked and costumed figure performs.
Photo: A masked and costumed dancer performs in front of drummers and an audience.

Page: Photograph of a masked performer on tall stilts. The "stilt devil" is associated with Snake Society ceremonies.
Photo: A masked figure on stilts performs in front of a large male audience.

Page: Three photos of a masked dancer performing on tall stilts before a large audience of 70 or more men.
Photo: Masked dancer performs on tall stilts in front of a large audience of more than 70 young men.
Photo: Masked dancer performs on tall stilts. An American squats in the foreground.
Photo: Masked dancer performs on tall stilts. An American man squats in the foreground.

Page: Three photos of a masked dancer on tall stilts.
Photo: Masked dancer performs on tall stilts in front of a large audience.
Photo: Masked dancer performs on tall stilts. One leg is raised up.
Photo: Masked dancer performs on tall stilts. Performer is bending low or kneeling on the stilts.

Page: One photo of masked dancer on stilts, resting against a thatched roof.
Photo: Masked dancer on stilts, resting against a thatched roof.

Page: Six photos of masks (objects on plain white background).
Photo: Mask 1. Tufted figure.
Photo: Mask 2. Figure with two horns.
Photo: Mask 3. Figure with short curved horns.
Photo: Mask 4. Bird figure.
Photo: Mask 5. Monkey figure.
Photo: Mask 6. Figure with six protruding teeth.

Page: Six photos of masks (objects on plain white background).
Photo: Mask 1. Almond-shaped figure with six teeth.
Photo: Mask 2. Mustached figure with tusks.
Photo: Mask 3. Almond-shaped figure.
Photo: Mask 4. Mustached figure.
Photo: Mask 5. Figure with crocodile shaped mouth.
Photo: Mask 6. Figure with bird beak shaped mouth.

Page: Two photos, one depicting three masks and the other with four masks.
Photo: Four bearded or mustached masks appear to be suspended from nails on a white wall.
Photo: Three masks, one with a long beak, another with four sharp metallic teeth, are suspended on a white wall.

Page: Travel mementos: luggage tag and customs stamp.
Luggage tag for stateroom passage on S. S. Acadia.
Customs stamp and round luggage sticker.

Page: Three photos, ship's dinner menu and a typescript letter.
Photo: Passenger ship (S.S. Acadia ?) from lighter with Liberian oarsmen.
Photo: Group of American men, women and Liberian men (departing passengers, those awaiting arrivals?).
Photo: Departure of lighter, ferrying passengers from shore to moored ship.
Ephemera. S.S. Acadia menu for Thanksgiving dinner, en route to New York. Nov. 20 1941.
Typescript letter dated Nov. 7, 1941 to Mrs. Elsa Magni advising her that W.E. Manis sailed from Liberia on Nov. 6.

Page: "The Playbill for the Majestic Theatre" (describing "Olsen and Johnson's New Hellzapoppin")
"The Playbill for the Majestic Theatre."

Page: Brochure for "Olsen and Johnson's New Hellzapoppin"
"Olsen and Johnson's New Hellzapoppin" brochure.

Page: Transcribed letter that Manis wrote after arriving in Monrovia.
Transcribed letter that Manis wrote to his mother, Elsa Magni, and his sister, Beth, soon after arriving in Monrovia (22 pages, dated January 1940).

For further information, please contact: Special Collections Access Services.

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