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[American Colonization Society life membership certificate]American Colonization Society

Records and photographs of the American Colonization Society

Manuscript Division

Prints and Photographs Division

Collection digitized? Generally, no. Daguerreotypes from the collection are available in the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog. (The same images are presented on the Library of Congress American Memory site.) A few selected images are included here to give a sample of the collection.

The American Colonization Society, organized in 1817 to resettle African Americans in West Africa, presented its records to the Library of Congress in 1913, 1964, and 1965.

Manuscript Division Holdings

While spanning the period 1792 to 1964, the majority of the society's correspondence, reports, and financial and business papers date from the years 1823 to 1912. Correspondence covers such subjects as administrative matters, the status of slaves and freedman in antebellum America, and the society's role in founding and colonizing Liberia and supporting Liberian education. Correspondents include Thomas Buchanan, Ralph R. Gurley, John H. B. Latrobe, J. W. Lugenbeel, William McLain, Anson Greene Phelps, and Joseph Jenkins Roberts. The Manuscript Division has described the 190,000 item collection in a register. The records have been microfilmed.

Prints and Photographs Division Holdings

Approximately 550 photographs, photomechanical prints, drawings, and watercolors in the Prints and Photographs Division depict nineteenth-century Liberian political figures, city views, vernacular architecture, and the life of the indigenous West Africans. The images have been grouped by subject matter, and these groups are listed in the Divisional card catalog. Included are daguerreotype portraits of well-known Liberians, such as the first president of Liberia, Joseph Jenkins Roberts. All of the daguerreotypes can be found in the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (original daguerreotypes are served by appointment only). Selected other images for which copy photography has been requested can also be searched in the online catalog.

Note: Information for this entry was compiled in the late 1970's for inclusion in: Special Collections in the Library of Congress: A Selective Guide. Compiled by Annette Melville. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1980. The entry was revised in 1998.

U.S. Library of Congress. Reference Department. Guide to the Special Collections of Prints & Photographs in the Library of Congress (Washington: 1955. NE53.W3A52), compiled by Paul Vanderbilt, no. 14.

The National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections. Washington, Library of Congress, 1972, 69-2026.

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  October 22, 2010
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