Papers of President William V. S. Tubman, Tubman Farm in Bong County
items were estimated to exist in this collection of personal papers when
Christopher Clapham, a consulting African Studies specialist, prepared a
report for President Tubman’s widow in 1979. Although not official government
documents, the materials show the nearly complete integration between
Tubman’s personal and political lives. Clapham states that given Tubman’s
stature as an African Head of State during the de-colonization era, these
papers are of particular value for the study of the OAU’s early years, as
well as for the study of West African diplomacy. The bulk of the collection
clusters at the beginning [1944-1950] and end [1961-1971] of the Tubman
administration. Clapham found the materials to be in fairly good condition in
1979, but when Professor Dunn later saw the collection, he reported that it
had not been well cared for.
|In 2003 Charles
Taylor’s forces were rumored to have confiscated this collection, but Dunn
and Stone found the papers still remained in the former President’s country
home at Tubman Farm in Bong County.
The condition of the papers is very poor: Looters rifled through each
folder looking for money and other valuables and then tossed everything on
the floor. In Liberia’s tropical
climate, the papers were limp and damp.
Also found were many well-produced photo scrapbooks created by the
Liberian and US government press offices documenting President Tubman’s many
trips in Africa and to the US and other countries. Although stored in the damp climate, most
of these books were in better condition than the papers. However, the immediate need for
conservation and preservation measures is high for both the papers and photo
books, followed by restoring the arrangement.