Guide to the The Vernon Anderson Papers

Collection Title: The Vernon Anderson Papers
Dates: 1921-1980
Identification: a03
Creator: Anderson, Vernon A. (Vernon Andy), 1896-
Extent: 2 Boxes
Language of Materials: English
Abstract: The papers in this collection were generated by Rev. Vernon Anderson, a Presbyterian missionary. They include personal correspondence, correspondence and reports which Rev. Anderson received while serving on the Commission pour la protection des indigènes, ethnographic notes on the Baluba, field notes taken during meetings with informants in Baluba villages, detailed genealogical clan lists, typescript and photocopies of scholarly papers and articles, newspaper clippings, and notecard files.
Repository: Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies
Northwestern University Library
1970 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL,
URL: http://www.library.northwestern.edu/africana
Email: africana@northwestern.edu
Phone: 847-467-3084

Biographical/Historical Information

Although born in Illinois on August 23, 1896, Anderson was raised in Alabama where he attended the Alabama Presbyterian College. After graduation from that institution in 1917 he continued his studies at the Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky from which he received his B.D. degree in 1920. Having decided on a career as a missionary, Anderson joined the American Presbyterian Congo Mission and assumed a post with that mission in the Kasai Province of the then Belgian Congo (now Democratic Republic of the Congo) in 1921.

The earliest Presbyterian missionaries to work in the Congo had established a station at Luebo in 1891. Their missionary efforts were concentrated on the Bena Lulua, who are the people living in the Lulua river valley. Anderson, however, was sent to the station of Bibanga situated near the Lubilashi River in the area to the south and east of Luebo. Bibanga lay within the broad area between Lake Tanganyika and the Kasai River in which the Baluba live. The Baluba have been separated into two groups - the Baluba-kasai and the Baluba-katanga - by one present day scholar. (Heinz Göhring, baLuba, Studien zur Selbstordnung und Herr-schaftsstruktur der baLuba, Meisenheim am Glan: Verlag Anton Hain, 1970, p. 13-15.) The Baluba-lubilashi are a sub-group of the Baluba-kasai. Rev. Anderson was one of the first missionaries to work among the Baluba-lubilashi.

From 1921 to 1946 Rev. Anderson lived and worked among this branch of the Baluba. In addition to his duties as a missionary, he spent a considerable amount of time studying Baluba society, in part through the collection of primary data from living informants in villages which he visited personally. From this material he wrote a Ph. D. dissertation, entitled "Witchcraft in Africa: a missionary problem", and received his degree in 1942 from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Another project to engage his scholarly interest in the Baluba was the revision of an early Tshiluba-English dictionary. He served as chairman of a committee which worked seven years to update this lexicon.

Following the receipt of his Ph. D. Vernon Anderson served in a number of other positions. For two years he was the Interim General Secretary of the Congo Protestant Council with headquarters at Leopoldville (Kinshasa). Beginning in 1947 he served on La Commission pour la protection des indigènes at the invitation of the Belgian government. In 1948 he was elected to act as the legal representative of the American Presbyterian Congo Mission. And, in 1949 he embarked on a ten-year term as the Mission's inspector of schools. After having spent forty years as a missionary in the Congo, Vernon Anderson returned to the United States. He received an honorary D.D. degree in 1960 from Davidson College in North Carolina, and spent the next six years as an associate minister of the First Presbyterian Church of Dallas, Texas. He retired in 1966 to Dallas, Texas.

Scope and Content

The papers which make up the Anderson collection are composed of a small amount of personal correspondence, a small amount of correspondence and reports which he received while serving on the Commission pour la protection des indigènes, a large quantity of ethnographic notes on the Baluba, field notes taken during meetings with informants in Baluba villages, detailed genealogical clan lists, typescript and photocopies of scholarly papers and articles, newspaper clippings, and notecard files. A more detailed listing of the contents of the collection appears in the inventory below. In volume the collection amounts to less than one linear foot.

Arrangement of Materials

The Notes on the Baluba of the Lubilanji files were arranged and labeled by Vernon Anderson. His arrangement has not been altered.

Subjects

Personal Name

Anderson, Vernon A. (Vernon Andy), 1896-

Subjects

Luba (African people)--Congo (Democratic Republic)

Missionaries--Congo (Democratic Republic)


Container List / Contents

  • General information and correspondence with the donor, Vernon Anderson, 1980Box 1, Folder 1
  • Correspondence of Vernon Anderson, 1933, 1939-1947, 1955Box 1, Folder 2
  • Notes on the Baluba of the LubilanjiBox 1
    • NamesBox 1, Box 1, Folder 3
    • LanguageBox 1, Box 1, Folder 4
    • SongsBox 1, Box 1, Folder 5
    • ParablesBox 1, Box 1, Folder 6
    • WitchcraftBox 1, Box 1, Folder 7
        Scope and Contents: Includes two papers by Vernon Anderson.
      • The problem of witchcraft as it confronts the foreign missionary in Africa, dd. Bibanga. 2 p. Typescript., April 20, 1938Box 1, Box 1, Folder 7, Item 1
      • Magic and witchcraft among the Baluba of the Lubilanji, 10 p. Typescript., n.d.Box 1, Box 1, Folder 7, Item 2
    • Social customsBox 1, Box 1, Folder 8
    • Printed sourcesBox 1, Box 1, Folder 9
    • GeographyBox 1, Box 1, Folder 10
    • Physical features of the BalubaBox 1, Box 1, Folder 11
    • DancesBox 1, Box 1, Folder 12
        Language: In Tshiluba Scope and Contents: Contains one item: a paper on dances written by Pastor Katahunga and Pastor Kayuwa, dd. 22 August, 1935. 1 p. Mimeograph copy.
    • Marriage customsBox 1, Box 1, Folder 13
    • Birth customsBox 1, Box 1, Folder 14
    • Funeral customsBox 1, Box 1, Folder 15
    • Social organization of the BalubaBox 1, Box 1, Folder 16
    • Native drugsBox 1, Box 1, Folder 17
    • History, n.d.Box 1, Box 1, Folder 18
        Scope and Contents: Includes a paper entitled: History : early days of the Luban Empire; Author unknown, 7 p. Typescript.
    • MiscellaneousBox 1, Box 1, Folder 19
  • A genealogy of the Baluba of the Lubilanji, compiled by Vernon Anderson, dd. 1946. 20 p. Typescript.Box 1, Folder 20
  • Untitled manuscript, by Prosper Denolf HemptineBox 1, Folder 21
      Note:  Original in Flemish, translated into French by Rev. Joseph Savels for Vernon Anderson. 34 p. Typescript. [In French]
  • Vernon Anderson's notes on and extracts from Etude ethnographique sur les moeurs et les coutumes des balubas de la region du Lubilashi, by Jean Joseph Weydert, 39 p. Mimeograph copy., n.d.Box 1, Folder 22
      Note:  Some of the material in this paper is included in a later work by Weydert entitled, Balubas chez eux, etude ethnographique, Heffingen, 1938. Language: In and French English
  • Apercu general de genealogies sur quelques grandes tribus du kasai, by H. Morlighem, n.d., 41 p. Typescript.Box 1, Folder 23
      Language: In French
  • List of Baluba clan totemsBox 1, Folder 24
  • Field notes on Baluba history, economy, and political and social organizationBox 1
    • Field notes on Baluba history, economy, and political and social organization, 1931-32Box 1, Box 1, Folder 25
    • Field notes on Baluba history, economy, and political and social organization, 1934Box 1, Box 1, Folder 26
    • Field notes on Baluba history, economy, and political and social organization, 1935-36Box 1, Box 1, Folder 27
    • Field notes on Baluba history, economy, and political and social organization, 1937Box 1, Box 1, Folder 28
    • Field notes on Baluba history, economy, and political and social organization, 1938Box 1, Box 1, Folder 29
    • Field notes on Baluba history, economy, and political and social organization, 1939Box 1, Box 1, Folder 30
    • Field notes on Baluba history, economy, and political and social organization, 1940Box 1, Box 1, Folder 31
  • Tablet of genealogical notes, c. 1936Box 1, Folder 32
  • Genealogical clan list of the Baluba of the Lubilanji, n.d.Box 1, Folder 33
  • Genealogical clan list of the Baluba of the Lubilanji, n.d.Box 1, Folder 34
  • Genealogical list of the sub-clans of the Ba Kalonji, n.d.Box 1, Folder 35
  • Miscellaneous ethnographic notes, 1941-1944, 1946, n.d.Box 1, Folder 36
  • Paper and articles
    • Papers and articlesBox 1, Folder 37
      • Anderson, V. A., Etude sur la sorcellerie dans les milieux indigènes, dd. Bibanga, APCM. 4 p. Typescript., December 12, 1945Box 1, Folder 37, Item 1
      • Bongolo, H., A propos des "coutumes indigènes" qui se pratiquent a la cite indigènes de Leopoldville, dd. 11 p. Carbon copy of typescript., 6 May 1947Box 1, Folder 37, Item 2
      • Buisseret, A., Trois voies paralleles d'une politique belge au Congo, 6 p. Photocopy., n.d.Box 1, Folder 37, Item 3
      • Coppens, P., Anticipations Congolaises, Projet d'organisation politique du Congo Belge, dd. 16 p. Photocopy., April 1956Box 1, Folder 37, Item 4
      • Gabriel, Fr., Essai d'orientation de l'enseignement et de l'education au Congo. Bruxelles: Librairie Albert Dewit. Pages missing., 1921Box 1, Folder 37, Item 5
      • Kabamba, E., La circoncision chez les Baluba, 6 p. Typescript., n.d.Box 1, Folder 37, Item 6
      • Nzongola, P. R. K., Some Tshiluba proverbs simplified, dd. Luluabourg. 5 p. Mimeograph copy., January 21, 1952Box 1, Folder 37, Item 7
      • Sohier, A., Mariage coutumier et mariage religieux, [extrait du resume du rapport de la XVIIeme Semaine missiologie de Louvain. Rythmes du monde No. pages 82 et suivantes.], 3 September-October 1946Box 1, Folder 37, Item 8
      • 3 p. Mimeograph copyBox 1, Folder 37, Item 9
      • Van Bilsen, A. A. J., Un plan de trente ans pour l'emancipation politique de l'Afrique Belge [extrait des Dossiers de l'Action Sociale Catholique] 29 p. Photocopy., February 1956Box 1, Folder 37, Item 10
      • Van Bulck, V., Du Sankuru au Kasai–Du Kasai au Katanga, Le Katanga illustre No. 28, p. 15-18., March 1940Box 1, Folder 37, Item 11
      • Waldecker, B., Litterature orale congolaise, Le Congo illustre, p. 7-9., n.d.Box 1, Folder 37, Item 12
  • Notes, clippings and miscellany
    • Notes and proceedings of the Commission pour la protection des indigènes, 1955-1957Box 2, Folder 38
    • Newspaper clippings,, 1947, n.d.Box 2, Folder 39
    • MiscellanyBox 2, Folder 40