Skip to main content

Records of the Economic Survey of Liberia

Identifier: 019

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

This collection, which was received by the Northwestern Africana Library in 1962, is made up of papers generated by an economic survey of Liberia conducted by Northwestern University between January 1961 and August 1962 and initiated by the Government of Liberia through the International Cooperation Administration (ICA). These papers fill 17 boxes, and are arranged in six series: Project Administration, Project Correspondence, Personal Papers, Project Papers, Resource Material, Additional Materials, and Subject Files.

Project Administration, found in box 1, includes the contract between Northwestern University and the International Cooperation Administration (ICA), financial documents concerning the budget of the project, and files on project personnel.

Project Correspondence, boxes 1- 4, includes the correspondence of staff members associated with the project. Each file contains letters received and carbon copies of letters sent by members of the staff. In general, the correspondence flowed in three directions: between the survey team in the field and the campus coordinator, between the campus coordinator and the ICA in Washington, D.C., and between the survey staff and persons and institutions in Liberia. The weekly and monthly field reports required of the project by the contract are also included in this category, but the set of reports which survives is not complete.

Personal papers, box 4, include bound volumes of the personal project diary kept by Mitchell Harwitz along with diary notes recorded on a "dictabelt" tape.

Project Papers, boxes 5-7, includes drafts of some of the twenty-three Staff Papers which appear in finished form in the volume cited above,

Resource Material, boxes 7-11. The material in this category appears to have been collected by the survey team in the process of searching for data on the Liberian economy. Considerable amounts of information were made available to the group by the States Operations Mission in Liberia (USOM/L). (United States Operations Mission (USOM) is the name given to ICA offices overseas.) Reports concerning USOM projects in agriculture, communications, electric power, industry, public health, and roads were given to the staff as well as copies of the minutes of various meetings of the Joint Liberian-United States Commission for Economic Development. Other resource materials include a collection of reports on agriculture, economy, education, government, and roads; two monographs relevant to the study; and files of 'Extracts', which are notes made from published works on Liberian history, ethnography, government, economy, and similar subjects.

Additional Materials, boxes 11-12. Included here are financial records such as purchase orders, requisitions, travel vouchers and cancelled checks which show how the project grant was spent; memoranda or importance to the project from the American Embassy in Liberia, the Liberian Government, and the United States Operations Mission; information on several conferences concerned with economic development. An additional part of the collection consists of a group of about ninety pamphlets and booklets which have been arranged under topics such as agriculture, communications, economy, education, forestry, health, water projects, miscellany, and pamphlets issued by the ICA. In concluding it should be made explicit that the collection described above represents only a part of the material gathered and produced by members of the survey team in the course of carrying out their research. Important papers which may have been separated from those discussed above are presently being sought.

Subject Files, boxes 13-17, include a variety of publications related to Liberia and its economy. The topics covered are Agriculture, Communications, Economy, Education, Health and Water Projects.


  • 1956-1962


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on use of the materials in the department for research; all patrons must comply with federal copyright regulations. To inquire about access to this collection, please contact the Herskovits Library at

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is stored at a remote campus location and requires two business days advance notice for retrieval.


17.00 Boxes

Language of Materials



This series contains the records generated by an economic survey of Liberia conducted by Northwestern University between January 1961 and August 1962 and initiated by the Government of Liberia through the International Cooperation Administration (ICA). The purpose of the survey was to "analyze the structure of the Liberian economy and measure its performance in order to suggest policies for development."


The records of the Economic Survey of Liberia are organized into: project administration; project correspondence (by correspondent, but not in alphabeatical order); personal papers: project papers (staff papers, field reports, additional reports); resource material; additional materials; and subject files (in alphabetical order).

Method of Acquisition

Received by the Northwestern University Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies in 1962.

Separated Materials

1.5 feet of materials was separated from the archive.

Processing Information

James Sanders, 1962; Emily Head, 2018

Guide to the Records of the Economic Survey of Liberia
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Library Details

Part of the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies Repository

Main Library, 5th Floor, East Tower
1970 Campus Drive
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US