David A. Day scrapbook  ca. 1897
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The David A. Day scrapbook was assembled shortly after Rev. Day's death in 1897 to commemorate one of the most renowned American missionaries in West Africa. The thirty-four silver print photographs are supplemented by half-tone illustrations of the mission and its missionaries (excised from an unidentified publication), and are accompanied by hand-written and typed captions providing background on the activities of the mission, the way of life of its inhabitants, and biographical notes on some converts. Laid into the front cover is a seven-page typed memoir of Day's life. Based upon writing inside the front cover, the scrapbook appears to have been assembled at or for the mission within a few years after Day's death.

Although the creator of the scrapbook is unidentified, the book remains a valuable record of the Lutheran missionary enterprise in Liberia and missionary responses to the inhabitants of that country. The series of images and captions seem equally concerned with religious "progress" (Christianization) and the material improvement of native lives as gauged by their adoption of western dress, methods of production, and attitudes toward work. Singled out for special note are a seven year old girl from "one of the tribes 100 miles north of the mission" who took pride in her dress and ability to use a broom, and a particularly devoted convert, Henry Stewart, and the author of the scrapbook included several views of particularly well-dressed groups of converts assembled and posed in orderly fashion. Along with views of the tidy mission complex itself, there is a secondary emphasis on the unconverted, with illustrations of their method of travel (by hammock), "half-civilized" natives at a saw mill, and semi-nude men standing by the river, awaiting a canoe. The typed captions offer a somewhat more extended, but still relatively brief commentary on native (Grebo) life and their lack of western attitudes and advantages.

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