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David M. Foley papers

Identifier: MS0362

Scope and Contents

The collection is comprised primarily of notes that Dr. David Foley made in 1966 while doing research in the Archives of the Republic of Liberia, covering the period of 1865 to 1945. In addition, there are twenty-two rare, and in some cases, unique copies of Liberian government documents dating from 1904 to 1919. These pamphlets have been transferred to the Atkins Library Rare Books Collection.


  • Creation: 1966 - 1971


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical / Historical

David Michael Foley was born in Springfield, Ohio on May 2, 1937. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Belmont Abbey College in 1959, a Master of Arts degree from Auburn University in 1961, and a Ph.D. in history from the London School of Economics in 1965. It was in 1965 when he moved to Sierra Leone to take a lecturing position at the University College in Sierra Leone, remaining there until 1967. While there, the Liberian government granted him special access to its national archives. During that trip, Dr. Foley took extensive notes concerning the state of the Liberian archives and later published an article in the African Studies Bulletin, entitled “Liberia’s Archival Collection.” From 1967 to 1977, he was assistant professor of history at the University of Georgia; and in 1977, he became the Associate professor of history at Augusta College. During his career, he has been a co-editor of the African Studies Journal, a member of the American Historical Association, and a fellow of the African Studies Association. Foley died on March 11, 2003 in Charlotte, NC.

Biographical / Historical

The history of Liberia begins in 1822, when freed slaves from the United States sailed to the west coast of Africa to establish for themselves a refuge, free from slavery, racial prejudice and discrimination they experienced in the United States. Their efforts were financed mostly by church and philanthropic organizations; and especially the American Colonization Society.

However, upon their arrival in Africa, these “American-Africans” encountered native tribes, whom the American-Africans felt to be inferior. Most of the subsequent history of the new country was marked by the mutual distrust that the American-Africans and native Africans had for each other. The language, customs, religion and culture that these settlers brought with them were of a much more Euro-American influence, and were sources of division of the incoming settlers on the coast, and the natives, living inland. Ultimately, the American-Liberians (who constituted a very small minority) dominated the natives in politics and society.

The new government was established in 1847, and the Republic of Liberia was declared on July 26 of that year. Liberia, a term derived from European languages, means “Land of the Free,” and its capital, Monrovia, was named after James Monroe, who was president of the American Colonization Society at one time.

To a certain extent, it was the European’s recognition of the American-Liberian culture, society and political establishment that prevented European powers from overwhelming and colonizing it in the latter part of the nineteenth century.

For most of its history, especially its early history, Liberia was isolated from the rest of the world. This began to change in the twentieth century. In 1926, the Liberian government granted a contract (called a “concession”) to the Firestone Plantation Company—a decision that began the modernization process of the Liberian economy. During World War II, the United States extended a great deal of technical and economic assistance that increased the rate of economic, industrial and social change.


2 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Notes Foley recorded from original government sources in the Liberian National Archives while he was researching the history of the Liberian government from the 1850s to the 1920s.


Dr. Foley’s papers have been arranged into six different series, according to the way he wrote and organized them during his research in the Liberian Archives. Series 1 includes an article that Dr. Foley wrote and had published in the African Studies Bulletin (v. 11, no. 2, pp 217-220) in its September 1968 issue. Series 1 also contains Svend E. Holsoe’s Bibliography on Liberia, which he compiled in 1971 while working for the University of Delaware.

Series 2 contains an extensive collection of Foley’s handwritten notes on the correspondence that was sent through the German Foreign Ministry concerning German commercial interests in Liberia. Foley recorded his notes on small sheets of paper, measuring 5 x 8 inches, and are stamped in red with the initials GFM (German Foreign Ministry). In addition to the intended development of German interests, there are also many references to similar British interests in Liberia as well.

Series 3 contains notes similar to those found in series 2, except that they concern primarily Liberian foreign diplomatic correspondence; and though they are headed with that title, Foley also included an assortment of such notes on correspondence between various branches of the Liberian government.

Series 4 contains Foley’s assorted notes on a variety of different government departments and 1 roll of microfilm, assorted pages from "The Lange Report".

Series 5 is a small quantity of unlabelled and miscellaneous material, and series 6 is a box of index cards with a variety of name and subject headings.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

David M. Foley.

Related Materials

Printed governmental publications moved to the Rare Book Collection.

Processing Information

Processed by Robert A. McInnes, 2006.

David M. Foley papers
Robert A. McInnis
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscript Collections, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, UNC Charlotte Repository

Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte NC 28223 United States

About this Site

Finding aids are guides to archival collections, including manuscripts, university records, and oral history collections. These guides help you find physical collections which can be viewed in the Dalton Reading Room on the 10th floor of Atkins Library. A small number of finding aids link to digital content online. Please contact us to learn more or to schedule an appointment:

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