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Joseph Martin Letter

Identifier: SC 01576

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Scope and Contents

14 page letter written to his father in Washington, DC from a missionary trip in Garmu, Liberia. In his letter, Martin gives great detail of the weather, jungle conditions, and the farming practices of the natives. He informs his father, also, of traditions and cultural practices of the natives, like their worshiping of the cottonwood tree, referred to as the "tree of worship" and musical practices to welcome the full moon. Martin retells of an arduous journey through the bush that came across a washed out bridge. Their efforts to cross were met with many failed attempts and they were successful only with the help of another tribe from the area. Martin concludes his letter by commenting on the current state of missionary work in the area, calling most of it a failed endeavor. He accurately foreshadows the decolonization of Africa saying, "No doubt you would be satisfied to know that some day in the near future the black man means to drive every white man off the face of Africa. Today this is slow but sure unification of the black man is going on..."


  • Creation: 1915 October 31


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to all researchers. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, such as the Virginia Public Records Act (Code of Virginia. § 42.1-76-91); and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Code of Virginia § 2.2-3705.5). Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. If sensitive material is found in this collection, please contact a staff member immediately. The disclosure of personally identifiable information pertaining to a living individual may have legal consequences for which the College of William and Mary assumes no responsibility.

Conditions Governing Use

Before publishing quotations or excerpts from any materials, permission must be obtained from the Curator of Manuscripts and Rare Books, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.


0.01 Linear Feet



Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from James Arsenault and Company with funds from the Frances Randolph Endowment, 2018.

Guide to the Joseph Martin Letter
Christina R. Luers, CA
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository