The Harvard African Expedition, Book 2: October 31, 1926



Loring Whitman




Sun Oct 31st In the morning we all went swimming again with the same pleasure but about 900 Mr. Van Hensden came over to say that the Judge had made a complaint to him about the indecency of our bathing naked. Horrors! He thought it a good joke but you know these Liberians and the whites. About 1100 a portly gentleman called – He wished to see Dr. Strong. He was asked his business but declined – it was urgent. After a short palava he was admitted. He introduced himself as a Mr. Ross – and he wished to inform us that we might be arrested for corrupting the morals of the Liberians. Tush, tush, those onlookers were not there when we came and if women did watch us it was of their own volition. “Oh I don’t mean them, they don't count – I mean the Americo Liberians.” We implied that telescopes are nice and he saw he was making no headway. “Why they don’t do that in America –Oh yes I know America, I was a guest there” and then “except at coney island, of course.” We did not laugh. Still he changed the subject – “Are you examining the mineral wealth of the country?” and told us of a liberian exp. To go forth in march to make a mineral survey. Van Hensden’s comment was “a guest? – a free guest of the U.S. – in Sing Sing.” This chap is an ex. Vice pres., the leader of a rebellion against the republic, is wanted out of Liberia and is now a retired gentleman of leisure. 

            In the afternoon Hal and I wandered around town taking more movies and making purchases. We also siestaed.

            I developed another 5 doz pictures and finished the job. Tonight we had another storm about 2 which made the roof leak in 2 new places. After working to 12 for two successive nights and then being waked and soaked during the night – well one swears. 






Loring Whitman, “The Harvard African Expedition, Book 2: October 31, 1926,” A Liberian Journey: History, Memory, and the Making of a Nation, accessed May 25, 2018,