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Guide to the George Way Harley Papers, 1911-1975

Collection Overview

The papers of George Way Harley span the years 1911 to 1975 though the bulk of them are from 1925 to 1960. The papers relate principally to the life and work of George W. and Winifred J. Harley at the mission they founded and supervised at Ganta, Liberia and include diaries and journals, correspondence, writings and notes, miscellaneous personal and subject files, account books, notebooks, scrapbooks, albums, photographs, printed materials, clippings, diplomas, certificates, memorabilia, and other papers.

Shortly after George W. Harley graduated from Trinity College (later Duke University) in 1916, he went to Yale to attend medical school, where he met his future wife, Winifred Frances Jewell. Responding to calls to mission work heard at the First Methodist Church in New Haven, and after receiving his M.D. in 1923, Harley and his wife left the U.S. under the auspices of the Board of Foreign Missions of the Methodist Episcopal Church. After a short time studying in London, they were sent to Ganta, in the Liberian interior, where they established a medical mission and industrial school.

During the next 35 years spent at Ganta Mission, Dr. Harley built a medical dispensary, hospital, church, school, several residences and shops, as well as a leper village and two "sick villages." In addition to his medical work, Dr. Harley was also very involved and interested in the industrial training and teaching of the local Liberian people, as well as local anthropology, art, native medicine, mapping, meteorology, and other scientific interests. On his death in 1966, Liberia declared a national day of mourning and President William V.S. Tubman issued a proclamation praising the long service of Dr. Harley on behalf of Liberia and its people.

The correspondence of George W. and Winifred J. Harley forms the largest portion of these papers. Included are many letters to members of their respective families (letters from family members being notably absent) detailing the daily life and struggles of mission work as well as more official correspondence with the Board of Foreign Missions of the Methodist Episcopal Church and scholarly correspondence relating to Dr. Harley's scientific work, particularly his relationship with the Peabody Museum of Harvard University in conducting anthropological field work and collecting botanical and entomological specimens. Also included in the correspondence are letters reflecting in a general way on the impact of World War II in Liberia and the operations of the plantations of the Firestone Rubber Company.

The writings found in these papers consist of holograph and typewritten drafts and notes on a variety of subjects. Included are articles of both popular and scholarly interest focusing, not surprisingly, on various aspects of Harley's experience and work at the mission and in Liberia. Of particular note are a copy of Harley's 1938 Ph.D. dissertation, Native African Medicine and two drafts of Mrs. Harley's memoirs of her life with George Harley.

The Miscellany files in these papers consist of notes, minutes, printed and near-print material, and other papers relating to a particular subject, such as Dr. Harley's participation in the work of the Advisory Council on Health of the Republic of Liberia or his work with the Foreign Economic Administration. Also included are Dr. Harley's notes in his research on trypanosomiasis ("sleeping sickness"), biographical and personal files on Dr. and Mrs. Harley, rainfall statistics, notes on the Mano language, and miscellaneous notes and papers relating to the Liberian timber and mining industries.

Rounding out the papers are a series of account books and notebooks, relating primarily to personal and mission finances; clippings and printed matter relating to the Harleys in particular and to Liberia in general; scrapbooks and photo albums, the latter focused principally on the Harley's post-retirement years; and a series of certificates, awards, and diplomas.

Correspondents of note include Thomas Smith Donohugh, E. A. Hooton, George Schwab, and William V. S. Tubman.

Descriptive Summary

Title
George Way Harley papers 1911-1975
Creator
Harley, George Way, 1894-1966
Extent
5 Linear Feet, 2,500 Items
Repository
Duke University. David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Language
English.

Administrative Information

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 48 business hours in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

warning Use Restrictions

The copyright interests in the papers of George W. and Winifred J. Harley are reserved to their heirs under the provisions of U.S. copyright law (Title 17, U.S.C.). For further information, see the section on copyright in the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Contents of the Collection

Except for a rather full journal of the Harleys' early years at the Ganta Mission (1925-1927),most of the diaries are sporadic with usually brief entries. Some are little more than calendars. Arranged chronologically.

1925; 1925-1927; 1929
Box 1
1931, 1932, 1939, 1939
Box 1
1933; 1934; 1936
Box 1
1944-45; 1946; 1948; 1953; 1956 and 1960
Box 1

Letters, postcards telegrams, greeting cards, and mimeographed holiday "newsletters." Includes many retained copies of letters sent. Correspondence relates to personal, family, and mission business. There is little correspondence for some of the years the Harleeys were on furlough. Arrange chronologically.

1918-1924
Box 2
1925 Jan.-July
Box 2
1925 Aug.-Dec.
Box 2
1926
Box 2
1927
Box 2
1928
Box 2
1929
Box 2
1930-1931
Box 3
1932
Box 3
1933
Box 3
1934
Box 3
1935-1936
Box 3
1937-1939
Box 3
1940-1942
Box 3
1943-1944
Box 3
1945
Box 4
1946-1949
Box 4
1950-1952
Box 4
1953-1956
Box 4
Letters dictated, 1953 July-1955 May
Box 4
1957-1959
Box 4
1960
Box 4
1961
Box 4
1962-1963
Box 5
1964-1965
Box 5
1966
Box 5
1967-1975
Box 5
Undated and fragments
Box 5

Includes handwritten and typescript drafts and notes for college papers, scholarly and popular articles, theses and dissertations, memoirs, and speeches. The topics include travel and description, medicine, anthropology, and mission work. Most of the writings are undated, though some were subsequently published. Reprints of some published works are included. Arranged alphabetically by title.

As I See It Now, 1959
Box 5
Asheville, [1916]
Box 5
[Autobiography]
Box 5
A Boy With Ten Homes [ca. 1916]
Box 5
Brickyard, undated
Box 5
Charles Alfred [ca. 1932]
Box 5
Cool Springs, [1916]
Box 5
Doctor Eaton [ca. 1916]
Box 5
Fighting Joe, 1916
Box 5
Ganta Dispensary Patients, 1933
Box 5
Ganta Mission Evangelists, undated
Box 5
Ganta Mission Workshops, undated
Box 5
History of Ganta Mission to 1960
Box 5
Jack of All Trades, 1958-1959
Box 5
A Kid Brother's Luck, [ca. 1916]
Box 5
Kwambli Goes to School, undated
Box 5
Liberia; The People and Custom, undated
Box 5
[Mission problems....], ca. 1930
Box 5
Monrovia to Sanoquell, undated
Box 5
pp. 1-140
Box 6
pp. 141-299
Box 6
pp. 300-419
Box 6
The Northern Messenger, 1940
Box 6
Notes on the Economic Botany of Central Liberia
Box 6
Notes on the Poro in Liberia, 1941
Box 6
Occidental Medicine in Prim. Soc., undated
Box 6
A Person, 1916
Box 6
Personal History, undated
Box 6
Powell and Carter, undated
Box 6
Razor Society, undated
Box 6
Readers' Digest Interview, 1960
Box 6
Roads and Trails in Liberia, undated
Box 6
Sandy, undated
Box 6
Schoolhouse, [1937?]
Box 6
Sixteen Buck Shot, ca. 1961
Box 6
Snake Cult of Wanyanwegi (by Frederick G. Carnochan)
Box 6
The Snake Societies, undated
Box 6
Some Background Data Concerning Ganta Mission, 1958
Box 6
[Speech], Lincoln University, 1963
Box 6
Studies in Remedies Used by the Liberian Native, undated
Box 6
Suture Closure Patterns in the Chimpanzee, undated
Box 6
Teen-Agers in West Africa with Special Reference to Liberia, undated
Box 7
There Are No Secrets, undated
Box 7
corrected ms. (second version)
Box 7
Thirty-Five Years Looking Back, 1961
Box 7
Thou Shalt Not, undated
Box 7
Treatment of Snakebite, undated
Box 7
The Vital Function of Bile, 1923
Box 7
West African Religion, undated
Box 7
Why Missions in Africa? undated
Box 7
Yellow Sickness, undated
Box 7
Reprints
Box 7
Untitled writings
Box 7
Miscellaneous speaking notes
Box 7
Miscellaneous notes
Box 7

Principally subject files of miscellaneous papers relating to various activities or interests of Dr. or Mrs. Harley, including such things as minutes of the Advisory Council on Health, Republic of Liberia, miscellaneous notes on Liberian timber and gold mining, personal medical records, passports, and memorabilia, diplomas, etc. Arranged alphabetically by folder title.

Advisory Council on Health, R.L., 1958-1961
Box 8
Biographical, 1948-1966 and undated
Box 8
Diplomas and certificates, 1924-1966
Box 8
Foreign Economic Administration, 1945-1946
Box 8
Forestry and botany
Box 8
Ganta Mission
Box 8
Liberia--Public health and sanitation
Box 8
Mano Language
Box 8
Methodist Church, 1933-1976
Box 9
Mines and mineral resources, 1943-1945
Box 9
Personal and medical, 1925-1966
Box 9
Rainfall statistics and charts, Ganta,
Box 9
Liberia, 1927-1960
Box 9
Saniquellie Hospital, 1947-1950, undated
Box 9
Trypanosomiasis cases, 1944-1945
Box 9
Other papers
Box 9
Sketch of William Godwin, 1816

Pencil sketch of William Godwin, from Accession 2000-0334.

Box 14

Personal and mission financial accounts of a scattered nature. Volume for 1927-30 also contains gardening information and rainfall data, 1927-1932. Included in the notebooks are a medical notebook and some anthropological and mapping field notes. Account books arranged chronologically by first year of volume; notebooks in one folder.

1924; 1928; 1929
Box 9
1927-1930
Box 10
1930; 1932; 1933; 1936
Box 10
1945-1950; 1935-1952; 1955-1959; 1959
Box 10
1952-1960; 1965-ca. 1974
Box 10
Notebooks
Box 11

Newspaper and magazine clippings relating to the Harleys and their work. Arranged chronologically.

1916-1972, undated
Box 11
1931(scrapbook)
Box 11

Tear-sheets, pamphlets, articles, printed ephemera, etc. containing writings by, about, or mentioning G. W. Harley. Also includes general printed matter relating to African art, Liberia, and Ganta Mission. Organized into three broad categories; otherwise unarranged.

African Art
Box 11
Liberia
(2 folders)
Box 11
General
Box 12

Scrapbooks of newspaper clippings, memorabilia, printed ephemera, letters, photographs, etc. Includes a scrapbook of sympathy cards, letters, obituaries, and memorial service programs on the death of G.W. Harley. Also, some loose photographs.

1937-1947
Box 12
1952-1960
Box 12
The Last Ganta Years, 1954-1960
Box 13
At Home-Merry Point, 1960
Box 13
Virginia, 1960-1966
Box 13
In Memoriam, 1966
Box 13
Photographs
Box 13

Certificates and Diplomas, 1911-1960.

Clippings and memos, ca. 1945-1950
Oversize Folder 1
Certificate, Order of the Star of Africa, 1949
1946
1960
1947
Citation, 1960
Award (Mrs. Harley), 1947
Diploma, Royal College of Physicians, 1925
Diploma, Trinity College, 1916
Diploma, Kennedy Mission School, 1938
Diploma, Yale University, 1933
Diploma, Merrimac High School, 1911
Diploma, Bates College, 1915
Diploma, Concord Graded Schools, 1912
Embalming License, Connecticut, 1920

Historical Note

DateEvent(s)
1894, Aug. 8Born, Asheville, N.C.
1916A.B., Trinity College, Durham, N.C.
1916-1918Teacher, North Carolina high schools
1923M.D., Yale University
1923, Aug. 4Married Winifred Frances Jewell
1924Superintendent, Harrington Hospital, Grenfell Mission, Labrador
1925Diploma, Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
1926-1960Founder and superintendent, Ganta Mission, Ganta, Liberia
1932-1962Research Associate in Anthropology, Peabody Museum, Harvard University
1938Ph.D., Kennedy School of Missions, Hartford Seminary Foundation
1945-1946Special consultant to Foreign Economic Administration in Liberia, U.S. Dept. of State
1957L.H.D., Duke University
1960, Apr.Retired from Ganta Mission and returned to U.S.
1966, Nov. 7Died, Lancaster, Va.

Subject Headings

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], The Papers of George Way Harley, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Provenance

The papers of George Way Harley (1894-1966), missionary and physician, and his wife Winifred Jewell Harley were deposited in the Rubenstein Library by Mrs. Winifred J. Harley, 1973-1977; converted to a gift in September 1986.

Processing Information

Processed by: Steven L. Hensen

Completed June 26, 1987

Encoded by Stephen Douglas Miller

This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.