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Arthur S. Alberts Photographs

Identifier: MC-246

Scope and Contents

The Arthur S. Alberts Photographs include photographs from the late 1940s and early 1950s when Arthur Alberts (Williams 1931) was in West Africa documenting native African music and culture, and its relationship to jazz. He took photographs and recorded music on the Gold Coast, Upper Volta, Sudan, Ivory Coast, Liberia, and Guinea. The photographs depict day to day life of the people in West Africa, agricultural equipment, nautical boats and fishing, airplanes, wildlife, musical instruments, and other activities and events.


  • 1940 - 1952

Language of Materials

In English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Arthur S. Alberts Papers collection is open for research. Researchers are encouraged to contact Special Collections staff prior to a visit.

Conditions Governing Use

In consultation with Special Collections staff, reproductions may be made upon request. Please consult with staff regarding questions about publishing materials from Williams Special Collections. Researchers are responsible for handling any copyright issues that may be associated with collections and materials.

Biographical / Historical

Arthur S. Alberts was born in Yonkers, New York in 1910. He graduated from Williams College in 1931. His career mostly involved working in the advertising, publishing, and art fields. During World War II he was placed in the French Division (Psychological Warfare Branch) where he used his language skills for the Army in Morocco, Algeria, Italy, and Sardinia. He received the Medal of Freedom for his role in the liberation of Southern France. After World War II he served as the speech writer for Chief of Staff General Dwight Eisenhower. In 1949, Alberts returned to West Africa to photograph and record native African music and life. He compiled a series titled "Tribal, Folk and Cafe Music of West Africa." This work led him to be appointed American Consul to (at the time) the Belgian Congo, Angola, the French Cameroons, French Equatorial Africa, and Rwanda-Burundi. Arthur was married three times and passed away on June 5, 1986 after living in Falmouth, Massachusetts for thirteen years.


2.5 Linear Feet (5 manuscript boxes (letter size))

Physical Location

L2 Storage F5b

Related Materials

Original recordings are housed at the following locations: Library of Congress Folklife Center, University of Indiana, and Indiana University.


Collection retrieved from the basement of Thompson Memorial Chapel in 1992 by Archivist, Sylvia Brown.

Processing Information

Processed by Katie Nash, 2017.
Arthur S. Alberts Photographs
Nash, Katie
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Williams College Archives & Special Collections Repository

Sawyer Library
26 Hopkins Hall Drive
Williamstown, MA 01267