History & Us

Krutown as captured by Dutch photographer Paul Juliens

Dutch Photographer IV: Kru Town

Paul Julien (1901-2001) was an anthropologist from the Netherlands who traveled through Liberia in 1932. Andrea Stultiens (1974) is a photographer and researcher from the Netherlands. She tries to connect the past that was documented by Paul Julien to the past as remembered in Liberia and the way it is connected to the present. Julien’s photographs are part of the collection of the Netherlands Fotomuseum in Rotterdam.

Chief Justice Louis Arthur Grimes met his wife, Victoria Cheeseman (later Grimes), at the home of President Joseph J. Cheeseman in Edina, Grand Bassa County. The homestead was a "must see" for anyone visiting Grand Bassa

Chief Justice Louis Arthur Grimes' Address at the Opening of the April Term of Court, 1934

He was one of Liberia's most celebrated Chief Justices.  But that was not the only place that he made his mark.  Louis Arthur Grimes (1883-1948)  also served in the administration of President C.D.B. King as Attorney General, like his father before him, Counselor Henry W. Grimes, who was Attorney General during the administration of President Joseph J. Cheeseman.

Catholic Mission Monrovia (Left), Father Collins

Dutch Photographer (Part 3): Paul Julien Helped by the Catholic Mission

Paul Julien, who leads us through parts of Liberia in the early 1930s, was born into a Roman Catholic family and devoted to that religion his whole life. During his travels he regularly stayed with missionaries. He speaks of them with great respect and admiration. On August 30th 1932 Julien writes to his parents: "When the rain stopped for a moment I went to the Catholic mission, that operates a simple, small church at the edge of the village [referring not to Monrovia but to Kru Town].

(L-r) Framed portrait of Mathilda Richards and her children (photo by Andrea Stultiens, 2013); Advertisement in the Liberian Patriot 7-14 May 1932;

Dutch Photographer II: Paul Julien at Madame Mathilda Richards’

Last week I wrote about Paul Julien’s arrival in Monrovia and his first impressions. After passing through customs he went to see his fellow countrymen, whom, as he writes in a letter to his parents ‘there are two of in Monrovia.’ They welcomed him and then sent him to Madam Richards where he found a room for the equivalent of 7 guilders a day.

Providence Island

A Dutch Photographer’s First Impressions in Liberia, 1932

Introduction: It was the end of July when the adventurous Dutch anthropologist named Paul Julien, then 31 years old, arrived in Monrovia after a long journey on a Spanish ship he boarded weeks before. The year was 1932, 3 years before Graham Greene who wrote the famous book ‘Journey Without Maps,’ traveled through Liberia coming from Sierra Leone. Julien made a living as a chemistry teacher back home in the Netherlands. That was the reason he traveled during the rainy season, it was the long break between one school term and the next.


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