Rudolph Altrocchi , Sleuthing in the Stacks ( Cambridge : Harvard University Press , 1944 ) , p . 95 ; Poges , Burroughs , p . 130 . 124. Margaret Romer , " Edger Rice Burroughs , Creator of Tarzan , " Overland Monthly March 1934 , p .
Author: Lysle E. Meyer
Publisher: Susquehanna University Press
Although the United States never became a participant in the imperialistic partition of Africa, a surprising number of Americans were involved with the so-called Dark Continent during the period when European penetration led to conquest and colonial rule. This book examines the activities of six Americans who played important roles in the West's relations with Africa in that era. The subjects discussed are Thomas Jefferson Bowen, who established the first American mission posts in Yorubaland and tried to penetrate the Muslim sphere beyond the Niger (1848-57); Paul Du Chaillu, explorer of Gabon and popular writer on Africa (1855-1903); Charles Chaille-Long, soldier-explorer who served the Egyptian government in the Sudan and in East Africa (1870-82); Henry Shelton Sanford, a diplomat and lobbyist who was a significant figure in negotiations leading to the colonial opening of the Congo (1877-90); John Hays Hammond, a mining engineer in South Africa (1893-96) who was a central participant in the Jameson Raid episode, which helped precipitate the Anglo-Boer War; and Carl Akeley, taxidermist-hunter-naturalist who led five collecting expeditions to Africa and produced highly influential museum exhibitions of African wildlife (1896-1926). These biographical studies help to fill out the picture of American ties to Africa presented in several surveys published in the last thirty-five years. While many of their countrymen found opportunities and tempting challenges in the developing frontier territories of their own country, the men covered here were drawn to a more exotic part of the world, where their experiences sometimes rivalled in excitement those of better-known European adventurers in Africa. Coming from dissimilar geographical and occupational backgrounds, these six Americans dealt with Africa in different ways: for the most part they were concerned with widely separated regions of the continent over almost a century. Al] their stories, however, contribute meaningfully toward our understanding of the history of America's connections with Africa during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Based on extensive research in archival sources as well as on a critical evaluation of secondary materials, the case studies in this collection demonstrate in fascinating detail that such Americans were noteworthy actors in the evolution of Africa's confrontation with the outside world. One of the major themes to which the author gives his attention is the image of Africa that was created in the Western mind during the period involved and, indeed, long after. Several of the figures examined contributed in major ways to the peculiar representation of Africa and its people that governed Americans' perception of them for several generations. In this and in other respects Meyer's book provides insights that are relevant for both African and American history.