Eichberger Collection

VSU Archives’ recently acquired Eichberger East African Art exhibit is currently on display in the Hub Gallery and in the 4th floor Archives patron area.  Willis George Eichberger collected these items during his ten-year stay in Ghana West Africa and Ethiopia in the 1960’s with the Department of State. Ninety-two items, ranging in size from one quarter inch to eight feet, are on display in these two locations.  Printouts of our descriptive database provide identifying information for each item.  Please pick up a copy of these printouts in either location and use them as a guide through the exhibit.

Eichberger was born in Nebraska in 1912 and died in Texas in 1996.  He attended the University of Nebraska and Iowa State University earning degrees in Agricultural Economics and a PHD in Economics.  He had a long career with the federal government working with the Department of Health Education and Welfare, and ultimately becoming Deputy Chief Economist for HEW.  While there he established the National Economics Division for Water Supply and Pollution.  In the 1960’s he joined the State Department and traveled to East Africa, where he lived for ten years in Ghana West Africa and Ethiopia.  After he retired in 1972, he lived briefly in Valdosta Georgia, before finally moving to Texas, his last residence.  His wife was Gretchen Eichberger, who predeceased him in 1993; the Eichbergers had two children, a daughter, Erma Cunningham,  and a son, Robert Eichberger.

The collection includes a wide variety of trade carvings, traditional pottery, basketry, jewelry, gourds, cloth, weapons, and some paintings and sixties era publications about the area of East Africa.  The Hub Gallery on the second floor displays large rugs, furs, and other weavings.   Some of the items in the collection are obviously antique, including a small Bible written in “Geeze” and other jewelry and pottery.  Please come and view the exhibit at your convenience.  While the Hub Gallery exhibits are available any time the library is open, and the archives exhibits are available Monday – Thursday, 9am-4pm and Friday 9am to 3pm.  Other times may be available by request, depending on staff availability.