Creator: Eichberger, Willis George (1912-1996)
Extent: 20.0 Cubic Feet
The Eichberger East African Art Collection is over 130 items, mostly from the tourist trade, that were collected in Africa during the 1960's to the 1970s.
The collection includes wooden masks, carved figures, and wooden tools and implements. It also includes jewelry, leather goods, and textiles. One of the highlights is the medieval Geeze bible, written on parchment with wooden covers in a leather case. There is a small collection of metal coptic crosses as well as framed drawings and paintings. Hundreds of images are also part of this collection, as well as two boxes of printed materials from Ethopia.
Willis George Eichberger, was born in Foster, NE on 8 Nov.
1912. He graduated from high school in Plainview, NE. He attended the
Univ. of NE and graduated in 1940 with B.Sc. degree.
He taught high school in Verdigre, NE from 1940-1947. He worked for the
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in Ainsworth, NE from 1947-1953. At that
time, he decided to return to college for his Master’s degree. He
graduated for the Univ. of NE in 1954 with an MA degree. He then
attended Iowa State College (now IA State Univ.) at Ames, IA graduating
with a Ph.D. in economics in 1956.
Subsequently he was employed by the USDA in Little Rock, AR and the
Public Health Service in Atlanta, GA and Wash., DC. While in that
capacity, they went to Accra, Ghana, Africa on a United Nations
Study Commission team in 1962 for 3 months. Upon their return, he
applied for employment with the State Dept., Foreign Service section.
was accepted and they went to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for the next
10 years. While in that job, he was the Deputy Director for U.S. AID
(Agency for International Development).
While they were stationed in Africa, they traveled extensively in
Kenya, Ethiopia and other parts of both eastern and western Africa.
The Eichbergers were married on 24 April 1937 in Lincoln, NE. They were
married for 56 years. Gretchen Merting of Lincoln, NE, died
in 1993 in Baytown, TX. Willis George Eichberger passed away in 1996 in Baytown, TX.
They had two children. A son, Robert was born in 1938, was a career
officer retiring from the US Air Force in 1980. He currently resides
with his wife in Tucson, AZ. A daughter, Erma, born in 1939, was an
executive secretary for many years and currently resides with her
husband in Baytown, TX.
The Eichbergers were residents of Valdosta from 1974 until 1992.
Related Materials: For more information please see http://www.valdosta.edu/library/find/arch/eichberger/african_art_index.html.