Dr Livingstone, I Presume?

Exhibitions in Brussels #1 BELvue Museum

PicMonkey Collage

In 1871, on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, American journalist Henry Stanley met the explorer David Livingstone and spoke the famous words: “Dr Livingstone, I presume?” After spending several weeks together the two men separated – Dr Livingstone to continue his search for the source of the Nile and Stanley on the first of his explorations in Africa.


Henry Stanley’s travel journal, acquired by the King Baudouin Foundation in 2001, formed the centre piece of an exhibition at the BELvue Museum dedicated to the time these two remarkable men spent together. Through their letters and journals we travelled with David Livingstone and Henry Stanley as they explored together around Lake Tanganyika.


The letters written by Dr Livingstone detailed his growing opposition to slavery and told of his mentorship of Henry Stanley. Stanley’s travel-worn compass and binoculars gave credence to his evolution as an explorer in his own right.



Artefacts from the tribes with whom they came in contact were collected by Dr Livingstone and many of these were sent home to his daughter Agnes after his death in 1873.



And what was Dr. Livingstone’s reply to the most famous question ever asked?

“Yes. I feel thankful that I am here to welcome you.”



15 thoughts on “Dr Livingstone, I Presume?

    • I’m often amazed by what people have kept from the past and so grateful that someone didn’t look at it all later and think, “Oh, that’s just a lot of old rubbish” and throw it all away. These letters are so interesting.

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