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Collection Level Description: Papers of Phoebe Somers relating to her work in the Education Service in Tanganyika and Kenya

Reference: GB 0162 MSS.Afr.s.2061
Title: Papers of Phoebe Somers relating to her work in the Education Service in Tanganyika and Kenya
Dates of Creation: 1953-1967
Extent: 4 boxes
Name of Creator: Phoebe Helen Somers

Language of Material: eng



Administrative/Biographical History

Phoebe Somers (d 1995) was raised in Hove and trained at Brighton College of Art. For 18 years she was in charge of the art department of Berkhamsted Girls' Grammar School before moving to East Africa, where she worked [c1952-1963?], first in Kenya High School, Nairobi, then in Government-run African secondary schools in Tanzania, inspecting a number of primary schools in both territories. During this and her subsequent period in Africa, she learnt fluent Swahili and travelled widely, initially through East Africa, then through East and Central Africa, including the ruins of Great Zimbabwe, during a four month tour in 1962, the Commonwealth countries of Southern Africa in 1965, and Kenya again in 1966, 1967, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972 and 1976. A series of paintings recording her East African impressions was exhibited at the Commonwealth Institute, 1957.

She also spent a period in England, sitting for 7 years on the Cambridge O-level Art Marking Board and accepting a lectureship at the Commonwealth Institute. She was then appointed to start an art department at a teacher training college on Mount Kenya, and began her second residence in Africa. On her final return to England she gave talks on national and local radio and undertook a series of articles, with sketches, on inhabitants of her native Sussex.

Scope and Content

Letters home, articles, photographs and drawings relating to work in the Education Service in Tanganyika and Kenya

Administrative Information

Access Conditions

Bodleian reader's ticket required.

Reproduction Restrictions

No reproduction or publication of personal papers without permission. Contact the library in the first instance.

Further Information

Finding Aids

The library holds a card index of all manuscript collections in its reading room.

Listed as no. 937 in Manuscript Collections in Rhodes House Library Oxford, Accessions 1978-1994 (Oxford, Bodleian Library, 1996).

Access Points

Somers | Phoebe Helen | d 1955 | art teacher

Art teachers | Africa, East

Education | Tanganyika

Education | Kenya


Transformation from XML to HTML by Lawrence Mielniczuk
17 January 2012