Papers of Ifor Ball Powell

Scope and Content

The collection comprises largely the Philippine reference material (1926-1986) collected by Ifor Ball Powell, together with his correspondence and personal papers. The reference material covers topics such as Philippine legislature; Philippine administration; political parties, elections and election statistics; US Philippine agreements and relations; Philippine Islands during World War II and the City of Manila. Also included are photographs taken during Powell's field trips in Southeast and East Asia, particularly in the Philippines, and an extensive collection of press cuttings.

Administrative / Biographical History

Ifor Ball Powell was born on 12 September 1902, at Llanfihangel Talyllyn, Brecon. He was a student at Aberystwyth in the early 1920's, where he came under the influence of C.K. Webster and Sidney Herbert in the then newly founded department of International Politics. A Rockefeller fellowship took him to the University of Michigan to study American history. While there he became interested in the Far East. Powell became particularly interested in the Philippines, when he arrived there as a Rockefeller scholar in 1926. He spent three years visiting islands in the central and southern Philippines, collecting a vast amount of information and material on the government, economy and history of the islands. He was particularly interested in the history of the British in the Philippines and collected material on British firms and society. After his return to Britain, and for the rest of his life, Ifor Powell continued his interest in and links with the Philippines, writing to many Filipino friends and colleagues and maintaining an extensive collection of press cuttings.

During the 1930's, Ifor Powell taught history at Barry County Grammar School for Boys. In 1940 he took up wartime duties as a temporary civil servant in the Ministry of Labour. He also visited the United States as a representative of the Royal Institute of International Affairs. In 1945 he was appointed to the Department of History, University College, Cardiff, to teach modern European history. In this position he introduced courses on the expansion of Europe, Far Eastern and American history. From 1949 his teaching was entirely in these fields. Cardiff was thus among one of the first history departments in the UK to widen its syllabus to accommodate new areas of interest created by the Second World War.

He married Anne Nora Lewis (d. 9 March 1983) on 18 August 1931. There were no children. Ifor Ball Powell died on 11 December 1985, at Barry, Glamorgan.


The collection has been arranged into three sections: Ifor Ball Powell's personal papers; Philippine reference material and miscellaneous materials.

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Bequeathed to SOAS library on Ifor Ball Powell's death in December 1985 with the collection being received the following January

Other Finding Aids

Unpublished handlist