Letters home, articles, photographs and drawings relating to work in the Education Service in Tanganyika and Kenya
Papers of Phoebe Somers relating to her work in the Education Service in Tanganyika and Kenya
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Scope and Content
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.
Conditions Governing Access
Bodleian reader's ticket required.
Collection level description created by staff at the Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies at Rhodes House.
Other 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).
Conditions Governing Use
No reproduction or publication of personal papers without permission. Contact the library in the first instance.