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Archive of Barbara Akinyemi


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Letters to her parents from war-time Britain, and later from Colonial Nigeria, with printed papers from post-colonial Nigeria.


  • Creation: 1938-2000


0.45 Linear metres (1 physical shelfmark)

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MSS. Afr. s. 2499/1, fols. 1-2].

Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Afr. s. 2499/1-3

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 5138, 5139, 5140


Letters and printed papers of Barbara Akinyemi.

Biographical / Historical

Barbara Akinyemi was born 26 May 1914, the daughter of Harold George Powter and his wife, Ethel, née Barnard. She was brought up in Maidstone, Kent. She trained as a nurse at Lewisham Hospital, London, specializing in midwifery and health visiting. During the Second World War, she worked as a nurse in Norwich and Aberdeen. After the war she applied to join the Colonial Nursing Service, and was posted to Nigeria as a health visitor in March 1947. She worked initially in Lagos and was taught Yoruba, the local language, by Olu Akinyemi. During her contract she also worked in Kano and Makurdi. At the end of her contract she returned to England where she met her language teacher again, who was working in London for the Crown Agents. They married in Maidstone, 24 Oct. 1953. They returned to Lagos in 1958 and lived in the hospital compound, where her husband was head of the hospital administration. Barbara continued her medical work in private clinics and also did voluntary work at the Cheshire Home. She was a founder member of the West African Book Club, which was established in 1982, and an early member of Nigerwives, an organisation for foreign wives of Nigerian men.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Letters to her parents were donated by Barbara Akinyemi, 16 Mar. 2001. Newsletters and other memorabilia were donated by Barbara Akinyemi, 17 Feb. 2001.

Related Materials

See also MSS. Afr. s. 2216 for her diary written whilst she was a health visitor in Lagos and Makurdi, Nigeria, 1947-8 and 1952.

See also MSS. Afr. s. 1872/002 for her memorandum on her service as a health visitor in Nigeria, 1947-51, with a related letter and press-cutting.

Catalogue of the archive of Barbara Akinyemi, 1938-2000
Finding aid prepared by C. Parker
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom