Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Finding Aid for the John Povey Papers, 1958-1992
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (173.38 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: John Povey Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1958-1992
    Collection number: 452
    Creator: Povey, John
    Extent: 35 boxes (17.5 linear ft.) 1 oversized box
    Abstract: The papers of UCLA professor John Povey consist of manuscripts, notes, printed material, publications, drawings, and correspondence related to his teaching, research, and administrative activities, including the editorship of the journal African Arts.
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Department of Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Administrative Information

    Restrictions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Advance notice required for access.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Gail Povey, February 1996.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], John Povey Papers (Collection 452). Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 5046314 


    John Frederick Povey was born April 5, 1929 in South London. Povey was educated at St. Dunstan's College in London during the Blitz. After World War II, Povey was employed in a gold mine in South Africa under a plan that allowed him to study at the University of South Africa in Pretoria, where he completed a B.A. in English (1956) and an M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language (1960). In the United States, Povey completed his Ph.D. in Third World Literature in English at Michigan State University (1964), after which he joined the faculty at UCLA. His areas of research included South African and Nigerian literature, comparative world literature, language planning and policy, ESL/TESL, and investigating symbols and rituals in African art. John Povey's career at UCLA was distinguished. He was director of the African Humanities Institute, chair of the ESL Section of the English Department, chair of the Africa Committee of the UC Education Abroad Program, Associate Director of the African Studies Center, and Project Director for numerous in-service teacher training programs in the United States and Africa. He authored eight books and texts, 20 chapters for edited volumes, and more than 100 reviews and articles on African literature, art, and culture. His field research took him to Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Kenya, South Africa, Rwanda, Zaire, Cameroon, Zimbabwe, Somalia, Togo, and Liberia. One of his most signifigant acomplishments at UCLA was his notable editorship of African Arts, in which he served from Fall 1967 until his retirement in 1991. His tireless efforts to have all forms of African art included in the major canon of art history promoted the work of talented African artists globally. He died of cancer on May 3, 1992.

    Scope and Content

    The collection consists of manuscripts, notes, printed material, publications, drawings, and correspondence related to his teaching, research, and administrative activities, including the editorship of the journal African Arts. Notable items include promotional materials from galleries empasizing African art, research files on Nigerian Shona artists, and personal correspondence with Tayo Olafioye, Dumile, and Dennis Brutus. The files document Professor Povey's varied interests, including English literacy through literature, and African art.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Arranged in the following series:
    1. Student theses and dissertations, 1973-1991
    2. Research and teaching, 1958-1992
    3. African Arts, 1965-1992
    4. Publications and manuscripts, 1965-1991
    5. Miscellaneous professional papers, 1968-1992
    The collection was initally sorted and boxed by Gail Povey prior to acquisition by UCLA Special Collections. For processing, files were removed from the labeled cartons, rehoused, and organized into five series reflecting the original order of the papers as found in the cartons.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Povey, John--Archives.
    Africanists--United States--Archival resources.