Diana Powell-Cotton



Diana Powell-Cotton


Diana Powell-Cotton, together with her sister Tony, made collecting trips to southwest Angola in 1936 and 1937. They returned with thousands of artefacts and photographs, and made a number of films. They also created an important written archive which includes their diaries, copious notes on a wide variety of topics and lists of vocabulary.
Born in 1908, Diana was the eldest of four children. She grew up at Quex Park, the Powell-Cotton Museum was built in the grounds of the family home.
In 1933 Diana travelled to Sudan with her father and then on to Somalia and the Bajuni Islands alone where she collected artefacts and information. The experience gained was useful to her in planning the Angola trips, not least in refuting claims that a woman would not be cabaple of undertaking collecting work in Africa.
During World War II Diana undertook medical training and later worked as a doctor in Kenya before returning to England in 1969. She died in 1986.
There is a short biography of Diana included in the Powell-Cotton archive. We believe this to have been written by, or based on information supplied by, her younger brother Christopher. Please scroll down and click on 'Other Media' to see it in full.

Linked resources

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Title Alternate label Class
Transcription of Diana Powell-Cotton's 1937 Angola diary Text
Making of Bark Cloth Physical Object
Feminine Coiffure in Angola: Much-Adorned Girls of West Africa Physical Object
Letter responding to complaint "Expedition of Misses Powell-Cotton to Angola" Physical Object
Notes Physical Object
Wailing Physical Object
Ethnographic Notes Physical Object
Kwanyama - Vocabularies Physical Object
Luvando - Vocabularies Physical Object
Kwanyama - Engagement & Marriage Physical Object
Kwanyama - Personal Names & Clans Physical Object
Death. Kwanyama. Physical Object
Kwanyama - Death, Mourning, Inheritance Physical Object
Kwanyama - Potting Physical Object
Kwanyama - Potting Physical Object
Kwanyama - Potting Physical Object
Tanning and Tailoring of Skins Physical Object
Kwanyama - Building a Compound Physical Object
Medicine ♂ or ♀: Ondudu; (mostly) Dombondola Physical Object
Kwanyama - Medicine man Physical Object
Kwanyama - Ondudu, medicine man Physical Object
Kwanyama - Personal Names Physical Object
Beehive in tree, Caconda Mission Physical Object
Pere Laagel and two Roderigues children. Physical Object
Title Alternate label Class
Tony Powell-Cotton Agent