Recent Welsh Authors’ Manuscripts

A high percentage of the literary archives that are kept in the Library are 20th century material. The nature of the different collections varies enormously.

Sometimes the material is limited to manuscripts or typescripts of individual works, as with John Gwilym Jones or T Rowland Hughes. In other cases there will be a wide range of papers, in the form of drafts, proofs, notebooks, correspondence and personal items.

Comprehensive archives

Kate Roberts’ collection is a good example of a comprehensive archive. Following her death in 1985 the collection was transferred to the Library. In addition to drafts of her work there are also over 2000 letters that were sent to her along with personal items belonging to her family, e.g. her brother Dei’s pocket book when he was a soldier in the First World War.

Amongst the authors that are represented by comprehensive archives such as these are:

  • Aneirin Talfan Davies
  • Carneddog
  • W J Gruffydd
  • Gwenallt
  • T Gwyn Jones
  • R Williams Parry
  • T H Parry-Williams
  • Iorwerth C Peate
  • Caradog Prichard
  • D J Williams (Fishguard) 
  • Eifion Wyn

Individual manuscripts

Amongst the authors whose collections are smaller, partly because the authors did not choose to keep all their papers, are:

  • Euros Bowen
  • E Tegla Davies
  • Dewi Emrys
  • Saunders Lewis
  • Winnie Parry
  • Islwyn Williams
  • Waldo Williams
  • Nantlais

Contemporary authors

The aim is to attract a number of contemporary authors to present their papers to the Library. Already there is a substantial core of drafts belonging to recent 20th century novels through generous donations from authors such as Marion Eames and Jane Edwards.

Eisteddfodau

There are a number of collections belonging to Wales’ 20th century Archdruids, including:

  • Brinli
  • Crwys
  • Dyfed
  • Dyfnallt
  • Trefin
  • Wil Ifan
  • R Bryn Williams

There is also a comprehensive collection of unsuccessful compositions from national eisteddfodau throughout the century, along with the Eisteddfod’s administrative files from the middle of the century onwards.

Journalists

Another group represented amongst our collections are archives belonging to journalists, such as E Morgan Humphreys, Meuryn and E Prosser Rhys.

Welsh Arts Council

There is a long series of files from the Welsh Arts Council from when it was established, including some belonging to the Literature Department. In addition to the administrative records of the Welsh Department of the Welsh Academy, archives of Taliesin, the Welsh journal, files collected whilst compiling Cydymaith i Lenyddiaeth Cymru (1986), and the exhibitions of the materials collected by the Academy’s Research Project during the latter half of the 80s have been kept.

Journals and publishers

There are other archives of important journals e.g. Y Llenor and Barn.  The Library also has collections of publishing houses’ archives, such as Gwasg Gee and Hughes a’i Fab, which offer background information on a number of books.

BBC Scripts

Another valuable source is the BBC Wales scripts’ archive. It includes a comprehensive collection of scripts dating from 1932 to this date. There are also plays, feature programmes and talks by prominent authors, along with more popular material such as the soap opera scripts of ‘Teulu Tŷ Coch’ previously on radio and ‘Pobol y Cwm’ currently on television.

In this context one should also note the existence of the National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales (NSSAW), which has been collecting video tapes of S4C’s best produce since the channel was established in 1982.

Interesting items

Amongst collections and other interesting items from 20th century literature are

  • Theatr Garthewin papers; this theatre made a substantial contribution to the history of the drama in Wales
  • archives belonging to the Barddas journal and Cymdeithas cerdd dafod Cymru
  • papers belonging to the comedian Idwal Jones
  • scrap books belonging to D R Davies (Aberdare) about the drama world in Wales
  • T E Nicholas’ poetry written on toilet paper from Swansea and Brixton prisons
  • some literature from the Welsh settlement in Patagonia, including items in Eluned Morgan’s own handwriting
  • translations of Russia’s great plays by T Hudson-Williams
  • and children’s authors’ archives, such as Jennie Thomas, D J Williams (Llanbedr) and J O Williams

Literary criticism and scholars

If the field were to be extended to include literary criticism and scholarly writings, then collections of the following could be mentioned:

  • J H Davies
  • Idris Foster
  • J R Jones (Swansea)
  • Henry Lewis
  • Timothy Lewis
  • Ffransis Payne
  • Alwyn D Rees
  • John Rhŷs
  • Griffith John Williams

Some of these collections are very rich in terms of their correspondence.  There
is also a great deal of correspondence in collections belonging to people like:

  • O M Edwards
  • J W Jones
  • D Rhys Philips
  • Lewis Valentine and others.