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National Library of Wales
Thomas, Gwyn, papers

Reference code(s): GB 0210 GWYNMAS

Held at: National Library of Wales

Title: Gwyn Thomas Papers

Short Title: Thomas, Gwyn, papers

Creation date(s): [post-1913]-1989

Level of description: Fonds

Extent: 0.239 cubic metres (50 boxes)

Name of creator(s): Gwyn Thomas


Administrative/Biographical history: Gwyn Thomas (1913-1981), was one of the foremost Welsh writers of the 20th century. He wrote novels and short stories, plays for radio and stage, and was also a scriptwriter and presenter for television. He was born in Cwm Rhondda, Glamorgan, the son of Walter and Ziphorah, and was the youngest of their twelve children. He was educated at Cymer Elementary School and Porth County School, Glamorgan, and went to St Edmund Hall Oxford in 1931, to read Modern Languages. He spent part of his degree course at the University of Madrid, and visited parts of northern Spain on his trek homewards during the summer of 1933. He returned home to Cymer in 1934, and between 1936-1938 he contributed articles to the Rhondda Leader, and lectured for the WEA on international relations. He married Eiluned (Lyn) Thomas in 1938. In 1940, he became teacher of Modern Languages at Cardigan County School, and later at Barry County School, where he remained until 1962. During this period he published eight novels, a novella and three collections of stories, and produced over a dozen plays and feature programmes for radio. In the 1960s and 1970s, he contributed more to television and theatre, and wrote articles for periodicals including Punch. Gwyn Thomas died in April 1981. After his death, Michael Parnell (1934-1991) prepared a biography, and also oversaw new editions of some of his novels.


Scope and content/abstract: Papers of Gwyn Thomas, comprising autobiographical material, [c. 1946]-[c. 1972]; drafts, typescripts, notebooks and photocopies of novels and stories, [c. 1935]-1974; plays, including reviews of plays, [1940s]-1978; essays, articles and lectures by or about GT, 1926-1985; scripts for radio and television, including tributes to GT 1948-1988; book reviews, 1961-1971; professional and personal correspondence of GT and occasionally other family members, 1931-1985; letters to and from his wife, Lyn Thomas, after his death, 1981-1984; cuttings, 1937-1986; photographs; miscellaneous personal and literary papers [post-1913]-1984; notebooks [c. 1935]-[1970s]; and material collected by GT's biographer, Michael Parnell, including drafts and notes for the biography, notes , articles and correspondence on GT and his works, [c. 1984]-1989. Further manuscripts comprise a notebook, typescripts of two plays and letters.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement: Arranged into the following: Gwyn Thomas papers comprising autobiographical material; novels and stories; plays; essays, articles and lectures; A Welsh Eye; radio and television; television reviews; book reviews; correspondence and miscellaneous notes; cuttings; oddments; Michael Parnell papers; notebooks. The further manuscripts have been listed as NLW MSS 20778B, 22003D and Misc. Vols 282-3.

Conditions governing access: Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to sign the 'Modern papers - data protection' form.

Conditions governing reproduction: Usual copyright regulations apply.

Finding aids: Hard copies of the catalogue and NLW Handlist are available at the National Library of Wales. The catalogues are available online.

Detailed catalogue


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information: All records purchased by the National Library of Wales have been retained.

Accruals: Accruals are not expected

Archival history: Some rearrangement of material was undertaken following deposit in the National Library of Wales. A draft catalogue was drawn up following the deposit, but has been superseded by a new schedule.

Immediate source of acquisition: Purchased, 1981. Further papers purchased from Mrs Mary Parnell, Cardiff, 1998.


Publication note: The papers have provided source material for the biography of Gwyn Thomas by Michael Parnell, Laughter from the Dark: a life of Gwyn Thomas (London, 1988).


Note: Title supplied from contents of fonds. Includes later material prepared by Michael Parnell, and letters to and by family members after Gwyn Thomas's death.

Archivist's note: Compiled by Richard Burman for the ANW Project. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: NLW Schedules, Gwyn Thomas Manuscripts and Papers; Gwyn Thomas Manuscripts and Papers II; Parnell, Michael, Laughter from the Dark: a life of Gwyn Thomas (London, 1988).

Rules or conventions: This description follows ANW guidelines based on ISAD(G) second edition, AACR2 and LCSH.

Date(s) of descriptions: March 2003

Authors | Wales | Archives
Authors | Wales | Biography
Authors, English language | Wales
Radio scripts
Television scripts
Thomas, Gwyn, | 1913-1981 | Archives

Personal names
Parnell , Michael , 1934-
Thomas , Gwyn , 1913-1981

Corporate names


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