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National Library of Wales
Thomas, Ben Bowen, Sir, papers

Reference code(s): GB 0210 BENMAS

Held at: National Library of Wales

Title: Sir Ben Bowen Thomas Papers

Short Title: Thomas, Ben Bowen, Sir, papers

Creation date(s): 1926-1977

Level of description: Fonds

Extent: 0.054 cubic metres (6 boxes)

Name of creator(s): Sir Ben Bowen Thomas (1899-1977)


Administrative/Biographical history: Sir Ben Bowen Thomas (1899-1977) served as the Permanent Secretary to the Welsh Department of the Ministry of Education, 1945-1963. He played an important role in the sphere of education throughout his career, beginning as a tutorial class lecturer in UCW Aberystwyth, 1922-1927, and then as Warden for the newly-founded Coleg Harlech, 1927-1940, working with its founder, Dr Thomas Jones (1870-1955). He also served on the McNair Committee on the Training of Teachers and Youth Leaders, 1942-1944. Sir Ben quickly rose to an international status in the world of education, as a UK delegate to UNESCO, 1946-1962, and a member of the Executive Board, 1954-1962 (being chairman from 1958-1960). His interests in education took him into the field of television, and he was closely involved in the Independent Television Authority (ITA) Commission, 1964-1970. He also became President of University of Wales, Aberystwyth. He wrote numerous articles on education and religion for newspapers and pamphlets, as well as several of an autobiographical nature. His grandfather was the Rev. Benjamin Thomas (1838-1913), a Baptist minister in Ystrad Rhondda, Glamorgan.


Scope and content/abstract: Papers of Sir Ben Bowen Thomas (1899-1977), educationalist and public servant, comprising autobiographical material on his career, interests and family, 1954-1972; biographical articles and an interview, 1964-1966; letters to his wife and daughter with references to his work with UNESCO and Welsh educational matters, 1947-1960; letters from Dr Thomas Jones and Sir Percy E. Watkins relating to educational issues and Coleg Harlech, 1926-1955; correspondence concerning BBT's work with UNESCO, 1954-1962; miscellaneous correspondence, 1948-1976; addresses and speech notes, 1949-1977; pamphlets, offprints and articles, 1941-1973; research notes on regions and towns of Wales during the 18th and 19th centuries; circulars, articles, reports, etc. relating to education and educational bodies in Wales, 1942-1975, to UNESCO, 1946-1958, and to public and cultural bodies such as the Welsh Language Council, ITA and the Rural Development Board, 1965-1973; McNair Report on the Training of Teachers, 1942-3; memorials, tributes and obituaries of other educationalists; and miscellaneous press cuttings and notes. The archive also includes a collection of sermon notes and exercise books of his grandfather, the Rev. Benjamin Thomas, (1838-1913), a Baptist minister in Ystrad Rhondda, Glamorgan.


Language/scripts of material: Welsh, English

System of arrangement: Arranged into the following: autobiography/biography; correspondence; address and speech notes; pamphlets, offprints & articles; research notes; education & educational bodies; public & cultural bodies; religious material; memorial services, tributes, obituaries; and miscellaneous.

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: A hard copy of the catalogue is available at the National Library of Wales. The catalogue can be accessed on-line from:

Detailed catalogue


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

Accruals: Accruals are not expected.

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition: Bequest in 1977


Related material: Visual items received as part of the archive are National Library of Wales, Special Collections, PB8872-5. Letters to BBT from A.G. Prys-Jones and donated by him are NLW MS 21482B. Other papers of Benjamin Thomas are NLW MSS 16008A, 16040A.


Note: Title compiled from content of fonds.

Archivist's note: Compiled by Seri Crawley for the ANW Project. The following sources were used for the preparation of the description : NLW Schedule of Sir Ben Bowen Thomas Papers; Thomas, Ben Bowen, "Aber" 1872-1972 (Cardiff, 1972)

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

Date(s) of descriptions: March 2003

Broadcasting | Wales
Coleg Harlech | Correspondence
Education | Wales
Independent regulatory commissions | Great Britain
Jones, Thomas, | 1870-1955 | Correspondence
Rural development | Wales
Teachers | Training of
Thomas, Ben Bowen, | 1899-1977 | Archives
Thomas, Ben Bowen, | 1899-1977 | Correspondence
Thomas, Benjamin, | 1838-1913 | Archives
Unesco | Correspondence
Watkins, Percy E. | (Percy Emerson), | Sir, | 1871-1946 | Correspondence

Personal names
Jones , Thomas , 1870-1955
Thomas , Ben Bowen , 1899-1977
Thomas , Benjamin , 1838-1913
Watkins , Percy E. (Percy Emerson) , 1871-1946 , Sir

Corporate names
Coleg Harlech
Council for the Welsh Language (Great Britain)

Harlech (Wales)

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