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National Library of Wales
Welsh Folk-Song Society, records

Reference code(s): GB 0210 WELFOLK

Held at: National Library of Wales

Title: Welsh Folk-Song Society Records

Short Title: Welsh Folk-Song Society, records

Creation date(s): 1908-1993

Level of description: Fonds

Extent: 0.086 cubic metres (3 boxes)

Name of creator(s): Welsh Folk-Song Society


Administrative/Biographical history: The Welsh Folk-Song Society (Cymdeithas Alawon Gwerin Cymru) was formed between 1906 and 1908, at the University College of North Wales, Bangor. It was part of the national movement like the foundation of the University College of Wales and the National Library of Wales. Its aims were set out in the first issue of its journal, in 1909: to collect and to preserve Welsh folk-songs, ballads and tunes. Not much had been documented before the twentieth century. The Welsh Folk-Song Society grew between 1908 and 1930, with enthusiastic contributions by individuals including Mary Davies (1855-1930). The Society's support then dwindled, although it continued to publish its journal, until it established links with the Welsh Folk Museum from 1963 onwards; the Journal sequence came to an end in 1972. The Welsh Folk-Song Society's activities include the recommendation of selections of songs for use at the National Eisteddfod, and annual weekend meetings at Gregynog Hall, Merionethshire. The Society has also supported the re-publication of old folk song collections, and in 1978, it restarted its journal, now under the title 'Canu Gwerin: cylchgrawn Cymdeithas Alawon Gwerin Cymru / Folk song: Journal of the Welsh Folk-Song Society'. In 1985, it published D. Roy Saers' history of the society: 'Cymdeithas Alawon Gwerin Cymru / The Welsh folk-song Society: 1908-1983'. W. S. Gwynn Williams (1896-1978), was the Secretary of the Society from 1933-1957, and editor of the Journal, 1946-1975. W. Emrys Cleaver (1905-1985) also served as Secretary of the Society.


Scope and content/abstract: Records of the Welsh Folk-Song Society, 1908-1993, including minutes, 1908-1957; correspondence, 1915-1975; reports, 1931-1957; financial papers, 1928-1953; publication material relating to the Journal, 1909-1954; executive committee and annual general meeting minutes, 1958-1993; and folk song material, including words and music collected by W. Emrys Cleaver, with related correspondence and notes, 1959-1964, and composed and arranged songs with related correspondence and notes, [1960s]. The correspondents include many prominent composers and musicians.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement: Arranged by deposit and into the following: minutes; correspondence files; reports; financial papers; publications; and folk songs/ 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 schedule is available at the National Library of Wales in Minor Lists and Summaries, 1982, pp. 62-63; 1983, pp. 52-53; 1984, pp. 59-60; 1986, p. 83, and 1989, p. 95. The catalogues can be accessed online.

Detailed catalogue


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

Accruals: Accruals are expected

Archival history: Some of the records remained in the possession of W. S. Gwynn Williams until his death, and others in the posession of W. Emrys Cleaver.

Immediate source of acquisition: Deposited by the Society per Mrs Beti Gwynn Williams, Llangollen, the widow of W. S. Gwynn Williams, in 1981; per D. Roy Saer, Welsh Folk Museum, St Fagans, in March and November 1983 and October 1985; and per Mrs Frances Môn Jones, Llanfair Caereinion, September 1988; donated by the Society per Mrs Buddug Lloyd Roberts, Cricieth, in December 1999, when all the previous deposits were converted into a donation. A further five volumes were received per Dr Rhidian Griffiths, NLW, August 2006.



Note: Title supplied from contents of fonds

Archivist's note: Compiled by Annette Strauch and Martin Locock for the ANW project. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: NLW, Minor Lists and Summaries, 1982; 1983; 1984; 1986; 1989; Traditional Song Forum website (, viewed 20 June 2003; Folkwales website (, viewed 20 June 2003.

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

Date(s) of descriptions: April 2003

Folk music | Wales
Folk musicians | Wales | Societies, etc.
Folk songs, Welsh language
Welsh Folk-Song Society | Archives

Personal names
Cleaver , W. Emrys (William Emrys) , 1905-1985

Corporate names
Welsh Folk-Song Society

Wales ()

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