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National Library of Wales
Davies, Idris, manuscripts

Reference code(s): GB 0210 MSIDRDAV

Held at: National Library of Wales

Title: Idris Davies manuscripts

Short Title: Davies, Idris, manuscripts

Creation date(s): [late 1920s]-1953

Level of description: Fonds

Extent: 23 volumes

Name of creator(s): Idris Davies


Administrative/Biographical history: Idris Davies (1905-1953), poet and schoolteacher, was born in a Welsh-speaking household and community in Rhymney, Monmouthshire, but spent much of his life living and working in London. It was, however, the industrial landscape of the South Wales valleys which was to have the greatest influence on his work, in which Davies frequently denounces the grimness and desolation of the surroundings while also reflecting the idealism and protest of its people during a time of great economic, social and religious change. His first volume of poetry, Gwalia Deserta (London, 1938), written at Rhymney, took as its theme the South Wales valleys during the Depression years of the 1930s. The Angry Summer, written at Meesden in Hertfordshire and published in 1943, is considered to be Davies's finest poem. Tonypandy and other poems (London, 1945) was completed while Davies was teaching in Treherbert in the Rhondda valley. In 1947 Davies returned as schoolmaster to his native Rhynmney, where he continued to write, broadcast and lecture. Selected Poems (London, 1953), the last volume to be produced during Davies's lifetime, was published less than a month before the poet's death in April 1953. Some of Davies's later material appeared posthumously in The Collected Poems of Idris Davies (Llandysul, 1972).


Scope and content/abstract: Papers, [late 1920s]-1983, of, or relating to, Idris Davies and including drafts of his poetic anthologies Gwalia Deserta (London, 1938), The Angry Summer (London, 1943), and Tonypandy and other poems (London, 1945); proofs of Selected Poems (London, 1953); unpublished poems and drafts and fragments of poems, novels, short stories, etc.; lecture notes; diaries for 1938, 1940, 1946, 1948, and 1951; a typescript of his radio talk 'The valleys revisisted' (broadcast 1943); and correspondence of or relating to Davies, 1933-1983.


Language/scripts of material: English, Welsh

System of arrangement: Arranged according to NLW MSS reference numbers: NLW MSS 10810-10812D, 22397-22415, 23539E.

Conditions governing access: Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to abide by the conditions noted on the 'Modern papers - data protection' form issued with their readers' tickets.

Conditions governing reproduction: Usual copyright laws apply. Information regarding ownership of Idris Davies copyright can be found at (viewed March 2016).

Finding aids: The descriptions are also available, together with a detailed list of contents, in Handlist of Manuscripts in the National Library of Wales, Vol. 3 (Aberystwyth, 1961), Vol. 8 (Aberystwyth, 1999) and Vol. 9 (Aberystwyth, 2003).

Detailed catalogue


Accruals: No accruals expected.

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition: NLW MSS 10810-12D donated by Mrs E. A. Davies, Rhymney, Idris Davies's mother, in September 1953.
NLW MSS 22397-23415 donated by the Rev. Islwyn Jenkins, Carmarthen, and Mr Eben Morris, Rhymney, Idris Davies's cousin and brother-in-law respectively, in 1987.
NLW MS 23539E donated by Dr Jean Jenkins, Carmarthen, widow of the Rev. Islwyn Jenkins, in September 1996.


Related material: See also NLW MSS 20770-20771E, 24075D, NLW ex 947, and NLW, Rev. Islwyn Jenkins Research Papers.

Publication note: This collection of papers are frequently referred to and quoted from in Islwyn Jenkins, Idris Davies of Rhymney (Llandysul, 1986).


Note: Title based on contents.
NLW MSS 22397, 22402-3, 22406-8 contain poetry unpublished at the time of acquiring the papers; some have since been included in The Complete Poems of Idris Davies, ed. by Dafydd Johnston (Cardiff, 1994).
Some miscellaneous papers accumulated by the Rev. Islwyn Jenkins (see NLW MS 23539E) post-date the death of Idris Davies.

Archivist's note: Description compiled by Bethan Ifans for the retrospective conversion project of NLW MSS. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Handlist of Manuscripts in the National Library of Wales, Volume VIII (Aberystwyth, 1999); Handlist of Manuscripts in the National Library of Wales, Volume IX (Aberystwyth, 2003); Oxford Dictionary of National Biography on-line site, viewed 12 May 2009; The Dictionary of Welsh Biography (London, 2001).

Rules or conventions: Description follows ANW guidelines based on ISAD(G) 2nd ed.; AACR2; and LCSH

Date(s) of descriptions: May 2009

Davies, Idris, 1905-1953 | Archives
English literature | Welsh authors | 20th century
English poetry | Welsh authors | 20th century

Personal names
Davies , Idris

Corporate names


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