- [late 1920s]-1983 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
Name of creator
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).
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
NLW MSS 10810-12D: Mrs E. A. Davies, Idris Davies's mother; Rhymney; Donation; September 1953.
NLW MSS 22397-23415: The Rev. Islwyn Jenkins & Mr Eben Morris, Davies's cousin and brother-in-law respectively; Carmarthen and Rhymney; Donation (with NLW ex 947); 1987
NLW MS 23539E: Dr Jean Jenkins, widow of the Rev. Islwyn Jenkins; Carmarthen; Donation (with NLW, Rev. Islwyn Jenkins Research Papers and NLW ex 947); September 1996; A1996/121.
Content and structure area
Scope and content
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The Angry Summer (London, 1943), and Tonypandy and Other Poems (London, 1945); proofs of Selected Poems (London, 1953); unpublished poems and drafts and fragments of poems, novels, short stories, etc.; lecture notes; diaries for 1938, 1940, 1946, 1948, and 1951; a typescript of his radio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 revisited' (broadcast 1943); and correspondence of or relating to Davies, 1933-1983.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
System of arrangement
Arranged according to NLW MSS reference numbers: NLW MSS 10810-10812D, 22397-22415, 23539E.
Conditions of access and use area
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 http://tyler.hrc.utexas.edu/ (viewed March 2016).
Language of material
Script of material
Language and script notes
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
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).
Allied materials area
Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
Related units of description
These papers are frequently referred to and quoted from in Islwyn Jenkins, Idris Davies of Rhymney (Llandysul, 1986).
Title based on contents.
NLW MSS 22397B, 22402-3B, 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.
Virtua system control number
GEAC system control number
Place access points
Name access points
- Davies, Idris -- Archives. (Subject)
Genre access points
Description control area
Rules and/or conventions used
Description follows NLW guidelines based on ISAD(G) 2nd ed.; AACR2; and LCSH
Level of detail
Dates of creation revision deletion
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).
Description compiled by Bethan Ifan for the retrospective conversion project of NLW MSS.