File NLW MS 23878E - Letters A-H

Identity area

Reference code

NLW MS 23878E


Letters A-H


  • 1927-1950 (mainly 1945-1950) (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

132 ff.

Placed in melinex sleeves within ringed box at NLW.

Context area

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Biographical history

Dr Paul Diverres (1880-1946) was a Celtic scholar and former Keeper of Manuscripts at the National Library of Wales. He was born at Lorient, Brittany, and educated at the University of Rennes. He took a course in medicine, but then changed to study Celtic Studies, at the Collège de France, the Sorbonne and the Ecole des hautes études, Paris. He visited Wales in 1911 and in 1914 took an MA degree in the University of Liverpool. He was appointed Keeper of Manuscripts in the National Library of Wales in 1919. In 1923 he accepted a post in the French department of the University College of Swansea. He published a number of works, his most important being Le plus ançien texte de Meddygon Myddveu . . . (Paris, 1913), and Le Siège de Lorient par les Anglais en 1746 (Rennes, 1931).

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Roparz Hemon (born Louis P. Nemo), Breton writer and scholar, was born in Brest, France, the second of six children. He trained as an English teacher, studying English and History at Leeds University. In 1922, Nemo began writing in Breton; his short story 'An Diouganer' was published in 1923, under the pseudonym Roparz Loeiz Hemon. Soon afterwards, he dropped the Loeiz and signed himself Roparz Hemon; this became his name within the Breton nationalist movement. He launched the literary journal Gwalarn with Olier Mordrel in 1925. During the Nazi Occupation, he was appointed Director of Radio-Rennes and the station began regular broadcasts in Breton. This ended with the Allied invasion of France in 1944, and the French government accused many Breton nationalists of collaboration with the Germans. Together with other Breton nationalists, he was sentenced to ten years `indignite nationale'. Under restrictions, he moved to Ireland, where he worked at the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies. Despite a general amnesty, he decided to remain in Ireland. He published La Langue Bretonne et ses Combats (La Baule, 1947). Although he spent forty years in exile, he was an influential figure in Breton cultural affairs, and part of his campaign for oral literature was the increasing emphasis he placed on the theatre. From 1945 to 1971, he published seventeen plays. He attended the Celtic Congress in Bangor, Wales, in 1949, during which the Breton branch of the Celtic Congress was established. He died in 1978 and was buried in Brest.

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Biographical history

Geraint Dyfnallt Owen (1908-1993), historian and writer, was the son of poet, writer, journalist, Congregational minister and Archdruid John Dyfnallt Owen ('Dyfnallt'). He was educated at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth and the University of Oxford. During the war years he worked for the BBC in London but also served with the armed forces in Rumania. Owen travelled widely in Europe and was particularly interested in the politics and culture of Brittany; he corresponded with the Breton cultural and religious leader Abbé Jean-Marie (Yann-Vari) Perrot and met with many prominent Breton political activists. A prolific writer of historical, political and cultural significance, Owen's published works include Elizabethan Wales (Cardiff, 1962), Rwmania. Pennod mewn gwleidyddiaeth grym (Aberystwyth, 1951), Crisis in Chubut: a chapter in the history of the Welsh colony in Patagonia (Swansea, 1977) and Y blaidd hud a chwedlau eraill (Aberystwyth, 1949), the latter a series of folktales translated from the Rumanian.

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Content and structure area

Scope and content

Some fifty-seven letters, copy letters, draft letters and related papers, 1927-1950, addressed to J. Dyfnallt Owen or accumulated by him, either from Breton nationalists or relating to the situation in Brittany.
The correspondents include Leo Mill Arden, Killarney, December 1945-August 1946 (ff. 1-17), Herri Caouissin, Scrignac, 1933-1946 (ff. 20-27, 36-37), D. J. Davies, Pantybeilïau, 26 April 1950 (f. 43), Noelle Davies, Pantybeilïau, 14 December 1945 (f. 44), Pol Diverres, Swansea, 24 October 1945 (f. 63), Yann Fouéré (alias J. Moger), London and Swansea, July 1946-May 1947 (ff. 64-86), and Roparz Hemon, County Dublin, March-April 1949 (ff. 131-132). Dyfnallt's correspondence with Fanch Gourvil (ff. 90-125) comprises draft letters from Dyfnallt, [10 December 1945], 15 January 1946 (ff. 90-100, 126-128), and two typescript copies of Gourvil's reply, in French, 18 December 1945 (ff. 101-113), with a translation into English, in several hands (ff. 114-125) (see also NLW MS 23879E, ff. 12-14). Two letters are addressed to Geraint Dyfnallt Owen (ff. 2, 50). Also included are letters from Per [Denez] to D. J. Davies, [September]-November 1949 (ff. 46-62), copies of correspondence between Herri Caouissin and Sir Ifan ab Owen Edwards, May-August 1946 (ff. 28-35), and a letter from Hermann Bickler, Lorraine, to an unnamed woman, 27 December 1927 (ff. 18-19). A cloth badge for Urz Goanag Breiz is included with f. 27.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by sender at NLW.

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English, French, Welsh, Breton.

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Title based on contents.


Preferred citation: NLW MS 23878E.

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Virtua system control number


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Institution identifier

Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru = The National Library of Wales

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  • Text: NLW MS 23878E.