Fonds GB 0210 MSSAUND - Saunders Lewis Manuscripts,

Identity area

Reference code

GB 0210 MSSAUND

Title

Saunders Lewis Manuscripts,

Date(s)

  • 1901-1991 / (Creation)

Level of description

Fonds

Extent and medium

44 volumes.

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Saunders Lewis, dramatist, poet, historian and literary critic, was born in Wallasey, Cheshire to a family of prominent Welsh Calvinistic Methodists. He was educated at a boys's school in Liscard and at Liverpool University, where he studied English and French. His academic career was interrupted by the First World War, in which Lewis served with the South Wales Borderers, but he quickly resumed his studies at the end of the conflict, and, having graduated, worked as librarian in Glamorgan before taking up a post as lecturer in the Welsh department of the University College of Swansea. In 1925, Lewis was one of the pioneering figures involved in establishing the National Party of Wales (later known as Plaid Cymru) and was made President of the fledgeling organisation the following year. Having written about the Roman Catholic church for a number of years, in 1932 Lewis converted to the faith also practised by his wife Margaret. In 1936, Lewis, D. J. Williams and Lewis Valentine set fire to the Royal Airforce's Bombing School in Penyberth on the Lleyn Peninsula, an event which has gone down in the annals of Welsh history and which earned Lewis imprisonment in Wormwood Scrubs and dismissal from his lecturing post in Swansea. He was eventually appointed senior lecturer in Welsh at the University of Cardiff but retired in 1957 to devote his time to writing. Lewis's litarary output is prodigious and he is considered by many to be the most important Welsh literary and political figure of the twentieth century; it is considered that his radio address for 1962, Tynged yr Iaith, was the direct instigating force behind the establishment of the Welsh language movement Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

NLW MSS 22723-22737; John Saunders Lewis; Donation; 1964, 1980, 1984 (kept under seal until the deaths of Saunders Lewis, Kate Roberts and David Jones)

NLW MSS 22723-22737; Mrs Mair Saunders Jones, daughter of Saunders Lewis; Penarth; Donation; 1986

NLW MSS 22951-22964, 23015-23027, 23224-23233, 23547-23548; Mrs Mair Saunders Jones, daughter of Saunders Lewis; Penarth; Purchase; 1991, 1992, 1994, 1996

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Papers, 1901-1991, of dramatist, poet and literary critic John Saunders Lewis consisting mainly of correspondence and comprising letters, 1914-1955, between Saunders Lewis and Margaret Lewis (née Gilcriest), including letters written whilst Saunders Lewis was serving in the First World War and whilst he was imprisoned in Wormwood Scrubs in 1937; letters, 1919-1984, to Saunders Lewis from various correspondents, including seventy-three letters, 1923-1983, from Kate Roberts, and fifty-three letters and cards, 1948-1974, from artist and writer David Jones, together with letters, 1937, to Margaret Lewis from David Jones and from various correspondents to her, 1919-1951; letters, 1919-1924, to Saunders Lewis from his father Lodwig Lewis, and letters, 1952, 1984-[c. 1986], to Mair Saunders Jones, daughter of Saunders and Margaret Lewis, including a letter, 1952, from Kate Roberts; together with autograph and typescript drafts of plays by Saunders Lewis, 1936-1983, articles, notes and addresses by him, including students notebooks of 1914-1920, and poetry, 1912-1947, by both Saunders and Margaret Lewis.
References include those to Plaid Cymru, Welsh nationalism, contemporary Welsh literature, the state of the Welsh language at the time, and Roman Catholicism.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

Accruals

System of arrangement

Arranged according to NLW MSS reference numbers: NLW MSS 22723-22727, 22951-22964, 23015-23027, 23224-23233, 23547-23548.

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.

Language of material

  • Welsh
  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Welsh, English.

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

The descriptions are also available, together with a detailed list of contents, in Handlist of Manuscripts in the National Library of Wales, Volume VIII (Aberystwyth, 1999) and Handlist of Manuscripts in the National Library of Wales, Volume IX (Aberystwyth, 2003).

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Related descriptions

Notes area

Note

Title based on contents.

Alternative identifier(s)

Virtua system control number

vtls004319192

GEAC system control number

(WlAbNL)0000319192

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru = The National Library of Wales

Rules and/or conventions used

Description follows NLW guidelines based on ISAD(G) 2nd ed.; AACR2; and LCSH

Status

Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

March 2009.

Language(s)

  • English

Script(s)

Sources

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); Cydymaith i Lenyddiaeth Cymru (Llandysul, 1986);

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