- 1948-1967 / (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
94 ff. Guarded and filed at NLW.
Name of creator
Vernon Watkins (1906-1967), poet, was the second of three children of William and Sarah Watkins. He was born in Maesteg, Glamorgan, on 27 June 1906 but grew up in Swansea, Glamorgan, and on the Gower. He attended Repton School, Derbyshire, 1920-1924, then (for one year) studied modern languages at Magdalene College, Cambridge. He was briefly a clerk at Lloyds Bank in Cardiff but after a breakdown he returned home to Swansea and moved to the Lloyds Bank branch in St Helens. He served with RAF Police and Intelligence, 1941-1946, but otherwise remained with Lloyds for the remainder of his working life. In 1941 he published his first collection of poems, Ballad of the Mari Lwyd (London, 1941), followed by The Lamp and the Veil (London, 1945), Selected Poems (Norfolk, Conn., 1948), The Lady with the Unicorn (London, 1948), The Death Bell (London, 1954), Cypress and Acacia (London, 1959), Affinities (London, 1962), and Fidelities (London, 1968) which appeared posthumously. As a poet he was scrupulous, working through numerous drafts to reach a final version and often undertaking further revision after publication. In addition to original poetry he translated European verse into English, including Heine's The North Sea (London, 1955), and wrote essays on other poets. He corresponded widely with literary figures and became friends with the likes of W. B. Yeats, T. S. Eliot, Philip Larkin and, in particular, Dylan Thomas. In 1944 he married Gwendoline (Gwen) Mary Davies (b. 1923), a colleague at RAF Intelligence, and they had five children. Following his retirement in 1966 he lectured at the University College of Swansea. He was then appointed Visiting Professor of Poetry at the University of Washington but died on 8 October 1967, shortly after arriving in Seattle to take up his post. Some of his previously unpublished and uncollected works appeared in Uncollected Poems (London, 1969), Selected Verse Translations, ed. by Ruth Pryor (London, 1977), The Breaking of the Wave (Ipswich, 1979), and Ballad of the Outer Dark, ed. by Ruth Pryor (London, 1979).
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Dylans Bookstore; Swansea; Purchase; November 1993; B1993/44.
Content and structure area
Scope and content
Forty-five letters and cards, 1948-1967 (mostly 1964-1967), from Vernon Watkins to his mother, Sarah Watkins, 1962-1967 (ff. 1-71), and to his sisters, Marjorie Watkins, 1964 (ff. 72-73), and Dorothy Watkins, 1948-1967 (ff. 74-94 verso), containing mainly personal and family news.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
System of arrangement
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 Vernon Watkins copyright can be found at http://tyler.hrc.utexas.edu/ (viewed June 2010)
Language of material
Script of material
Language and script notes
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
The contents are described more fully in the NLW typescript list Vernon Watkins Manuscripts II (1988, 2001).
Allied materials area
Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
Related units of description
Title based on contents.
Preferred citation: NLW MS 23185D.
Virtua system control number
Subject access points
Place access points
Name access points
- Watkins, Vernon Phillips, 1906-1967 -- Correspondence (Subject)
- Watkins, Sarah, 1876-1975 -- Correspondence. (Subject)
- Watkins, Dorothy, b. 1909 -- Correspondence. (Subject)
- Watkins, Vernon Phillips, 1906-1967 -- Family -- Correspondence. (Subject)
- Watkins, Sarah, 1876-1975. (Subject)
- Watkins, Marjorie, 1903- (Subject)
- Watkins, Dorothy, b. 1909. (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
February 2009 and June 2010.
Description compiled by Bethan Ifans for the retrospective conversion project of NLW MSS, and revised by Rhys Morgan Jones;