File NLW MS 23185D. - Vernon Watkins family letters,

Identity area

Reference code

NLW MS 23185D.

Title

Vernon Watkins family letters,

Date(s)

  • 1948-1967 / (Creation)

Level of description

File

Extent and medium

94 ff. Guarded and filed at NLW.

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

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 Some of his previously unpublished and uncollected works appeared in Uncollected Poems (London, 1969), Selected Verse Translations, ed.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).

Archival history

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

Accruals

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

English.

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

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

Other correspondence of Vernon Watkins is NLW MSS 21694D, 22485-8E, 22553E, 22728C, 22841E, 23136D, 23979D.

Related descriptions

Notes area

Note

Title based on contents.

Note

Preferred citation: NLW MS 23185D.

Alternative identifier(s)

Virtua system control number

vtls004628819

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

February 2009 and June 2010.

Language(s)

  • English

Script(s)

Sources

Archivist's note

Description compiled by Bethan Ifans for the retrospective conversion project of NLW MSS, and revised by Rhys Morgan Jones;

Accession area