Fonds GB 0210 DANBSE - Dannie Abse Papers,

Identity area

Reference code



Dannie Abse Papers,


  • 1943-1994 / (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.45 cubic metres (50 boxes); 8 large boxes (March 2008); 7 large boxes (April 2014).

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Dannie Abse was born in 1923 in Cardiff, Glamorgan. He studied at the Welsh National School of Medicine, and at King's College and Westminster Hospital in London, qualifying as a doctor in 1943. He entered clinical practice, and was a specialist at the Central Medical Establishment chest clinic, 1954-1989. He is a prolific writer and poet. He is deeply interested by 1930s politics and the Spanish Civil War, which formed the background to his schooldays. His poetry is influenced by his Jewish heritage, Welsh nationality, and his life as a family man and a London suburban dweller. He has published seven volumes of poetry and seven plays. He was Senior Fellow of the Humanities at Princeton University (1973-1974), and president of the Poetry Society (1978-1992). He became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1983, Fellow of the Welsh Academy of Letters in 1992 (President since 1995), Honorary Fellow at the University of Wales College of Medicine (1999), and awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Wales (1989) and the University of Glamorgan (1997). He was given a Cholmondeley Award (1985). Abse is married to the art historian Joan Mercer, and together they edited, Voices in the Gallery: Poems and Pictures (1986) and The Music Lover's Literary Companion (1988). They live in Glamorgan.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Purchased from R. A. Gekoski, Leamington Spa, 1988-1995.

Two additional groups were purchased from Dannie Abse, March 2008 and April 2014.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Literary, editorial and personal correspondence, draft and unpublished poetry, short stories and other works, and miscellaneous papers, 1955-1995; unpublished short stories and articles, articles and essays, reviews, lectures, plays, broadcasts, ghost-writing, miscellaneous prose, and editorials.

An additional consignment of papers, 2004-7, of Dannie Abse. This group remains uncatalogued.

A further tranch of papers, being letters, loose manuscripts, workbooks and miscellaneous papers, 2008-2013. This group remains uncatalogued.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

Action: All records purchased by the National Library of Wales have been retained..


Accruals are possible.

System of arrangement

Arranged into two groups by date of purchase, and within each group, by record type and chronologically.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to sign the 'Modern papers - data protection' form.

Conditions governing reproduction

Usual copyright regulations apply.

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes


Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

A hard copy of the catalogue is available at the National Library of Wales.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

See also NLW, Dannie Abse Manuscripts.

Related descriptions

Notes area


Title supplied from contents of fonds.

Alternative identifier(s)

Virtua system control number


Project identifier


Access points

Place access points

Name 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 ANW guidelines based on ISAD(G) 2nd ed.; AACR2; and LCSH


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

January 2003.


  • English



Archivist's note

Compiled by Seri Crawley, for the ANW project. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Stephens, Meic, Oxford Companion to the Literature of Wales, (Oxford, 1986).; Dannie Abse webpage (, viewed 14 January 2003;

Accession area