- 1898-1989 / (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
1.116 cubic metres (32 boxes, 11 scrapbooks).
Name of creator
Emlyn Williams (1905-1987) from Mostyn, Flintshire, was an actor, writer and playwright of international renown. He was born as George Emlyn Williams and started using the name Emlyn Williams in 1927. With the assistance of his French teacher, Sarah Grace Cooke (d. 1964), he won a scholarship to Christ Church College, Oxford, in 1923 (the events were later fictionalised in 'The Corn is Green'). Upon graduating, he pursued a successful acting career, appearing on the stage in 'The Frightened Lady', and becoming a mainstay of the British film industry in the 1930s, working on Hitchcock's 'Jamaica Inn' and other films, writing and appearing in 'The Last Days of Dolwyn' (1949). He wrote and produced numerous stage plays, including 'A Murder Has Been Arranged' (1930), 'Night Must Fall' (1935), 'The Corn is Green' (1938), 'The Wind of Heaven' (1945), and 'Accolade' (1951), and adaptations of Turgenev's 'A Month in the Country' (1957), Ibsen's 'The Master Builder' (1964), and created one-man shows from the works of Saki, Dylan Thomas and Charles Dickens; many of these were reworked as TV plays and films. His stage appearances continued in London, New York and elsewhere. He continued to make TV and film appearances from the 1950s into the 1980s, notably in 'The L-shaped Room' (1962), and 'Emlyn Williams as Charles Dickens' (1983). He also wrote 'George, An Early Autobiography' (1961), 'Emlyn: an early autobiography, 1927-1935' (1974), a non-fiction account of the Moors Murders, 'Beyond Belief' (1967), and the novels 'Headlong' (1980) and 'Dr Crippen's Diary' (1987). He was married to Mary Marjorie (Molly) Carus-Wilson (née O'Shann) (d. 1970) in 1935, and had two sons, Alan and Brook. He was awarded the CBE in 1962. He had many actor friends, including Richard Burton, Noël Coward, John Gielgud, Sybil Thorndike and Lillian Gish.
Many of the papers had been sorted chronologically prior to deposit.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Deposited by his son, Alan Williams, in 1994.
Content and structure area
Scope and content
Papers relating to Emlyn Williams, 1898-1989, comprising correspondence between EW and Sarah Grace Cooke, 1917-1964; other letters and copy letters of Sarah Grace Cooke, 1928-1964; letters from EW to other teachers, 1922-1944; transcripts of correspondence between EW and Molly Williams, 1940-1944; family letters, 1942-1987; correspondence between EW and theatrical friends, 1955-1989; letters of congratulation on CBE, 1962-1963; letters of condolence on death of Molly Williams, 1970-1971; family papers, diaries and school records, 1919-1982; scrapbooks compiled by EW, containing newspaper cuttings, fan letters and other material relating to his family and works, 1869-1961; manuscripts, typescripts, printed copies and annotated drafts of staged plays, 1926-1986; manuscripts and typescripts of unpublished novels, plays and short stories, 1919-1987; scripts, with revisions, of shows on Dickens, Dylan Thomas and Saki, 1951-1987; play adaptations and translations and copies of scripts for EW's acting roles 1935-1986; newspaper reviews of EW's works and appearances, 1961-1970; theatre porgrammes, photographs, and material rleating to current affairs, 1910-1987; radio scripts, 1940-1987, and script for TV commentary on Investiture of Prince of Wales, 1969; typescripts of speeches and readings, 1950-1987; papers relating to EW's autobiographies, novels, and 'Beyond Belief', 1962-1981; miscellaneous papers, -1990, and printed books, 1898-1987.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
Action: All records have been retained..
Accruals are not expected.
System of arrangement
Arranged into the following: correspondence; family and personal; scrap-books; staged plays; unpublished works and miscellaneous writings; solo performances; adaptions and stage appearances; reviews; theatrical miscellanea; radio and television; speeches, readings and addresses; publications; miscellaneous papers; and printed material.
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
A hard copy of the catalogue is available at the National Library of Wales. The catalogue can be accessed online.
Allied materials area
Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
Related units of description
Title supplied from contents of fonds. Some papers post-date the death of Emlyn Williams.
Virtua system control number
Place access points
Genre access points
Description control area
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
Compiled by Martin Locock for the ANW project. The following source was used for the compilation of this description: NLW, Emlyn Williams Papers;