Fonds GB 0210 GWYNMAS - Gwyn Thomas Papers,

Identity area

Reference code



Gwyn Thomas Papers,


  • [post-1913]-1989 / (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.239 cubic metres (50 boxes).

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Gwyn Thomas (1913-1981) was one of the foremost Welsh writers of the 20th century. He wrote novels and short stories, plays for radio and stage, and was also a scriptwriter and presenter for television. He was born in Cwm Rhondda, Glamorgan, the son of Walter and Ziphorah, and was the youngest of their twelve children. He was educated at Cymer Elementary School and Porth County School, Glamorgan, and went to St Edmund Hall Oxford in 1931, to read Modern Languages. He spent part of his degree course at the University of Madrid, and visited parts of northern Spain on his trek homewards during the summer of 1933. He returned home to Cymer in 1934, and between 1936-1938 he contributed articles to the Rhondda Leader, and lectured for the WEA on international relations. He married Eiluned (Lyn) Thomas in 1938. In 1940, he became teacher of Modern Languages at Cardigan County School, and later at Barry County School, where he remained until 1962. During this period he published eight novels, a novella and three collections of stories, and produced over a dozen plays and feature programmes for radio. In the 1960s and 1970s, he contributed more to television and theatre, and wrote articles for periodicals including Punch. Gwyn Thomas died in April 1981. After his death, Michael Parnell (1934-1991) prepared a biography, and also oversaw new editions of some of his novels.

Archival history

Some rearrangement of material was undertaken following deposit in the National Library of Wales. A draft catalogue was drawn up following the deposit, but has been superseded by a new schedule.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Purchased, 1981. Further papers purchased from Mrs Mary Parnell, Cardiff, 1998.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Papers of Gwyn Thomas, comprising autobiographical material, [c. 1946]-[c. 1972]; drafts, typescripts, notebooks and photocopies of novels and stories, [c. 1935]-1974; plays, including reviews of plays, [1940s]-1978; essays, articles and lectures by or about GT, 1926-1985; scripts for radio and television, including tributes to GT 1948-1988; book reviews, 1961-1971; professional and personal correspondence of GT and occasionally other family members, 1931-1985; letters to and from his wife, Lyn Thomas, after his death, 1981-1984; cuttings, 1937-1986; photographs; miscellaneous personal and literary papers [post-1913]-1984; notebooks [c. 1935]-[1970s]; and material collected by GT's biographer, Michael Parnell, including drafts and notes for the biography, notes , articles and correspondence on GT and his works, [c. 1984]-1989. Further manuscripts comprise a notebook, typescripts of two plays and letters.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

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


Accruals are not expected.

System of arrangement

Arranged into the following: Gwyn Thomas papers comprising autobiographical material; novels and stories; plays; essays, articles and lectures; A Welsh Eye; radio and television; television reviews; book reviews; correspondence and miscellaneous notes; cuttings; oddments; Michael Parnell papers; notebooks. The further manuscripts have been listed as NLW MSS 20778B, 22003D and Misc. Vols 282-3.

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

Hard copies of the catalogue and NLW Handlist are available at the National Library of Wales. The catalogues are available online.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Related descriptions

Publication note

The papers have provided source material for the biography of Gwyn Thomas by Michael Parnell, Laughter from the Dark: a life of Gwyn Thomas (London, 1988).

Notes area


Title supplied from contents of fonds. Includes later material prepared by Michael Parnell, and letters to and by family members after Gwyn Thomas's death.

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

March 2003.


  • English



Archivist's note

Compiled by Richard Burman for the ANW Project. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: NLW Schedules, Gwyn Thomas Manuscripts and Papers; Gwyn Thomas Manuscripts and Papers II; Parnell, Michael, Laughter from the Dark: a life of Gwyn Thomas (London, 1988);

Accession area

Related people and organizations

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Physical storage

  • Text: Gwyn Thomas Papers.