Fonds GB 0210 MSHANLEY - Hanley manuscripts,

Identity area

Reference code



Hanley manuscripts,


  • [early 1930s]-1985 / (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

38 volumes.

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

James Hanley (1897-1985), novelist and playwright, was born on 3 September 1897 in Liverpool. He joined the merchant navy in 1915 and saw action during the First World War. During this time Hanley was constantly educating himself, mainly by reading Russian literature, and these years of his youth at sea were to greatly influence his later writing. Hanley produced a prodigious output of literary work, which included some thirty novels, sixteen volumes of short stories and six plays, as well as numerous radio and TV scripts; some of his work, notably The Welsh Sonata (1954), Another World (1971) and A Kingdom (1978) were born of his life in and love of Wales. It was at Tŷ-Nant near Corwen in 1931 that Hanley began living with the artist and writer Dorothy Enid Thomas (née Heathcote, 'Timothy Hanley', 1902-1980), and it was here that their son, Liam, was born in 1933. They moved to Llanfechain, Montgomeryshire, in 1941 and were married, at Hampstead, in 1947. Timothy Hanley published the novels The Tough Flower (London, 1957) and Three Inches of Moonlight (London, 1960).

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

NLW MSS 23122-23130; Bertram Rota Ltd; London; Purchase (with NLW ex 1472i); May 1989; B1989/19.

NLW MSS 23585-23611; Mr Liam Powys Hanley; London; Donation; March 1997; A1997/52.

NLW MS 23132E; Bertram Rota Ltd; London; Purchase; April 1993; B1993/13.

NLW MSS 23131-2E; Mr Liam P. Hanley; London; Donation; September 1990; A1990/136.

NLW MS 23132E; Mr Liam P. Hanley; London; Donation; October 1991; A1991/147.

NLW MS 23131E; Bertram Rota Ltd; London; Purchase (with NLW ex 1472ii); February 1997; B1997/11.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Manuscripts and correspondence, [early 1930s]-1985, of James Hanley and his wife, Dorothy Enid ('Timothy') Hanley, comprising literary papers of James Hanley, 1954-1985, consisting of published and unpublished works of fiction, including novels stories and plays, mainly in draft form, some fragmentary; manuscripts of Timothy Hanley, 1932-1980, comprising journals, 1932-1980, and notebooks, 1932-1950, containing draft book reviews, short stories, poems, letters and sketches; and letters, mostly to their son Liam Hanley, from James Hanley, 1951-1981, and Timothy Hanley, 1951-[1970s].

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Arranged according to NLW MSS reference numbers: NLW MSS 23122-23132, 23585-23611.

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. A former embargo on access to NLW MSS 23585-23611 (until 1 January 2018) has been lifted in light of Freedom of Information Legislation (February 2011).

Conditions governing reproduction

Usual copyright laws apply.

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes


Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

The contents are indexed in greater detail in Handlist of Manuscripts in the National Library of Wales, vol. 9 (Aberystwyth, 2003).

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Further papers of James Hanley are NLW ex 1472, 2771.

Related descriptions

Publication note

Frank G. Harrington, James Hanley : A Bold and Unique Solitary (Francestown, 1989)

Notes area


Title based on contents.

Alternative identifier(s)

Virtua system control number


CAIRS System Control Number


GEAC system control number


Access points

Subject access points

Place 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


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

February 2009 and October 2015.


  • English



Archivist's note

Description compiled by Bethan Ifans for the retrospective conversion project of NLW MSS, and revised by Rhys M. Jones. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Handlist of Manuscripts in the National Library of Wales, Volume IX (Aberystwyth, 2003); Oxford Dictionary of National Biography on-line site, viewed 20 February 2009; Chris Gostick, 'Extra Material on James Hanley's Boy' in James Hanley, Boy (London: OneWorld Classics, 2007), pp. 179-204;

Accession area