Fonds GB 0210 JACNES - Jack Jones (author and playwright) Manuscripts,

Identity area

Reference code



Jack Jones (author and playwright) Manuscripts,


  • 1934-1968 / (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.485 cubic metres (19 boxes)

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Jack Jones (1884-1970), author and playwright, was born at Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorgan, the eldest son of David and Sarah Anne. He was educated at St David's elementary school, Merthyr Tydfil. Between 1902 and 1906 he served in the Army in South Africa and India. In 1908 he married his first wife, Laura Grimes Evans (d. 1946), of Builth Wells, Brecknockshire. They had five children. After the First World War he became active in left-wing politics. In 1921 he was sent by the Miners' Federation Lodge, Pontypool, Monmouthshire, to the Conference of the British Communist Party in Manchester, where he was elected temporary corresponding secretary for the South Wales coalfield. In 1923 he was appointed full-time secretary-representative of the miners at Blaengarw, Glamorgan, and later joined the Labour Party. He was forced to resign in 1927 after the publication of his controversial article, 'The Need for a Lib-Lab Coalition'. He moved to Cardiff and became one of Lloyd George's speakers on the Liberal platform, and stood unsuccessfully for Neath in the 1929 general election. He began writing seriously during a period of unemployment. His first novel, 'Saran', was never published, but a reduced version of it appeared as Black Parade (1935). By 1939, he had written the novels Rhondda Roundabout (1934), and Bidden to the Beast (1938), a play, Land of my Fathers (1937), and his first autobiography, Unfinished Journey (1937). The London stage version of Rhondda Roundabout was acclaimed. He wrote the dialogue for the film 'Proud Valley', in which he also had a minor acting role. During the Second World War he was a speaker for the Ministry of Information and the National Savings Movement. He wrote The Man David (1944), a life of David Lloyd George. In the 1945 election he supported Sir James Grigg of the Conservative Party. After the war he wrote two volumes of autobiography, Me and Mine (1946) and Give Me Back My Heart (1950), three novels, Off to Philadelphia in the Morning (1947), Some Trust in Chariots (1948), and River out of Eden (1951), and a play Transatlantic Episode (1947). He was made a CBE in 1948. His later works, Lily of the Valley and Lucky Year (1952), Time and the Business (1953), Choral Symphony (1955) and Come, Night; End, Day (1956) were less well received. In 1954, he married his second wife, Gladys Morgan. He was elected first President of the English section of Yr Academi Gymreig. Until his death in May 1970 he continued writing; these works remained unpublished, including a biographical novel, 'A Burnt Offering', based on the life of Dr William Price (1800-1893), Llantrisant, pioneer of cremation.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Donated to the National Library of Wales by Jack Jones, Rhiwbina, between 1961 and 1969.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Holograph manuscripts and (mostly) typescripts, corrected, of some of the published and unpublished literary works, including novels entitled 'Benny Boy', 'Thursday to Saturday', Choral Symphony (London, 1955), 'Requiem for Rags', 'The Champion's Wife, 'The Methuselahs', Come, Night; End, Day, Rhondda Roundabout, 'Shadow Show' and The Man David (London, 1944); comedies, musical plays, and dramatisations of novels, autobiographies, radio scripts, articles and reviews, 1938-1967, including 'The Leek in the Broth'; diaries, 1938-1962; notebooks on William Abraham ('Mabon'); cuttings from Merthyr Express of the 'Saran Stories'; recorded readings from the B.B.C, 1941-1964; and typescript final draft of 'A Burnt Offering' and manuscript notes on Dr William Price.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

Action: All records donated to the National Library of Wales have been retained..


Accruals are not expected.

System of arrangement

Arranged by date of deposit.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

No restrictions. 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

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Related descriptions

Notes area


Title compiled from content of fonds.

Alternative identifier(s)

Virtua system control number


Project identifier


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 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 Seri Crawley for the ANW project. The following sources were used for the preparation of the description: National Library of Wales, Schedule of Jack Jones Manuscripts; Stephen, Meic, Oxford Companion to the Literature of Wales (Oxford, 1986); Dictionary of Welsh Biography, 1941-1970 (London, 2001).

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  • Text: Jack Jones (author and playwright) Manuscripts.