Papers of Edward Thomas (1878-1917), poet and critic

Scope and Content


3976 items of family correspondence from 1892-2004. 1330 original letters and 2646 photocopies and transcripts gathered from collections across the UK, USA and Canada. 1892-2004

- 966 manuscript and 2061 photocopied and transcribed letters between Edward Thomas and various family and friends 1892-1917, including his wife Helen Thomas (nee Noble), Gordon Bottomley, Eleanor Farjeon, Walter de la Mare, Edward Garnett and Robert Frost.
- 137 manuscript and 177 photocopied and transcribed letters between Helen Thomas and various family and friends 1896-1967, including Gordon Bottomley, Robert Frost, Eleanor Farjeon, Dorothy Locke-Ellis, Henry W. Nevinson, James Ashcroft Noble and Sylvia Townsend Warner.
- 229 letters between Myfanwy Thomas and various family and friends 1965-2004
- 406 transcripts of letters within the collection to aid access and research.


A collection of original manuscript and typescript poems by Edward Thomas, and photocopies and transcripts of poems held across the UK, USA and Canada. 1898-1917.

323 drafts of 150 poems from 1898-1917.
11 scores of poems set to music
4 offprints of early published poems
1 typescript of 'Poems' (1917)

- 45 original and typescript drafts by Edward Thomas
- 278 photocopied and transcribed drafts of poems from collections held across the UK, USA and Canada.


Prose works by Edward Thomas. 1895-1917

1 manuscript; 9 notebooks containing 27 pages of press cuttings, 16 flower pressings, and 3 photographs; 9 fragments of prose; 6 photocopied or transcribed published works; 7 photocopied or transcribed notebooks; 6 photocopied unpublished essays; 7 scrapbooks and a file of reviews; 8 microfilm copies of review scrapbooks; 4 handlists; 2 essays; 2 articles.


Official documents belonging to Edward Thomas. 1897-1917.

1 matriculation certificate, 1 literary society membership card, 2 school reports, 1 application to the Royal Literary Fund and 5 supporting letters, 1 birth and 2 marriage certificates, 1 will.


Papers belonging to Edward Thomas' family and friends. 1853-1989.

4 birth certificates; 19 pieces of prose; 22 poems; 4 memorials; 159 letters; 10 pages of family history documents; 2 articles; 1 scrapbook of reviews; 3 diaries; 1 exam certificates; 2 lecture scripts; 3 Royal Literary Fund applications and 11 supporting letters; 2 offprints; 2 press cuttings; 16 magnetic tapes; 7 cassettes; miscellaneous notes and papers.


Memorial stone, memorial window, centenary celebrations and biographies and recollections by family and friends. 1896-2008

Memorial stone:

88 letters, 4 press cuttings, 1 list of subscribers, 1 leaflet

Memorial window:

116 letters, 3 invoices, 25 proofs, 2 account books, 53 bank statements, 2 journal issues, 1 commemorative booklet,

12 photographs, 2 articles, miscellaneous papers

Memorial events:

4 press cuttings, 1 press release, 1 programme of events, 2 dedication addresses, 1 appeal leaflet, 1 invitation, 3 press cuttings, several bank letters and miscellaneous ephemera

Biographies and recollections:

100 written memorials, 1 biography, 105 letters, 4 photographs, 58 press cuttings, 96 memorial poems, 18 radio transcripts, some fragments of radio transcripts, 1 television transcript

Groups and societies:

1 leaflet, 6 notecards, 6 mini-collections of poems, 1 article, 1 print-out of website pages, 40 newsletters


Collection of personal effects and memorabilia donated to Special Collections by Edward Thomas' family.

Includes a wicker basket containing Edward Thomas' watch, tobacco box, badge, button, lavender bag, clay pipes, scarves, wallet and visiting cards. Also two brass candlesticks, a visiting card case, lock of hair, patchwork quilt, collection of prints, table, chair and wooden trunk.


Photographs, daguerreotypes, negatives, oil paintings, watercolours, prints and photocopies of artwork belonging to the Thomas family. 1850-1987

508 photographs, 17 negatives, 2 daguerrotypes, 20 photocopies, 17 publisher's tracings, 6 paintings, 5 prints, 2 photocopies.


Lists of books, reviews, essays and articles by Edward Thomas; books and articles about Edward Thomas; reviews of Edward Thomas' books; the contents of the Thomas family library and photocopies of dustjackets.

2 handlists of books by Edward Thomas, 1 photocopy of a published work, 1 handlist of books and articles about Edward Thomas, 1 dustjacket, 74 articles about Edward Thomas, 1 handlist of the Thomas family library, 53 maps, 4 copies of dust jackets, 1 handlist of reviews of Edward Thomas' books and a large collection of these reviews.


R. George Thomas was Professor of English at Cardiff University. He spent four decades researching Edward Thomas and produced many key works on the subject. 1950-2001

52 letters, 6 offprints and 1002 pages of research notes.


Documents pertaining to the history of the construction of the Edward Thomas Collection and its subsequent use by researchers. All correspondence files are closed access under the Data Protection Act. 1950-2010

1 article, 1 book, 4 exhibition catalogues, 61 exhibition captions, 1 poster, 14 exhibition leaflets, 524 pages of correspondence, 1 history of the collection, 2 handlists, 3 floppy disks, 23 booksellers' catalogues, 67 library leaflets, guides and bulletins.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Edward Thomas Collection was started in 1940 when Gordon Bottomley, the poet and dramatist, presented the autograph manuscript of 'Wales' and 238 letters which Thomas had written to him between 1902 and 1917. In 1948 Dr R. George Thomas, agreed to edit the letters for publication. His contact with the poet's family led to much of the material that remained in the family's possession coming to Cardiff. In addition, a large collection of photocopies, transcripts and notes from libraries in this country and North America has been assembled in Cardiff making it the largest accumulation of material relating to Edward Thomas and his family.

Access Information

Access is available by prior appointment.


Shelves 543-564, F12-13.

Conditions Governing Use

Letters to Helen and Gordon Bottomley, and all original poems and photos, can be found at Digital Special Collections .

The review scrapbooks are subject to newspaper copyright. All unpublished documents created by authors other than Edward or Helen Thomas are in copyright until 2039 under the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. Reproduction is permitted only upon completion of a Copyright Declaration, confirming your intention to use the images under an exemption for private research and study.

The archive contains many photocopies of manuscripts held in other institutions, collected mainly by R. G. Thomas. This material may be consulted but not reproduced. It is your responsibility to contact the holding repository to arrange access to their original manuscripts.

Related Material

Diaries and manuscripts of Edward Thomas, and correspondence with his wife Helen, are in the National Library of Wales (NLW MSS 21750, 21859, 22900-21, 23077, 23103, 23222, 23299-23300, 23695); photocopies of letters from Edward to Helen Thomas, 1896-1917, deposited at the NLW, are also held at Cardiff University.

Further correspondence and papers of Edward Thomas are held in the following repositories: the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center Library of the University of Texas at Austin; the Lincoln College Library of Oxford University; the University of British Columbia Library; the Bodleian Library's Special Collections and Western Manuscripts in Oxford University; Eton College; New York Public Library; the Palace Green Section of Durham University Library's Archives and Special Collections; the King's School, Canterbury; Wandsworth Local History Service Library; and the British Library's Manuscript Collections.

Research by R. George Thomas which does not relate to Edward Thomas is held at 402 .