Academic and personal papers of D. Rhys Phillips

Scope and Content

Section 1. Publications, notes and letters of D. Rhys Phillips, 1900-1947, including the following: SL DRP 1-2. Papers relating to Hanes Cwm Nedd and The History of the Vale of Neath by D. Rhys Phillips, 1918-1928; SL DRP 3-5. Other literary works by D. Rhys Phillips, 1928-1940s; SL DRP 6-7. Papers relating to D. Rhys Phillips’ work editing of the Welsh References Bible, 1900-1911; SL DRP 8. Papers relating to D. Rhys Phillips’ connection with the Welsh Bibliographical Society, 1908-1934; SL DRP 9-11. Invitations to D. Rhys Phillips to give and attend lectures and meetings 1906-1933; SL DRP 12-18. Miscellaneous correspondence received by D. Rhys Phillips, 1905-1935; SL DRP 19-21. Papers relating to family matters including the wedding of D. Rhys Phillips and Miss Annie Watts, n.d. and 1923-1947; SL DRP 22-24. Certificates 1918-1935; SL DRP 25-28. Notebooks of D. Rhys Phillips, 1920s; SL DRP 29-30. Records relating to music, 1920s. Section 2. Manuscripts collected by D. Rhys Phillips, 1752-1926, including the following: SL DRP 31-32. Copies of documents, n.d.; SL DRP 33-35. Papers in the collection of D. Rhys Phillips from John Toriel Williams, 1913-1926; SL DRP 36-41. Papers in the collection of D. Rhys Phillips from the Rev. Rees. Jenkin Jones of Aberdare (including papers from the Rev. James Jones of Gellionnen), 1805-1919; SL DRP 42-44. Papers in the collection of D. Rhys Phillips from the Rev. Robert Jones, 1752-1878; SL DRP 45-50. Papers in the collection of D. Rhys Phillips from other sources, 1797-late 19th cent.

Administrative / Biographical History

David Rhys Phillips was born 20 March 1862 at Beili-glas Farm near Glynneath. He attended the local national schools and Arnold College, Swansea. From 1893 to 1900 he worked in a Neath printing office, and then worked until 1905 as a proof reader for the Oxford University Press. While there he began the work of publishing a new version of the Bible in Welsh for the British and Foreign Bible Society. In 1905 he returned to Wales to become librarian of the Welsh and Celtic Department at Swansea Central Library. He was made Joint Librarian in 1919 and then, in 1937, became Welsh Librarian until his retirement two years later. He was instrumental in the development of the Welsh books department of the Library in Swansea and became a prominent figure in Welsh literary circles. In 1906 he initiated the Welsh Bibliographical Society (acting as its secretary for the rest of his life. He also established the Swansea branch of the Cymmrodorion in 1906, the Mabinogion Society in 1912 and was made secretary and editor of the Celtic Congress from 1917 to 1925. He held the office of Secretary of the Gorsedd Examinations for thirty-nine years and was made liaison officer between the Gorsedd Societies of Wales, Brittany and Cornwall while playing a leading role in establishing the Cornish Gorsedd in 1928. He received many honours including a fellowship of the Royal Society of Antiquarians (Scotland) and of the Royal Society of Literature. He often competed in Eisteddfodau and won many prizes, including in 1918 for his essay Hanes Cwm Nedd, which was so well received that he published it in English in a much extended form in 1925 under the title The History of the Vale of Neath: A Romantic Valley in Wales. Other works by him include The romantic history of the Monastic Libraries of Wales, A select bibliography of Owen Glyndwr, The Celtic Countries, and A forgotten Welsh historian. David Rhys Phillips married twice, first to Mary Hancock who died prematurely, and then in 1927 to Miss Annie Watts, an organist and music teacher from Morriston. He died in 1952.

Access Information

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A hard copy catalogue is available at West Glamorgan Archives.

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Custodial History

This collection was originally received and held by Swansea Library and later transferred to West Glamorgan Archives.


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