Griffith Quick Papers

Scope and Content

The archive contains a copy of the script of the film, The Ten Commandments, along with related promotional material; photographs and promotional material relating to the film, King of Kings; correspondence between Griffith Quick and Cecil B De Mille regarding The Ten Commandments, along with biographical notes on Griffith Quick written by his sister Dilys.

Administrative / Biographical History

Griffith Quick was born in 1900, into the Owen family of Dolgellau. He moved to south Wales as a child, and received his education at Aberdare, Glamorganshire. In 1917, his education was interrupted when he entered active military service on board a mine-sweeper, but in 1919 he returned home and entered the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. He graduated in Physics in 1923, and went on to complete a diploma in Teachers' Training.

On leaving Aberystwyth, Quick became a teacher at Itchen Grammar School, Southampton. In 1926, he volunteered to work for the London Missionary Society, and left for Rhodesia. He remained there for 16 years, during which time he helped establish the Mbereshi Boarding School for Boys, a technical school, a teachers' training institute and a village school in the Luapula River District. He also organised a new translation of the Old Testament into Bemba, and wrote two books of his own, Kosam: The Story of an African Village Boy, and Arwyr Africa. In 1942, Quick left his volunatry work to become chaplain to the King's African Rifles. He served with them throughout Eastern Africa, producing a handbook for the use of African soldiers in Bemba and Swahili.

In 1947, Quick returned to Britain, and took up the position of minister at the United Reformed Church, Wrexham. He was asked by the Colonial Office to assist with the teaching of Bemba and Swahili to their new recruits at Cambridge University, and produced a Bemba Grammar Book for students of the language. Quick also struck up a friendship with Cecil B De Mille, to whom he wrote regarding his film The Ten Commandments. Plans were made for Quick to visit De Mille in Hollywood to discuss the theme of a new film, but De Mille's poor health and death prevented this. In 1975, Quick returned to Mbereshi with the aim of establishing a technical institute. Draft plans were drawn up, but violence and unrest in Zimbabwe meant that they had to be abandoned. He died in 1980.

Access Information

The papers may be consulted through application by e-mail to: or by post to: Aberystwyth University, Archives, Information Services, Llandinam Building, Penglais, Aberystwyth, SY23 3DB. Tel: 01970 628593.

Acquisition Information

The papers were donated to the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, in 1997, by Dilys Quick, sister of Griffith Quick.


Description compiled by Rhian Phillips, Archives Hub project archivist, with reference to the Griffith Quick Papers, University of Wales, Aberystwyth.

Other Finding Aids

Basic finding aid available on request from Archives staff.

Related Material

Further papers concerning Griffith Quick are to be found at the South Africa Institute, Johannasburg, amongst 'Journals and Papers; Griffith Quick, 1900-1980; Gambia, 1926-1941'.