The collection of materials relating to the Great War seems to have been the idea of Assistant Librarian D Rhys Phillips in 1914 under the supervision of then Chief Librarian S. E. Thompson. Phillips collected a range of archival and published items which he later described as 'songs, photos, war maps, lists of local fallen men etc'. His collection was formalised after the War by Swansea Corporation establishing a War Museums Committee in early 1919 which created the War Museum Library, Swansea. The War Museum Library was to be split between the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery and the Central Library and at one time constituted, as well as the items listed below, several hundred books and a variety of museum objects.
The items in this section constitute the only identifiable extant part of the War Museum Library, Swansea. Some of the content of this part of the overall collection derives from an appeal in local newspapers for material to be sent in by the public. The part of the collection described here also includes propaganda leaflets: these are probably a reference set identical to those that were sent to Swansea schools during the War. Reference to the distribution of war pamphlets to Swansea schools is made in a letter of 29 July 1915 from the Parliamentary Recruitment Committee thanking the Chief Librarian for his assistance.
According to later writings of Phillips, interest in the War Museum Library, Swansea had faded by 1920 in the light of 'other matters arising and Labour opposition'. Some of the impetus for maintaining such a collection was removed by the opening of the Imperial War Museum in London in 1920.