Richard Ellis Papers

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 982 RE
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
      English, Welsh, French, Latin, Cornish.
  • Physical Description
      0.29 cubic metres

Scope and Content

The papers contain correspondence written, received, and collected by Richard Ellis; notes and notebooks, primarily concerning Edward Lhuyd; indexes to these notes; Ellis' literary compositions; and manuscript material acquired by Ellis.

Administrative / Biographical History

Richard Ellis was born at Aberystwyth on December 27th 1865. He received his early education in the town, and attended its university during the years 1889-1894, studying history and English. In 1893, he won an open exhibition at Jesus College, Oxford, but remained at Aberystwyth, teaching at David Samuel's private grammar school. He took up the exhibition in 1898, and graduated in modern history in 1901.

Ellis remained at Oxford after graduation. He followed courses in palaeography, and began compiling notes on the Lhuyd collections held at the Bodleian Library. He formed the Edward Lhuyd Society, which met 1903-1906, and began a campaign to erect a memorial to Lhuyd at Jesus College.

In 1907 he was appointed Welsh Librarian at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, and so returned to his hometown. Ellis found that his duties as Librarian began to dominate his life, leaving little time to pursue his research. In 1909 he was appointed Assistant Librarian at the newly established National Library of Wales, but time for his essential visits to Oxford remained scarce.

In 1912 Ellis succeeded in his application for a research fellowship at Jesus College, Oxford, where he seems to have remained until 1920. He worked as an assistant librarian at the Codrington Library, All Souls' College, and offered private tuition. He also compiled an index to the Lhuyd material at the Bodleian Library, where he was treated as an honorary member of staff. He employed copyists to transcribe letters and correct his own copies in preparation for intended publication. He had great support from friends such as Sir John Rhys, and the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion had agreed to publish his work. Yet nothing came of the project.

Ellis returned to Aberystwyth during the early 1920s. He spent short spells at both Cardiff and Dublin, but by 1928 he was in Oxford once more. Towards the end of August 1928 he suffered a heart attack, and died on September 6th.Much of his knowledge, and many of his short stories and poems, sadly died with him.

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.


Description compiled by Rhian Phillips, Archives Hub project archivist, with reference to Brinley F Roberts, The Richard Ellis Papers: Handbook and Schedule, (Aberystwyth: University College of Wales Library, 1983).

Other Finding Aids

Brinley F Roberts, The Richard Ellis Papers: Handbook and Schedule, (Aberystwyth: University College of Wales Library, 1983).

Related Material

A number of Richard Ellis' notebooks are to be found at the National Library of Wales, Department of Manuscripts and Records, amongst the Thomas Gwynn Jones Papers.