National Library of Wales

Gwenffrwd Hughes Papers

Reference code(s): GB 0210 GWENFF

Held at:

Title: Gwenffrwd Hughes Papers

Short title: Hughes, Gwenffrwd, papers

Dates of creation: [1937]-2002

Level of description: Fonds

Extent and medium: 1.034 cubic metres (86 boxes and 1 roll); 2 boxes (November 2003 donation); 3 boxes (April 2004 donation); 4 large boxes

Name of creator(s): Gwenffrwd Hughes


Administrative and biographical history: Henry Goronwy Alun Hughes, librarian, translator and journalist, was born in Bronant, Pontlottyn, Glamorgan, on 15 July 1921, the second son of the Reverend Robert Gwenffrwd Hughes and his wife Ethel (née Evans). His maternal grandfather was the Reverend Benjamin Evans ('Telynfab'), minister at Gadlys Welsh Baptist Church, Aberdare. In 1925 his father became the minister of Capel Rhondda, Gyfeillion, near Pontypridd. Goronwy Hughes attended Pontypridd County School for Boys, 1932-1939. Rhydwen Williams, poet and novelist, was a cousin of Dr Goronwy Hughes.
He won a scholarship in modern languages to Jesus College Oxford, in 1939, but his studies were interrupted by the War. He worked as a merchant seaman, sailing as a fireman, motorman on British, Swedish, Norwegian, Greek and Latvian ships. After the War he returned to University in 1944 and was awarded a degree in French and Portuguese. He studied anthropology at the University College, London and went to the Gilbert Islands to do his fieldwork, 1951-1952, having received a grant from the School of Oriental and African Studies. From 1953 to 1955 he attended lectures in social anthropology at the London School of Economics. In the summer of 1953 he went to the World Festival of Youth and Students in Bucharest. In 1956 he was appointed Language Specialist and International Librarian at Liverpool Public Libraries. He spent some time as a senior lecturer at two universities in Prague before returning to Wales as the Borough Librarian at Flint. He published books at his Gwasg Gwenffrwd at Afonwen mainly during the 1990s.


Scope and content: The fonds comprises papers, [1936]-2002, reflecting the diverse interests and actvities of Dr Goronwy Alun Hughes such as minority languages, anthropology, genealogy, libraries and the voluntary services in Wales, including personal and business correspondence and microfiche of Pacific interest; together with the papers of Brenda Hughes, his second wife, relating to Romanian life; and of his late wife Dr Zuzana Hughes relating to social work.


Language/script: English, Welsh, Czech, Romanian, Finnish, Maori, Spanish, Gilbertese

System of arrangement: Original order has been retained. The donor had previously numbered the envelopes and listed their contents. Arranged according to date of receipt of files. The microfiche have been listed together in a single file and arranged according to date of receipt.

Conditions governing access: Files 44-48 are closed until 2014. Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to sign the 'Modern Papers - data protection' form.

Conditions governing reproduction: Usual laws of copyright apply.

Finding aids: Hard copies of the lists (1984-2000) are in NLW Minor Lists and Summaries 1984 , pp. 29-30, 1985 , pp. 25-27, 1988 , p. 27, 1990 , p. 44, 1992 , p. 66, 1993 , p. 28, 1994 , p. 29, 1996 , p. 26, 1997 , p. 43, 1998 , pp. 29-30 and 2000 , p. 43. A hard copy of the list detailing papers received 2000 onwards is also available at NLW. The 1984-2000 accessions can also be accessed on-line from

Detailed catalogue


Accruals: Accruals are expected.

Immediate source of acquisition: Deposited by Dr Goronwy Alun Hughes in April, September and December 1984, June 1988, October 1989, August 1990, May 1991, September 1992, May 1993, April 1995, June 1996, January, April and August 1997, February 1998 and September 1999. In September 1999, Dr Hughes converted into a donation the papers placed on deposit at the Library. Further donations were received in 2000, 2001, 2002, November 2003 and April 2004.


Related units of description: Photographic material donated by Dr Hughes is in NLW, Special Collections, and printed material in NLW (see file level descriptions).
Dr Goronwy Alun Hughes of Corwen papers (DX555) are held at Glamorgan Archives, and Henry Goronwy Alun Hughes papers at the Barr Smith Library, University of Adelaide, Australia.


Archivist's note: Compiled by Ann Francis Evans.
The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Hughes, H. G. A., Understanding backwards: fragments of my life (Gwasg Gwenffrwd, 1993), The tools are on the bar (Gwasg Gwenffrwd, 1994), and Flintshire Leader, July 1968, in NLW, Gwenffrwd Hughes Papers (file 796).

Rules or conventions: This description follows NLW guidelines based on ISAD(G) Second Edition; AACR2; and LCSH.

Date(s) of description: January 2003.




Personal names

Hughes, H. G. A.

Corporate names