Swarthmore College Peace Collection

Waldo Williams Collected Papers, ca. 1942-1998

Collection: CDG-B Great Britain

Contact Information

Swarthmore College Peace Collection
500 College Avenue
Swarthmore, PA 19081-1399
Telephone: (610) 328-8557 (Curator)
Fax: (610) 328-8544
Email: wchmiel1@swarthmore.edu (Curator)
URL: http://www.swarthmore.edu/Library/peace/

Descriptive Summary
The Swarthmore College Peace Collection is not the official repository for the papers of Waldo Williams.
Williams, Waldo (1904-1971) & others
Waldo Williams Collected Papers (CDG-B Great Britain)
Inclusive Dates
1942-1998 (circa)
Call Number
CDG-B Great Britain

Language of Materials
Materials in Welsh & English
5 linear inches/feet [papers only]
Welsh poet; war resister; conscientious objector in World War II; became a Quaker in 1953; war-tax resister

Administrative Information
Restrictions to Access
Usage Restrictions
Alternate Form of Material
Acquisitions Information
Gift of Tanya George, May 2010 [acc. 10A-046]
Processing Information
Processed by Anne Yoder, SCPC Archivist, December 2010
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Waldo Williams Collected Papers (CDG-B Great Britain), Swarthmore College Peace Collection
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendents, as stipulated by United States copyright law

Online Catalog Headings
These and related materials may be found under the following headings in online library/archival catalogs.
See tripod record

Related Collections

Historical Background
Williams was born in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire in 1904. His father was a primary school teacher from Pembrokeshire. English was the first language of the family and it wasn’t until he moved to Fynachlog-ddu and attended the local school at seven years of age that Waldo Williams was immersed in the Welsh language.

After attending the Grammar School at Narbeth, Pembrokeshire, he studied at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth where he graduated in English in 1926. Afterwards he trained as a teacher and worked in various schools in Pembrokeshire, the rest of Wales and England. He also taught night classes organized by the Department of Extre-Mural Studies, University College of Wales, Aberystwyth.

Williams married in 1941, but his wife died in 1943, and he did not remarry.

Williams' parents were firm chapel-goers who were also influenced by the radical movement of the time. As pacifists, they were strongly opposed to the First World War. Waldo Williams was a conscientious objector during World War II, and the horror of war was evident in his poems during this period – Y Tangnefeddwyr (The Peacemeakers), which describes “Abertawe’n fflam” (“Swansea aflame”), for instance. During the Korean War he refused to pay his income tax on pacifist grounds. He continued his protest until the ending of compulsory military service in 1963. During his campaigning he was sent to prison.

He stood as a parliamentary candidate for Plaid Cymru in the Pembrokeshire constituency at the 1959 General Election when he won 4.32% (2.253) of the votes. But in general he spread his ideas and opinions through his writings, his poetry in particular, whereby he had considerable influence. His poems are also well known for their beautiful and evocative depictions of Wales and its people, with much of it concerned with the close-knit community life of the Preseli area of north Pembrokeshire. The Poetry Foundation states: "Waldo Williams . . . is widely regarded as one of the finest poets Wales has ever produced. Dail pren (The leaves of the tree) was the only volume of poems he published during his lifetime." [http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/waldo-williams]

Waldo Williams died in 1971 at St. Thomas's Hospital, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, and is buried at Blaenconin Chapel burial ground in Llandysilio.

See also: http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Waldo_Williams

Collection Overview
Collection includes biographical information, Williams's 1942 statement of conscientious objection to a Welsh tribunal, his writings, and the writings of others about him or his poetry. Tanya George, who donated several boxes of material by and about Waldo Williams, had wrapped the books and other material in plastic into units, and included a very detailed list according to her schema. This was dismantled upon arrival at the SCPC and the papers were arranged as seen in the folder list below. Photographs of Williams's memorial stone were removed to the Photograph Collection. All but a few items are photocopies of originals. A compact disc of readings of Williams's poems, a compact disc "Glesni's Notebook for Waldo" and two DVDs, were removed to the Audiovisual Collection. Books written by and about Waldo Williams were removed to the Book Collection.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Box 1
Biographical material [includes C.O. status & election campaign]
Writings: poems; articles
Writings: extract from Dal Pridd y Dail
Writings: extract from translation done by W.W. of The Old Farm House into English
Writings about W.W. and/or his poetry: Typescript of play "Waldo's Witness" by Nigel Jenkins
Writings about W.W. and/or his poetry: newsclippings
Writings about W.W. and/or his poetry: articles, etc.

Writings about W.W. and/or his poetry: articles, etc. [includes centennial of W.W.'s birth]
Writings about W.W. and/or his poetry: notes for tapestry panel
Writings about W.W. and/or his poetry: literary critiques
Poems "Sonnets (1919-20)" written in memory of his parents, by T.H. Parry-Williams
Inventory of donated items, by Tanya George [acc. 10A-046]

This file was last updated on August 21, 2015