Swansea University has successfully ensured that a recently rediscovered Dylan Thomas notebook will remain in Wales and be accessible to scholars.
On Tuesday 9 December 2014, the University successfully bid £85,000 at an auction in Sotheby’s for the notebook, which lay forgotten in a drawer for decades before recently coming to light. It is one of five notebooks used by Dylan Thomas – the other four are in the State University of New York at Buffalo. Professor John Goodby, international Dylan Thomas expert and editor of the centenary edition of his poems, described it as “the holy grail of Thomas scholars” and the most exciting discovery since the poet’s death in 1953.
Jeff Towns, Chair of the Dylan Thomas Society and owner of Dylan’s Bookstore, who bid at the auction on behalf of the University, said: “I cannot conceive of anything more fitting and purposeful to bring what has been a vibrant year-long celebration of a great writer's Centenary to a close. If anybody had suggested such a thing last January I would have said impossible on so many counts. To bring this lost notebook - so telling and poignant - back to Swansea; to keep it in Wales for future generations is a huge achievement and I am overwhelmed to have been a small part of it."
The notebook will be kept in the University’s Richard Burton Archives, which already house Burton’s diaries and other papers, bequeathed to the University by his widow Sally, and other important items including the papers of academic and writer Raymond Williams, and the South Wales Coalfield Collection. The archives are open to all by appointment.
Professor Iwan Davies, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Swansea University, said: “As the University in the poet's birthplace, and sponsor of the International Dylan Thomas Prize, it is fitting that we have been able to ensure that this notebook stays in Wales and is accessible to scholars. The notebook will be a wonderful addition to our already extensive and important archive collection."
- Tuesday 10 February 2015 11.18 GMT
- Friday 12 June 2015 12.23 BST
- RIAH, Swansea University