Skip to Main Content

Richard Burton Archives: University Collections

Mae'r dudalen hon hefyd ar gael yn Gymraeg

Centenary cataloguing project

One of our archivists is currently working on a large scale project to catalogue and facilitate access to the University’s archive collections. The collections include material such as official minute books, departmental records, photographs, Student Union newspapers, audio-visual material and the personal papers of former staff and students

Keep an eye on these pages and our Archives Catalogue; more descriptions of the University material will be made available online as the project progresses. 

Along with the fascinating material already held in the Archives, it is hoped that further archival material will be discovered to enhance and develop the existing collections. If you or your department has material that relates to the history of the University, we would be delighted to hear from you, please contact us.

Swansea University records

The University College of Swansea was established in 1920 by Royal Charter, as the fourth college of the University of Wales. The University's foundation stone was laid by King George V on 19 July 1920 and 89 students (including eight female students) enrolled that same year.

The painting above- ‘The Foundation Stone Ceremony, 19 July 1920’ by Percy Gleaves - is part of the University art collection. It has recently been restored to its former glory and is now displayed in Singleton Abbey for all to view. 

In 1996 the University changed its name to the University of Wales Swansea, before formally adopting the name Swansea University in September 2007. 

The corporate records of the University include;

  • Minutes of Court, Council and Senate, 1920-2015
  • Minutes of faculties and academic boards, 1920-2012
  • Correspondence files kept by the first Registrars of the University, 1920-1959
  • Photographs and publicity materials from the Marketing Department, 1920-2000s

Student Union records

The Student Union records include council minute books, policy files, records of the Athletic Union 1932-2010, and Student Union publications.  

Student Union newspaper collection

The Archives hold student magazines from the start of the university in the 1920s. Articles, cartoons, verse and advertisements give a great insight into student life in Swansea. We hold the following (with some gaps); 

  • The Undergrad (1921-1925)
  • Dawn (1925-1968)
  • Bleep (1957; a combination of Focus and Crefft)
  • Crefft (1949-1978)
  • DoubleTake  (1981-1986; from 1981 becomes a weekly publication and a merger of Double Take and Free News)
  • Bad Press (1986-1994)
  • Waterfront (1995-2011)

Student newspaper gallery

Personal collections

Ruby Graham (nee Joseph) (b 1905) was a student at the University College of Swansea between 1922 and 1925. She went on to become a producer at Swansea Little Theatre. Her collection includes photographs, dance cards for the Annual Ball at the Patti Pavilion Swansea, programmes for Inter-Collegiate Week, testimonials and exam papers. The collection also includes testimonials from her later time at Cardiff University.

Rush Rhees was born in New York, in 1905. He initially read philosophy at Rochester University, from where he was expelled for his unconventional questioning. In 1924 he travelled to Edinburgh, and graduated with first-class honours in 1928. He was an assistant to JL Stocks, studied with Alfred Kastil, and was a research student with GE Moore at Cambridge, where he met Ludwig Wittgenstein. Together with GEM Anscombe and GH von Wright, he was appointed as Wittgenstein's literary executor. Rhees dedicated much of his life to bringing out Wittgenstein's unpublished works.

Rhees was appointed as a temporary assistant at the University College of Swansea in 1940, his post was made permanent in 1946. He remained as a lecturer until his retirement in 1966, after which he briefly lived in London, and was a visiting professor at King's College. He later returned to Swansea, where he became an honorary professor and fellow of the college. He died in Swansea on 22 May 1989.

The collection consists of the personal papers of Rush Rhees, together with notes, transcripts and correspondence relating to the publication of works by and relating to Ludwig Wittgenstein and works by Rush Rhees. The collection also includes:

  • correspondence between Rush Rhees and others including Elizabeth Anscombe, Maurice O'Connor Drury, Brian McGuinness and Dewi Zephaniah Phillips
  • research and lecture notes relating to philosophers and particular aspects of philosophy