The finding aid for the papers of Howell Arthur Gwynne (1865-1950), for which only a hard copy handlist existed previously, has been retro converted and fully catalogued , making access to Gwynne’s papers published and available for the first time on Bodleian Archives and Manuscripts. The catalogue is available here. The papers, of which comprise Gwynne’s diaries, subject papers and correspondence, were also repackaged into archival standard boxes and folders to support long term preservation. Part of the scope of the retro conversion was also enhancing dates and descriptions, which feature in the new catalogue.
Howell Arthur Gwynne is mostly known as editor of the British conservative newspaper the Morning Post from 1911 until it’s collapse in 1937 when it became absorbed by the Telegraph. Prior to this, Gwynne had a successful early career as a Reuters correspondent overseas; on 16 November 1895 he was appointed special correspondent for the second Ashanti Expedition; his diary of the expedition is at MS. Gwynne dep. 28. He also took the lead of organisation of the Reuters service during the Boer War, and was on hand to accompany Colonial Secretary Joseph Chamberlain’s tour of South Africa 1902-1903 (see MS. Gwynne dep. 29/2).
Much of the series of subject papers relates to the Morning Post‘s policy and publications, which heralded much controversy at certain points during Gwynne’s editorship. One such instance was the Morning Post’s support, both financially and in print, of General Reginald Dyer after news broke in Britain of the Amritsar Massacre of 13 April 1919, when Dyer gave orders to British led troops to open fire on a non-violent gathering of religious celebrations at Jallianwala Bagh, culminating in mass casualties. During the Hunter Commission, an inquiry into Dwyer’s actions, the Morning Post initiated a benefit fund the ‘General Dwyer fund’ to raise financial aid for him after the dismissal from his position. Correspondence relating to the fund, views of the Post‘s readership and an insight to the response to Dwyer’s actions and the massacre can be found at MS. Gwynne dep. 8.
Arrangement of the papers has been retained throughout the cataloguing process; the files allocated ‘major correspondence’ includes correspondence with key figures, social and political, of the early 1900s including Lady Margot Asquith, Andrew Bonar Law, and H. G. Wells. The papers will be of interest for late 19th-mid 20th century colonial and political history as well as the operations of the British Press and censorship during the First World War.