Käthe Bosse-Griffiths

Käthe Bosse-Griffiths (16 June 1910 – 4 April 1998) was a German-born Egyptologist who after moving to Wales became a writer in the Welsh language.[1]

Käthe Bosse-Griffiths
Bosse-Griffiths with her husband J. Gwyn Griffiths in 1939
Bosse-Griffiths with her husband J. Gwyn Griffiths in 1939
BornKäthe Bosse
16 July 1910
Wittenberg, German Empire
Died4 April 1998
Swansea, Wales
Literary movementCadwgan Circle
SpouseJ. Gwyn Griffiths
ChildrenRobat Gruffudd
Heini Gruffudd

Early yearsEdit

Käthe Bosse was born in Wittenberg in Germany in 1910, and although her mother was of Jewish parentage, she was brought up as a member of the Lutheran Church. After completing her secondary education in her home town, she was accepted into the University of Munich, where she gained a doctorate in Classics and Egyptology in 1935. Soon after, she started work at the Egyptology and Archaeology Department of the Berlin State Museums, but she was dismissed from the post when it was discovered that her mother was a Jew.[2]

Bosse left Germany for Britain and found research work at the Petrie Museum at the University College London and later at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.[3] In 1938, while at Oxford, as a senior member of Somerville College she met fellow Egyptologist J. Gwyn Griffiths. Griffiths, a Welsh and Classics scholar brought up in the Rhondda, was at that time a research student at Oxford, but the two of them returned to the Rhondda and made their home in the village of Pentre. They married in 1939 and Bosse became Käthe Bosse-Griffiths.

During the Second World War, Bosse-Griffiths and her husband set up the Cadwgan Circle from their home in Pentre, an avant-garde literary and intellectual group whose members included Pennar Davies and Rhydwen Williams. Among these literary Welsh speakers, Bosse-Griffiths found a love of the Welsh language. During the same years in Germany, Bosse-Griffiths's mother died at Ravensbrück, a notorious women's concentration camp. Her brothers Günther and Fritz were both imprisoned, and then served at Zöschen camp. An order to have them killed at the end of the war was not carried out.[4] Her sister Dorothee was imprisoned for six weeks but released.[4]

Academic and literary careerEdit

When her husband became a lecturer at Swansea University, the couple moved to Uplands and then Sketty in Swansea. Bosse-Griffiths became a member of Swansea Museum, where she was Keeper of Archaeology, a role she would undertake for 25 years. She helped bring Sir Henry Wellcome's Egyptian collection, at the time held in storage, to the Department of Classics at Swansea, and would spend the next twenty years researching this 5,000 piece collection. This Wellcome collection is now housed at the Egypt Centre at Swansea University.

Bosse-Griffiths was also a published author. She wrote on German pacifist movements in Mudiadau Heddwch yn yr Almaen (1942) in the Welsh language, while academic works include her 1955 collection Amarna Studies and Other Collected Papers.[5]

Bosse-Griffiths published scores of articles on archaeological matters. Her literary output of short stories and novels included Anesmwyth Hoen (1941), Fy Chwaer Efa a Storïau Eraill (1944), Mae'r Galon wrth y Llyw (1957; reprinted with a new introduction in 2016 by Honno Welsh Women's Classics), and Cariadau (1995), and two travel books, Trem ar Rwsia a Berlin (1962), and Tywysennau o'r Aifft (1970).


  1. ^ Davies, John; Jenkins, Nigel; Menna, Baines; Lynch, Peredur I., eds. (2008). The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. p. 337. ISBN 978-0-7083-1953-6.
  2. ^ Meic Stephens (10 April 1998). "Obituary: Kate Bosse-Griffiths". The Independent. Retrieved 27 December 2009.
  3. ^ Lloyd, Allan B.; 'Kate Bosse-Griffiths' JSTOR.
  4. ^ a b Bosse-Griffiths,Kate Teithiau'r Meddwl, Y Lolfa, (2004), pp. 7–19.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-04-30. Retrieved 2008-08-20.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Minnesota State University; Kate Bosse-Griffiths

External linksEdit