Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Foulkes, Isaac

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FOULKES, ISAAC (1836–1904), Welsh author and editor, born in 1836 at the farm of Cwrt, Llanfwrog, Denbighshire, was son of Peter Foulkes by his wife Frances. At the age of fifteen he was apprenticed to Isaac Clarke, printer, Ruthin; in 1857 he entered the office of the 'Amserau' newspaper in Liverpool, and soon afterwards set up a printing business of his own in that city, which he conducted until his death. He issued in 1877–88 'Cyfres y Ceinion' (The Gem Series), a series of cheap reprints of Welsh classics which gave notable stimulus to the Welsh literary revival at the end of the nineteenth century. In May 1890 he began to issue the 'Cymro' (Welshman), a weekly Welsh newspaper intended primarily for Liverpool Welshmen, but soon read widely in Wales as well; Foulkes was both editor and publisher, and made the journal a literary medium of high value. He died at Rhewl, near Ruthin, on 2 Nov. 1904, and was buried in Llanbedr churchyard. He married (1) Hannah Foulkes, by whom he had two sons and three daughters; and (2) Sinah Owen.

Foulkes, who was known in bardic circles as 'Llyfrbryf' (Bookworm), was a keen student of Welsh literature, and as author, critic, editor and publisher, devoted to this cause literary judgment and unflagging energy. He wrote: 1. 'Cymru Fu' (a volume of folklore), pt. i. Llanidloes, 1862; pts. ii. and iii. Liverpool, 1863-4; 2nd edit. Wrexham, 1872. 2. 'Rheinallt ap Gruffydd' (a novel), Liverpool, 1874. 3. A memoir of the poet Ceiriog, Liverpool, 1887; 2nd edit. 1902; 3rd edit. 1911. 4. A memoir of the novelist, Daniel Owen, Liverpool, 1903. Among other works which he both edited and published are 'Enwogion Cymru,' a biographical dictionary of eminent Welshmen (Liverpool, 1870); the 'Mabinogion,' with a translation into modern Welsh (1880); 'The Poetry of Trebor Mai' (1883); 'Oriau Olaf,' by Ceiriog (1888). Editions of 'Dafydd ap Gwilym.' the 'Iolo MSS.,' and Yorke's 'Royal Tribes of Wales' were also issued from his press.

[Bygones (Oswestry), 9 Nov. 1904; 'Brython' (Liverpool), 25 May 1911; information from Mr. Lewis Jones, Ruthin.]

J. E. L.