This phonograph dated c. 1925 belonged to Mary Davies (Mair Mynorydd) 1855-1930. Mary was born in London, the daughter of William Davies (Mynorydd 1826-1901), sculptor and musician from Merthyr Tydfil. She adopted the pseudonym Mynorydd from her father. She began singing at Welsh concerts in the capital and later joined the Choral Union which was then under the conductorship of John Thomas (Pencerdd Gwalia, 1826 – 1913).
Mary won a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music and became a leading oratorio and ballad singer of her day, appearing in first performances of works by the composer Hector Berlioz in London and Manchester. She taught music and became an examiner for both the Royal Academy and the Royal College of Music.
In 1888 she married William Cadwaladr Davies, first Registrar of the University College of North Wales, Bangor. She was the first president of the Welsh Folk Song Society formed in 1906, and vice-president of the Welsh Bibliographical Society. In 1916 she was awarded an honorary doctorate in music at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth and in 1929 she was awarded the medal of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion for her services to music.
The phonograph is a device for the mechanical and analogue recording and reproduction of sound. In its later form it was called a gramophone and from the 1940s a record player and then turntable. A horn was part of this phonograph originally. It was used by Mary Davies when visiting Welsh villages to collect Welsh folk songs.
There is a portrait of Mary Davies in Storiel’s collection painted by the artist James Cadenhead.