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All the correspondence in Series 1 has been indexed by the names of the writers and recipients.
The majority of letters were written to Edmund Barton. For this reason, only letters or copies of letters written by Barton have been indexed under his name.
The bulk of the correspondence covers the period 1898-1905 and concerns Barton's leadership of the Federation campaign, the work of the Australian delegates in London and Barton's term of office as Prime Minister. Principal correspondents are Alfred Deakin, Sir John Forrest, Lord Hopetoun, Joseph Chamberlain, Sir Samuel Griffith, Sir William Lyne, Sir Henry Parkes and Lord Tennyson. One notable item, MS 51/1/659-660, is a letter from Joseph Chamberlain to Edmund Barton, dated 6 June 1900, agreeing to the passage of the Constitution of Australia Bill through the House of Commons without further obstacle.
The correspondence of the early years includes letters of William Barton (father of Edmund) concerning family and business affairs. That for the years 1906-1920 chiefly concerns Barton's legal work and family matters.
All letters and other items in this series are listed individually. It will be noted that, in addition to the letters, there are some invitations, financial papers, press cuttings and other documents.
Some years after the collection was itemized, there was a major addition of papers. In order to incorporate the additional letters into Series 1, the suffix 'a' was added to the item numbers extending from 949a to 1702a. The final addition of letters were numbered 1703-1843.
The majority of letters were written to Edmund Barton. If only the name of the author is given (eg. from Lord Hopetoun) it can be inferred that the recipient of the letter was Barton. In some instances, items are transcripts or other form of copies, rather than the original letters.
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