National Library of Australia
Papers of Patrick White, covering his career and literary work from the early 1930s through to his death in 1990. The collection includes: correspondence received and drafts of correspondence sent by White (1939-1994); 10 literary notebooks (1930s-1970s) which include the beginnings of most of White's 12 novels; papers relating to White's autobiography Flaws in the glass, including all manuscript and typescript drafts; typescripts, corrections and correspondence relating to 3 published novels together with manuscripts for 2 unpublished novels and a novella (c.1965-1986); manuscripts for 3 late plays, typescripts for several major plays, and manuscripts of several [never performed] dramatic works (c.1962-1996); manuscripts and typescripts for several short stories (c.1976-1988); manuscripts for a number of poetry and short prose works (c.1970-c.1988); manuscripts and typescripts of speeches (1972-1989); dramatised extracts, scripts and artwork adapted from or based on White's work (1960-1987); address books and diaries (1960s-1990s); personal documents and certificates (1940-1988); awards received by White (1974-1987); files relating to the Patrick White Literary Award and Patrick White's Choice (1975-1990); theses and draft publications about White's work (1969-1986); scripts written by others and sent to White (1980-1990); photographs (1930-1984); ephemera (1960-1993); and printed material (1934-1990).
Also included are papers of White's lifelong partner, Manoly Lascaris, comprising condolence letters on White's death, photographs and correspondence (1962-2002).
The collection is available for research.
Copying and publication of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions. For such material, written permission to publish must be obtained from the copyright holder(s). Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material. White's Literary Executor has given the Library permission to copy White's copyright material for research purposes, at the Library's discretion.
Items from this collection should be cited as '[Title or description of manuscript item], Papers of Patrick White, National Library of Australia, MS 9982, [series and file number]'.
During White's lifetime, he asserted that he kept no manuscripts or personal papers, burning his drafts on completion of each work. For many years after his death, it was believed that a single manuscript draft of Memoirs of many in one (1986), donated by White to the anti-apartheid Canon Collins Education Trust for Southern Africa in 1988 and subsequently purchased at auction in 1991 by the National Library of Australia and the State Library of New South Wales, was the only surviving record of White's literary manuscripts. While White does appear to have destroyed a considerable portion of his manuscript material, he clearly retained many literary papers and personal papers until his death. The papers in this collection were in the custody of Manoly Lascaris (White's partner) who died in 2003, and of Barbara Mobbs, White's long-term literary agent and Literary Executor, who presented the collection to the National Library of Australia in 2006.
While the papers were received from the depositors very well sorted and arranged, rearrangement was required to bring items belonging to specific series together. In addition, incoming and outgoing correspondence has been sorted by correspondent. A number of items not on the original packing list were found in the boxes, and these items have been described in this finding aid. A list detailing the conversion from the original packing list to the final finding aid is available from the National Library of Australia's Pictures and Manuscripts Branch upon request.
The correspondence in Series 1.1, Series 1.2 and Series 26.1 has been name-indexed. Refer to the attached Correspondence Index for further information.
Selected items from Series 2 and Series 4 have been digitised and are available online through this finding aid.
White's manuscript draft of the 1986 Memoirs of many in one is owned jointly by the National Library of Australia (MS 8293) and the State Library of New South Wales. Letters of Patrick White may also be found in a large number of manuscript collections held by the National Library of Australia. Information on these items may be found via the Library's catalogue at http://nla.gov.au/catalogue.
Born in England in 1912, the son of wealthy New England (NSW) graziers, Patrick White became Australia's first Nobel Laureate in Literature (1973). White was educated in Australia and in England, where he studied French and German languages and literature at Cambridge in the early 1930s. White began his career as a serious writer in London in the 1930s, writing across all genres as he was to do for the rest of his life. By the late 1930s, he had published poems, plays, short stories, and his first novel, Happy Valley, which he was later to repudiate.
White continued to write during World War II, when he served as an RAF Intelligence Officer in the Middle East. His surviving wartime notebook makes clear that the key ideas and concepts of several of his great novels were conceived during this period of his life. His wartime service had another major and lasting impact: he met Manoly Lascaris in Alexandria, Egypt, in 1941, and spent the rest of his life in this enduring partnership.
After moving between Australia and Europe in the immediate post-war years, White and Lascaris returned permanently to Australia in 1948. They lived first in Castle Hill (NSW) - breeding Schnauzers and trying various small pastoral enterprises while White continued to write and be published - before moving to 20 Martin Road, Centennial Park (Sydney, NSW) in 1964. White died at Martin Road in 1990; Lascaris survived him for 13 years, dying in 2003.
White was a prolific and constant writer. He published 12 novels (and wrote at least 2 further novels and a novella which remained unpublished) and nearly 30 short stories during his lifetime, together with a modest number of poems. His great novels - from The aunt's story (1948) to Memoirs of many in one (1986) - were written steadily over a period of almost 40 years. He had a dozen plays and screenplays produced and wrote several more which were never performed or published. These were written in two distinct periods of activity, from The ham funeral in 1947 to A cheery soul in 1962, and then again from Big toys in 1977 to Shepherd on the rocks in 1987. He published a number of essays during his lifetime, especially in his later years when he became an activist, making speeches and attending protests for the preservation of Centennial Park and other green spaces, for Indigenous rights, for an Australian Republic and against nuclear arms. He was a prolific correspondent: David Marr, his biographer and editor of the 1994 Patrick White: Letters, tracked down 3000 letters by White, despite White's exhortations to many of his friends that they burn his letters in their possession. He also published a searching self-portrait in his 1981 Flaws in the glass, drawing on notes and writings from his earliest notebooks.
White's genius was recognised by many during his lifetime. In addition to the 1973 Nobel Prize, White won the Miles Franklin Award twice (for Voss in 1957, and for Riders in the chariot in 1961), and the Australian Literary Society Gold Medal three times (for Happy Valley in 1939, for The tree of man in 1955, and for The burnt ones in 1965). But he was also denigrated and suffered excoriating reviews of some of his novels and plays. Friend and supporter of many - as his considerable correspondence attests - he also severed long friendships with ferocity, and maintained old enmities, fuelling criticism of his work and contributing to a now somewhat hackneyed persona as a 'monster'.
White continues to be a controversial figure. In 2006, White was named by the Bulletin as one of Australia's 100 most influential people. In the same year, the Institute of Public Affairs included White's 1973 Nobel Prize as one of the 13 biggest 'mistakes' in Australian history. In any case, he is - by a wide margin - Australia's most written about writer, and new critical studies of his work are produced every year.
For further reading, David Marr's 1991 Patrick White: A life, a draft of which was read by White just a few months before his death, is the essential source.
Correspondence received by Patrick White over a fifty-two year period. Includes draft correspondence sent by White between 1980 and 1990. Occasionally correspondence includes attachments (articles, photographs, sketches) and these have been noted in the item description.
Also includes a children's book by Luciana Chetwynd, Seawater and the dragon.
Also includes list of artworks White deeded to the Gallery in his will.
Includes photograph of Bleesens and dog.
Includes 2 limited edition volumes of verse by Maie Casey, Melba re-visited and Verses .
Includes photograph of baby named Patrick White II.
Includes press cuttings, obituaries and other ephemera.
Includes photocopy of outgoing letter by Patrick White to Desmond Digby, press cuttings and other ephemera.
Includes inscribed copy of Waltzing Matilda, illustrated by Desmond Digby, and volume of press cuttings concerning Malcolm Fraser, Sir John Kerr, Peter Sculthorpe and other social and cultural figures.
Includes undated series of black and white and colour photographs of White and Lascaris with Dutton Family at Kangaroo Island, South Australia .
Christmas cards including family photographs and news.
Includes press cuttings, mostly of European architecture.
Fitzgerald, Halliday and Co. acted for White in matters relating to mineral rights .
Includes photograph of Peggy Garland's son, David Garland and his dog, and a copy of Crafts magazine with an article about David Garland's pottery.
Graham C. Greene was White's publisher at Viking Press.
Includes an article by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, 'The first circle'.
Includes a number of religious publications by Joyner.
Includes several photographs of White and King.
Includes a copy of an article by Kruse, 'How to read the literary hoax of the century', together with draft reply by White.
Includes a pamphlet on Centennial Park.
Concerns naming of school, 'Mandala'.
Includes 2 cards hand-painted by Sidney Nolan and a photocopy typescript of an unpublished poem by White, 'Aspects of Mrs Fraser', dedicated to Sidney Nolan, together with several black and white Axel Poignant photographs of Nolan and White.
White stayed with and studied German with the Oertel family in Hanover during the 1930s.
Hilda Richardson was White's housekeeper at 13 Eccleston Street Victoria S.W. 1, London.
Includes black and white photograph of White and Sharman.
Includes typescript of 'VII sermones ad mortuos' by Carl Jung.
Includes black and white photographs, ephemera, and typescript copy of 'Knuckledusters: The jewels of Edith Sitwell', 1987, words by Kerry Walker, music by Nigel Butterley.
Includes photograph of White's father, from the Archives of The King's School (Sydney, NSW).
Over the course of his writing career, White kept a series of notebooks in which he recorded literary references and research notes which he used as background material for his writings. Several of the notebooks also include draft writings, including dialogues and character studies for White's literary works. Material relating to at least 11 of White's 12 novels (The tree of man (1955) appears to be the exception), 2 of White's dozen produced dramatic works and several short stories is contained in these notebooks.
Notebook, probably compiled while White was studying at the University of Cambridge, containing poems by Moreau, Hugo and other French writers, and handcopied into the volume by White in penShow all (150) Show only 1
Small quarto, upper cover missing, in pencil and ink. Begins as a commonplace book with quotes from Butler, Lawrence, Proust, La Rochefoucauld, Samuel Johnson, Webster, Rene [Crevel?], William James, Tagore, Cervantes, Thomas Browne, Gandhi, Schwietzer, Picasso, Malraux, Montaigne, Katherine Mansfield, Berkeley, Pirandello, Thoreau.
Includes handwritten notes, dialogues, research notes for plays: Miracle (1936), outline and characters; 'Marriages are made in Hell', outline and draft dialogue; 'Man alone', outline and characters; 'The island', outline; '[Pure?] [words?] - a novel'; 'Part 1, Australia'; 'Part 2, Europe'; 'Part 3, A period of hopelessness and chaos'; 'The man touching amber'; The aunt's story, outline; de Maistre family tree; 'It's a pity she is blind', characters and outline - Aunt Margaret, Rodney, Joan, Noella, and many lesser characters in scenes - 'Sunday afternoon at the manor', 'At the riding school...'; 'Kitty Raspaldo', characters - Chervil, Mrs Rogers, Bruno Hinschel; 'How many virgins', plot outline; 'The cosmopolitans', characters and plot outline.
Also includes notes and observations on Hedda Gabler and Emma Bovary; scraps of dialogue, list of names, rehearsals, showing transition from poet and stage writer to the extended observations of the novelist; notes for 'On the train'; quote for The living and the dead - '...you can't neglect the belly to feed the soul'; aphorisms; notes with page references to The living and the dead, (relating to an advanced draft, pp20-366); 'Oliver and Alys'; draft chapter for Happy Valley, summary, outline, numerically listed points 1-33, draft chapter; 'No more love', list of characters, names, draft timeline calculating dates and ages for characters, scene breakdown; 'Leichhardt', notes for Voss.Show all (186) Show only 1
Exercise book (56pp), ruled, handwritten in ink and pencil. Begins with war journal entries (January-May 1941), then notes relating to: 'The woman who knew best'; 'Three poems from the desert'; a list of the titles of nine stories, including 'The twitching colonel' (published 1937), 'Cocotte', 'Diddy Dumpkins', 'The book makers', 'Ridley's here', 'The hyena', 'There's nothing like chintz', 'Road's end' and 'Chambers'; 2 war lyrics; 'Sudan blues'; reference to the 'jardin exotique' in The aunt's story; Theadora Goodman; short story 'The Hoxton rose'; quotes from Olive Schreiner at end of volume.Show all (119) Show only 1
St George brand exercise book, handwritten in pencil and blue ink. Contains research and preparation for Voss - Leichhardt, diction, terms, phrases, details for follow-up, prospective names and parts; dialogue (notes evolving into a novel), comprising exchanges in draft developing key themes and character dispositions.
Also includes notes relating to: Riders in the chariot; notes in and from the German by Gershom Scholem on the Kabbalah; notes on Jewish thought and Hassidism (Alf Dubbo and Himmelfarb emerge on these pages); 'Brainstorm - What is love but a half hour with Liberace?'; Mitchell Library call slip for C.C. Petrie's Reminiscences of early Queensland, 9 October 1973, inserted; notes to background and historical detail for A fringe of leaves; timeline of records and events; notes on geography, topography and climate.Show all (123) Show only 1
Small exercise book with 'Groβe Fugel In B Flat Opus 133' [Beethoven] written on cover in White's hand; largely in pencil, some blue ink towards end of volume. Comprising research notes for Voss, principally relating to Leichhardt's 1846 expedition, including: timeline, 1846-1847; weather notes; copied map of Sydney, 1842; details of expedition supplies; notes on fashion; events; buildings; society; manners. Also includes bibliographic references and sources; 'Paddy O'Cock'; addresses and phone numbers in Athens and Alexandria.Show all (84) Show only 1
Medium-sized notebook with faux marbled cover; entries by White, principally in pen. Includes: notes for The solid mandala; timeline, 1892-1964; 'Death of Waldo'; 'Points to develop in Arthur's story'; corrections to a presumed advanced draft; dialogue for Mrs Poulter; 'The cockatoos' (published 1974); miscellaneous quotes; 'A woman's hand'; 'Dolly Formosa and the happy few'; The vivisector, with references to an advanced draft; 'Memoirs of one in many' [sic] (published as Memoirs of many in one); military notes relating to 'AFC' (Australian Flying Corps), 1915-1919; 'Hunger? or The full belly?'; 'The vivisectionists' [sic]; timeline, names of characters, possible epigraphs; notes on The eye of the storm; 'Within the eye' characters; cyclones; short dialogue between a King, a Queen and a Prime Minister.Show all (92) Show only 1
Swain's brand small exercise book; in characteristic broad nib, blue ink and pencil; also ballpoint in red and blue. Comprising: notes relating to A fringe of leaves, including description of Fraser Island and other Queensland locations; character notes on Ellen Roxburgh; 'For binoculars - Helen Nell'; '1836'; 'Barbara Thompson'; 'Brisbane in the thirties'; The Twyborn affair; Netherwood; Big toys; 'The faëry kingdom'; 'The monkey puzzle' (written c.1977), draft dialogue; notes on the history of Babylon; Netherwood, long dialogue; 'The empty chair', brief list of characters. Also a transcribed recipe for raw fish; with bibliographical references and Mitchell Library call slip (26 August 1981) included as inserts at end of volume.Show all (118) Show only 1
Spriax brand, foolscap. Comprising: first draft [?] handwritten manuscript in blue ballpoint with revision in red ballpoint of 'The last long weekend' radio play; family tree for 'Sir Benedict Moneypenny (Tug), Eleanor Clifton'; drafts of 'Four love songs', 'The park', 'The cat', 'The nun'; draft of 'III. My big American' radio play; notes beginning 'My memories of last Palm Sunday march...'.Show all (68) Show only 1
Foolscap torn-out sheets, 14pp, 14pp, 7pp. Comprising: 'Three [strikethrough] 2 love songs: The park, The cat, The nun [strikethrough]'; 'Memorial park'; 'I. The park'.Show all (68) Show only 1
Spirax brand, foolscap. Comprising 'Four [strikethrough] three (or four) love songs: The cat'.Show all (38) Show only 1
Papers relating to White's autobiography, Flaws in the glass: A self-portrait (1981), including an early manuscript draft with annotations and corrections, and four annotated typescript drafts. There is also a set of uncorrected printer's proofs, a letter from White to Tom Maschler at Jonathan Cape, 1981, with some explanatory notes and corrections by White, and a selection of prints of photographs used in the book.
Handwritten foolscap sections numbered I-VIII (48p each), each section numbered by White except for Section III, which lacks a section cover; various inks, principally blue ballpoints, with some revisions and deletions in red ballpoint; many surface excisions, substitutions and hesitations
Carbon copy typescript (260pp); some annotations in red ballpoint
Carbon copy typescript (260pp); some annotations in red ballpoint; identical to draft (1)
Typescript (260pp); half-spaced with some overtyping; many annotations, primarily in red ballpoint and some in blue ballpoint; grammatical and stylistic changes and reworking of sense and description
Carbon copy typescript (3pp + 256pp); including title page; some annotations in red ballpoint; handwritten page (verso of discarded sheet identified as p155) interleaved between pp161-162
Carbon copy typescript letter and notes from White to Tom Maschler (see Patrick White: Letters (1994), p542); 'Own choice of photographs for Flaws in the glass' carbon copy typescript by White; handwritten notes and comments by White, written on the verso of discarded typescript pages; prints of photographs (20) used in the book (also some duplicate prints)
One set of 'Author's spare set' photocopy page proofs (in two oblong clip-bound volumes) with minor late changes, including corrections indicated in the margin and a paragraph excised at p155
Drafts and draft material for novels and a novella by Patrick White. There are manuscripts drafts of his unpublished and apparently unfinished works: 'The binoculars and Helen Nell'; 'Dolly Formosa and the happy few' (later mentioned in Memoirs of many in one), and 'The hanging garden'. There are also typescript drafts and page proofs for his published novels The vivisector (1970), A fringe of leaves (1976) and Memoirs of many in one (1986).
Handwritten foolscap sections numbered 1-15; each section approximately 50pp; blue ink; working method evident, drafting process shown in much correction, revision and excision.
Handwritten in foolscap sections numbered I-II (46pp + 27pp); blue ink with some pencil annotations; progress of composition evident.
Approximately 60 sheets of typescript draft fragments, with many handwritten annotations in blue ballpoint and blue ink.
Carbon copy typescript draft (3pp + 219pp) on quarto onionskin. Minor typewritten corrections and handwritten corrections in blue ink. Draft appears to be in a late stage prior to typesetting.
Typescript draft photocopy (131pp, p132 not included), no annotations.
Typescript notes (2pp) on corrections to the text, with blue ballpoint annotations.
Photocopied page proofs marked 'Author's spare set'; minor corrections in blue ballpoint and red ballpoint.