Guide to the Papers of Christina Stead

MS 4967

National Library of Australia

Collection Summary

Title
Papers of Christina Stead
Date Range
1929-1996
Collection Number
MS 4967
Extent
3 metres (20 boxes)
Language of Materials
English
Repository
National Library of Australia
Sponsor
This finding aid was revised and published with the assistance of the Ray Mathew and Eva Kollsman Trust.

Introduction

Scope and Contents

Manuscript and typescript drafts of prose; notes, background material and jottings relating to Stead's literary output; correspondence with Philip Harvey, Norman Rosten, Ettore Rella, William Blake, Cyrilly Abels, Stanley Burnshaw and others; diaries, reviews, photographs and other papers. The collection also includes literary drafts of other writers including Ettore Rella, Mary Sarton, George Baxt, John Bright, Oliver Stallybrass, E. Louise Mally, Jorge Ibarguengoitia, Elaine Kraf, Norman Rosten and Stanley Burnshaw.

Conditions Governing Access

Available for research.

Provenance

The Stead Papers were acquired in ten consignments between 1975 and 1999, mainly from Stead's literary executor, Professor Ron Geering.

Correspondence and other papers relating to Christina Stead are also held other Manuscript Collection including MS 802 (H.C. Coombs, box 49, folder 377); MS 7168 (Jack Lindsay), MS 7228 (Ettore Rella), MS 7306, MS 7570 (W.H. Pearson), MS 7666, MS 7840 (Donald A. Cameron), MS 8317, MS 8477, MS 8548 (Laurence Pollinger), MS 8617, MS 8645, MS 9244 (Hazel Rowley), MS 9351 (R.G. Geering) and MS 9405 (Edith Anderson).

Biographical Note

Christina Ellen Stead was born in Sydney on 17 July 1902, the daughter of the naturalist David Stead. She was educated at Bexley Public School, St. George High School (Kogarah), Sydney Girls' School and Sydney Teachers' College, where she graduated in 1921. Stead worked as a teacher until 1924 and in office work until her departure from Australia in 1928. Stead lived most of her life abroad, mainly in London (1928-1929 and 1953-1968) and Paris (1929-1933), where she worked as a secretary and translator and in the United States of America, (1935-1947).

During the 1930s Stead began writing novels. The Salzburg tales and Seven poor men of Sydney were published in 1934 and her highly praised novel The man who loved children appeared in 1940. Despite critical acclaim she did not win a more general following in Australia until the mid 1960s. After the death of her partner William Blake, Stead returned briefly to Australia in 1969 as writer-in-residence at the Australian National University. In 1974 she returned permanently to Australia, receiving the inaugural Patrick White Award in the same year.

Stead died in Sydney on 31 March 1983.

Item Descriptions

Class. Papers Received 31 October 1984 Show allonly 1

File 1. "More lives than one" - Box 1 Show allonly 1

Uncompleted novel

File 2. For love alone - Box 1 Show allonly 1

Notes and jottings

File 3. The man who loved children - Box 1 Show allonly 1

Jottings

File 4. House of all nations - Box 1 Show allonly 1

Odd pages

File 5. The beauties and furies - Box 1 Show allonly 1

Fragments from early versions

File 6. "The right-angled creek" - Box 1 Show allonly 1

Novella, early version

File 7. Letty Fox - Box 2 Show allonly 1

Notes and fragments from early versions

File 8. "Tales" - Box 2 Show allonly 1

Story topics and fragments

File 9. The people with the dogs - Box 2 Show allonly 1

Notes

File 10. Cotters' England - Box 2 Show allonly 1

Early versions, fragments : "Branch line: the northern engineer"

File 11. Cotters' England - Box 2 Show allonly 1

Notes and parts of early version : "Brother and sister"

File 12-14. Miss Herbert - Box 2 Show allonly 1

Corrected typescript (early), slightly different final paragraph from that in the book

File 15-17. Miss Herbert - Box 3 Show allonly 1

A more recent corrected typescript with changed ending

File 18. "Eleanor", Miss Herbert - Box 3 Show allonly 1

Notes and fragments of early versions

File 19-20. "Fan Pearl" - Box 3 Show allonly 1

Notes, background material; sketches and other television projects

File 21. "Foxwarren Hall" - Box 3 Show allonly 1

Memoirs, 1958

File 22. "Foxwarren Hall" - Box 4 Show allonly 1

Memoirs, 1959-60 (?). See also Folder 22a in Box 16.

File 23. "Four just men" - Box 4 Show allonly 1

Rough version and suggestions for a T.V. series

File 24. "Women" - Box 4 Show allonly 1

Women's Movement letters, notes

File 25. "Doctor" - Box 4 Show allonly 1

Notes for a nouvelle

File 26. "Albania" - Box 4 Show allonly 1

Notes, sketches, fragments of a nouvelle

File 27. "Spanish" - Box 4 Show allonly 1

Handwritten passages

File 28. "Cards and cryptography" - Box 4 Show allonly 1

File 29. "The student lovers part 2: The student of Naples" - Box 4 Show allonly 1

Parts of an early nouvelle

File 30. "Yiddish" - Box 5 Show allonly 1

Dialogue, notes and sketches

File 31. "The talking ghost" - Box 5 Show allonly 1

Fragments of stories and notes

File 32. Miscellaneous I - Box 5 Show allonly 1

File 33. Miscellaneous II - Box 5 Show allonly 1

File 34. Miscellaneous III - Box 5 Show allonly 1

File 35. Miscellaneous IV - Box 5 Show allonly 1

File 36. Miscellaneous V - Box 5 Show allonly 1

File 37. Miscellaneous VI - Box 5 Show allonly 1

File 38. Lydham, early Sydney, family - Box 6 Show allonly 1

File 39. Miscellaneous VII - Box 6 Show allonly 1

File 40. Miscellaneous VIII - Box 6 Show allonly 1

Early fragments, "The Wraith and the Wanderer", Verse, "Under Capricorn"

File 41. Miscellaneous IX - Box 6 Show allonly 1

File 42. Miscellaneous X - Box 6 Show allonly 1

File 43. "The traveller's bed and breakfast", St Prex - Box 6 Show allonly 1

File 44. "Marionettes I" - Box 6 Show allonly 1

Nello

File 45. "Marionettes II" - Box 6 Show allonly 1

Jan Callowjan

File 46-47. "On Literature I" - Box 7 Show allonly 1

File 48-49. "On Literature II" - Box 7 Show allonly 1

File 50-51. Letters - Box 7 Show allonly 1

File 52. 'Answers to Questionnaire' : (a) International Association of Writers for the Defence of Culture, 1937 : (b) Interview by Jonah Raskin - Box 7 Show allonly 1

File 53. "On Virginia Woolf" - Box 7 Show allonly 1

File 54. "On David Smith's Medals for Dishonour" - Box 7 Show allonly 1

File 55. "On Stanley Burnshaw" - Box 8 Show allonly 1

File 56. Stanley Burnshaw - Box 8 Show allonly 1

"Caged in an Animal's Mind"

File 57. Stanley Burnshaw - Box 8 Show allonly 1

Poems

File 57. Stanley Burnshaw - Box 8 Show allonly 1

"The Hero of Silence"

File 58. Stanley Burnshaw - Box 8 Show allonly 1

"Uriel Da Costa"

File 59. Ettore Rella - Box 8 Show allonly 1

"American Portifolio" With comments

File 60. Ettore Rella - Box 8 Show allonly 1

(i) "Smiley the Guru" With comments : (ii) "The Real Imitation"

File 61. Vietnam - Box 8 Show allonly 1

Printed matter

File 62. "Women in Love" - Box 8 Show allonly 1

Sapphire Films

File 63. (i) Mary Sarton. (ii) George Baxt - Box 9 Show allonly 1

"The Leopard Land". "The Curse of the Golem". Original story and screenplay, 1958

File 64. John Bright - Box 9 Show allonly 1

City of Angels

File 65. (i) Oliver Stallybrass. (ii) E. Louise Mally - Box 9 Show allonly 1

"I. 2 Track Mind". "The Hunter of Kentucky"

File 66. Jorge Ibarguengoitia - Box 9 Show allonly 1

"The Dead Girls"

File 67-68. Elaine Kraf - Box 9 Show allonly 1

"The House of Madelaine"

File 69. John Bright - Box 9 Show allonly 1

"The Paper World"

File 70. American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, 1981-83 - Box 9 Show allonly 1

Class. Addition 10 October 1986 Show allonly 1

This addition described by Marlene Bonny, 13 March 1987.

File 71. Correspondence from Philip Harvey, 1961-1980 - Box 10 Show allonly 1

File 72. Correspondence from Stead to Philip and Leah Harvey, 1968-1984 - Box 10 Show allonly 1

File 73-78. Early versions of material published in Ocean of Story - Box 10 Show allonly 1

File 79. Unpublished articles and notes - Box 11 Show allonly 1

File 80-83. Book reviews - Box 11 Show allonly 1

File 84. Workshop in the novel - Box 11 Show allonly 1

File 85-86. I'm dying laughing - background material - Box 11 Show allonly 1

File 87. I'm dying laughing - notes and background material - Box 12 Show allonly 1

File 88-94. I'm dying laughing - early versions - Box 12 Show allonly 1

File 95-99. I'm dying laughing - early versions - Box 13 Show allonly 1

File 100-102. I'm dying laughing - final draft - Box 13 Show allonly 1

File 103-107. I'm dying laughing - final draft : Le Grand VĂ©four - menu - Box 14 Show allonly 1

Class. Addition 9 September 1988 Show allonly 1

File 108. Three typescripts (n.d.): "Extracts from a Spanish diary" (2 p.), "Notes on character observation" (2 p.), "Clarification of the plot - how to approach and write the great scene" (2 p.) : Unfinished stories in typescript (no dates but some appear circa early 1940s): "The bearded lady" "Lafe Tilley's haunted house" "Haunted cars" "The talking ghost" "George eccentricities" "MM's ghost" - Box 14 Show allonly 1

File 109. Correspondence between Christina Stead and Norman Rosten, 1967-82 - Box 14 Show allonly 1

Includes poems by Rosten sent to Stead.

Class. Addition 7 June 1991 Show allonly 1

File 110. Diary "First days of a modern Monte Christo", Belgium, August - October 1936 - Box 15 Show allonly 1

File 111. Diary "The travellers' bed and breakfast", Switzerland and France, September 1950 - April 1951 - Box 15 Show allonly 1

File 112. Diaries, Paris, United States, Spain, Belgium, London, 1929-40 - Box 15 Show allonly 1

File 113. Miscellaneous typescripts - Box 15 Show allonly 1

Item 1. "The 36 classic dramatic situations" Show allonly 1
Item 2. "Bookbinding ateliers of Paris" Show allonly 1
Item 3. "A few points" Show allonly 1
Item 4. "Decline of the bourgeois audience in England" Show allonly 1
Item 5. "Overland" - fragments on childhood, voyage to Europe Show allonly 1
Item 6. "Why I am an expatriate" - fragments of various versions Show allonly 1
Item 7. "Obsession" Show allonly 1
Item 8. "Workers and writers" Show allonly 1
Item 9. "Terror in La Ciudad Imbecila" Show allonly 1
Item 10. "Reverberations from Spain" Show allonly 1
Item 11. "Guns along the Bidasoa" Show allonly 1
Item 12. Virginia Woolf - Quentin Bell Show allonly 1
Item 13. "Senor Armino" - notes on The Man Who Loved Children Show allonly 1
Item 14. "Notes on Letty Fox and Teresa" Show allonly 1
Item 15. "Notes on Jack Brame and family" Show allonly 1
Item 16. "Love affairs" - Letty Fox and For Love Alone Show allonly 1
Item 17. "The Fausts" Show allonly 1
Item 18. Journal of "The Blackmailer" Show allonly 1
Item 19. "From a radio interview" Show allonly 1
Item 20. "The doctor and Vietnam" Show allonly 1

File 114. Photocopies of letters of Harry Bloom, 1949-74 - Box 15 Show allonly 1

File 115. Letters of Ettore and Jessie Rella, 1944-82 - Box 15 Show allonly 1

File 116. Stead's letters to Ettore Rella, 1967-82 - Box 15 Show allonly 1

File 117. Poems by Ettore Rella - Box 15 Show allonly 1

File 118. Correspondence with Philip Harvey, 1958-78 - Box 15 Show allonly 1

File 119-120. Correspondence with William Blake, 1929-68 - Box 16 Show allonly 1

File 22a. Record of life at Foxwarren, 1959-60 - Box 16 Show allonly 1

Added 23 June 1975

Class. Addition October 1993 Show allonly 1

File 121-123. Correspondence of Christina Stead and William Blake, 1930-81 - Box 17 Show allonly 1

Correspondents include Eldon Branda, Richard Kopely, Aida Kotlarsky, Nadine Mendelson, W.H. Pearson, Norman Rosten, Eva Schumann, Catherine Stead, Gilbert Stead, Philip Van Doren Stern, Neil Stewart, Gwen Walker-Smith, Hyren and Judah Waten and Asa Zatz.

Class. Addition 6 February 1996 Show allonly 1

This addition consists mainly of correspondence with Christina Stead and her husband, William Blake, and a folder of portrait photographs 1930-82.

File 124. Correspondence of Christina Stead, 1957-82 - Box 17 Show allonly 1

Correspondents include Dymphna Cusack, A.D. Hope, Hal Porter and Patrick White.

File 125. Correspondence of Christina Stead and William Blake, 1946-73 - Box 17 Show allonly 1

Correspondents include H. Grossman, Dymphna Cusack, Tella Friedmann, Stanley Burnshaw and Oliver Stallybrass.

File 126. Miscellaneous typescripts including some correspondence, 1933-77 - Box 17 Show allonly 1

File 127-128. Correspondence with Cyrilly Abels, 1965-75 - Box 17 Show allonly 1

File 129. Condolences to Christina Stead on the death of her husband, William Blake, 1968 - Box 18 Show allonly 1

File 130. Portrait photographs, mainly of Christina Stead and William Blake, c.1930-80 - Box 18 Show allonly 1

File 131. Correspondence between Christina Stead and William Blake - Box 19 Show allonly 1

Class. Addition 28 January 1999 Show allonly 1

File 132. Photocopies of Christina Stead's letters to Stanley Burnshaw, 1937-69 - Box 18 Show allonly 1

File 133. Photocopies of Christina Stead's letters to Stanley Burnshaw and others, 1965-82 - Box 18 Show allonly 1

Class. Addition 16 July 1999 Show allonly 1

File 134. Photograph of the family farewell to Christina Stead, at Hopetoun Avenue, Chatswood, March 1928, before Stead left for England - Box 18 Show allonly 1

Class. Addition 3 August 1999 Show allonly 1

Item [unnumbered]. Wooden plaque given to Christina Stead as a book prize - Box 20 Show allonly 1

Class. Addition 7 December 1999 Show allonly 1

File 135. Copies of two family photographs - Box 20 Show allonly 1

The first was taken at a family welcome home in 1919 for Stead's cousin Sidney Stead, and includes both Stead and her father. The second is of Stead's half siblings, taken on the waterfront at 'Boongarre' in 1919.