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
2.7 metres (18 ms boxes)
Language of Materials
English
Repository
NLA
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 1975-1984

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

Uncompleted novel

File 2. For love alone - Box 1

Notes and jottings

File 3. The man who loved children - Box 1

Jottings

File 4. House of all nations - Box 1

Odd pages

File 5. The beauties and furies - Box 1

Fragments from early versions

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

Novella, early version

File 7. Letty Fox - Box 2

Notes and fragments from early versions

File 8. "Tales" - Box 2

Story topics and fragments

File 9. The people with the dogs - Box 2

Notes

File 10. Cotters' England - Box 2

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

File 11. Cotters' England - Box 2

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

File 12_14. Miss Herbert - Box 2

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

File 15_17. Miss Herbert - Box 3

A more recent corrected typescript with changed ending

File 18. "Eleanor", Miss Herbert - Box 3

Notes and fragments of early versions

File 19_20. "Fan Pearl" - Box 3

Notes, background material; sketches and other television projects

File 21. "Foxwarren Hall" - Box 3

Memoirs, 1958

File 22. "Foxwarren Hall" - Box 4

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

File 23. "Four just men" - Box 4

Rough version and suggestions for a T.V. series

File 24. "Women" - Box 4

Women's Movement letters, notes

File 25. "Doctor" - Box 4

Notes for a nouvelle

File 26. "Albania" - Box 4

Notes, sketches, fragments of a nouvelle

File 27. "Spanish" - Box 4

Handwritten passages

File 28. "Cards and cryptography" - Box 4

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

Parts of an early nouvelle

File 30. "Yiddish" - Box 5

Dialogue, notes and sketches

File 31. "The talking ghost" - Box 5

Fragments of stories and notes

File 32. Miscellaneous I - Box 5

File 33. Miscellaneous II - Box 5

File 34. Miscellaneous III - Box 5

File 35. Miscellaneous IV - Box 5

File 36. Miscellaneous V - Box 5

File 37. Miscellaneous VI - Box 5

File 38. Lydham, early Sydney, family - Box 6

File 39. Miscellaneous VII - Box 6

File 40. Miscellaneous VIII - Box 6

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

File 41. Miscellaneous IX - Box 6

File 42. Miscellaneous X - Box 6

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

File 44. "Marionettes I" - Box 6

Nello

File 45. "Marionettes II" - Box 6

Jan Callowjan

File 46_47. "On Literature I" - Box 7

File 48_49. "On Literature II" - Box 7

File 50_51. Letters - Box 7

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

File 53. "On Virginia Woolf" - Box 7

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

File 55. "On Stanley Burnshaw" - Box 8

File 56. Stanley Burnshaw - Box 8

"Caged in an Animal's Mind"

File 57. Stanley Burnshaw - Box 8

Poems

File 57. Stanley Burnshaw - Box 8

"The Hero of Silence"

File 58. Stanley Burnshaw - Box 8

"Uriel Da Costa"

File 59. Ettore Rella - Box 8

"American Portifolio" With comments

File 60. Ettore Rella - Box 8

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

File 61. Vietnam - Box 8

Printed matter

File 62. "Women in Love" - Box 8

Sapphire Films

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

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

File 64. John Bright - Box 9

City of Angels

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

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

File 66. Jorge Ibarguengoitia - Box 9

"The Dead Girls"

File 67_68. Elaine Kraf - Box 9

"The House of Madelaine"

File 69. John Bright - Box 9

"The Paper World"

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

Class. Addition 10 October 1986

This addition described by Marlene Bonny, 13 March 1987.

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

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

File 73_78. Early versions of material published in Ocean of Story - Box 10

File 79. Unpublished articles and notes - Box 11

File 80_83. Book reviews - Box 11

File 84. Workshop in the novel - Box 11

File 85_86. I'm dying laughing - background material - Box 11

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

File 88_94. I'm dying laughing - early versions - Box 12

File 95_99. I'm dying laughing - early versions - Box 13

File 100_102. I'm dying laughing - final draft - Box 13

File 103_107. I'm dying laughing - final draft : Le Grand VĂ©four - menu - Box 14

Class. Addition 9 September 1988

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

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

Includes poems by Rosten sent to Stead.

Class. Addition 7 June 1991

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

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

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

File 113. Miscellaneous typescripts - Box 15

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

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

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

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

File 117. Poems by Ettore Rella - Box 15

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

File 119_120. Correspondence with William Blake, 1929-68 - Box 16

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

Added 23 June 1975

Class. Addition October 1993

File 121_123. Correspondence of Christina Stead and William Blake, 1930-81 - Box 17

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

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

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

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

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

File 127_128. Correspondence with Cyrilly Abels, 1965-75 - Box 17

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

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

File 131. Correspondence between Christina Stead and William Blake - Box 18

Class. Addition 28 January 1999

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

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

Class. Addition 16 July 1999

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

Class. Addition 3 August 1999

Item [unnumbered]. Wooden plaque given to Christina Stead as a book prize - Box 18

Class. Addition 7 December 1999

File 135. Copies of two family photographs - Box 18

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.