National Library of Australia
Drafts, including manuscripts, of Neils Lyhne, The young Cosima, Myself When Young, The End of a Childhood & Ultima Thule. Original typescript versions of: Maurice Guest, The Getting of Wisdom, & Myself When Young. Final copies of: Maurice Guest, The Getting of Wisdom, The Fortunes of Richard Mahony & The Young Cosima. Notes & photos for The Fortunes of Richard Mahony. Letters to writer Oliver Stonor 1929-1946, copies of 50 letters 1931-1933 to Jacob Schwartz & photocopies of letters 1911-1946, to Mary Kernot. (Many of the original handwritten drafts of her works were destroyed in Henry Handel Richardson's lifetime). Original manuscript music scores by Richardson; correspondence with Paul Solanges 1910-1914 & notes on his translation of 'Maurice Guest'; albums of newspaper cuttings; editions of her books and books used by her in researching 'The young Cosima'. Also, a copy of a record, (1953) of Walter Lindesay Richardson MD at the Yarra Bend Asylum 1878-1879.
Available for research. Since May 1986 the original manuscripts of MS 133 have been withdrawn from use and readers are asked to use the microfilm copies in the Main Reading Room. A list of these films (mfm G 22,962 - 22, 993) is attached to this finding aid as Appendix 3. Microfilms can be ordered by reel number via their catalogue record at https://nla.gov.au/nla.cat-vn567873
Items from this collection should be cited as '[Title or description of manuscript item], Papers of Henry Handel Richarson, National Library of Australia, MS 133, [series/item number]'.
The original collection of Richardson Papers was purchased from Miss Olga Roncoroni, the executrix of Richardson's will, in 1946 and consisted of the typescripts of most of her books, as well as the notes that she compiled when doing the research for The fortunes of Richard Mahony. In 1971 a major consignment of papers was purchased from Richardson's nephew, Dr Walter Neustatter of London. It comprised correspondence, notebooks, photographs and other items relating to Richardson's parents. In 1972 another large group of papers was presented by Miss Olga Roncoroni. It contained personal papers and documents belonging to Richardson, diaries, letters, articles, and material collected by Richardson when writing The young Cosima.
Between 1946 and 1971 additional Richardson Papers were received from a number of sources. They include letters from Richardson to Oliver Stonor, 1929-1946; typed copies of letters from Richardson to Jacob Schwartz, 1931-1933; and photographic prints of letters from Richardson to Mary Kernot, 1911-1946, the originals of which are held by the Mitchell Library. Papers relating to Richardson's husband, Professor J.G. Robertson, include his biographical notes about Richardson, photocopies of lectures, and galley proofs of a book. The letters from Richardson to Mary Kernot were closed until 20 March 1996.
In 1983, the Library received Richardson's correspondence with Paul Solanges, 1910-1914, about his translation of Maurice Guest, and notes on the translation, as well as diaries and albums of newspaper cuttings maintained by Richardson and her heirs, and a number of editions of Richardson's books. In 1993, the Library acquired from the University of Tasmania the collection of books used by Richardson in researching her book The young Cosima.
In 1996, 44 letters to Richardson from her sister Lilian were acquired from the latter's granddaughter, along with two letters from Walter Neustatter and additional photographs.
In 2001, original manuscript scores of music composed by Richardson donated under the Cultural Gifts Program by Professor Clive Probyn and Dr Bruce Steele. They in turn had acquired them from Margaret Capon as part of the Monash University Henry Handel Richardson Project in 1996. The music was used for the publications Henry Handel Richardson: the music and Songs of Henry Handel Richardson, both of which were edited by Bruce Steele and Richard Divall and published in 2000.
Other related collections of Richardson material held in the Library are as follows:
MS 1174 Papers of Vance and Nettie Palmer
MS 3871 Letters from Richardson to Mrs Hilary Eves
MS 5156 Letters from Richardson to Raymond Toole Stott
MS 5199 Letters from Richardson to Edna Purdie
MS 5678 Papers of Dorothy Green
MS 5770 Letters from Richardson to Norah Hoult
MS 6584 Letters from Richardson to Mary McHugh
MS 7519 Letters from Richardson to Harold Kamp
MS 7870 Letters from Richardson to Edna Purdie, Lucie Daye and Harry Price
MS 8705 Letter from Richardson to Guy Innes
TRC 54 Oral History recording of Arnold Gyde, Olga Roncoroni and Walter Neustatter, speaking about Richardson at a symposium held in Australia House, London, 11 May 1953 (edited highlights, broadcast by the ABC about December 1953; 27 minutes).
Ethel Florence Lindesay Richardson was born in East Melbourne on 3 January 1870, the daughter of Dr Walter Lindesay Richardson and Mary née Bailey. She was educated at the Presbyterian Ladies' College in Melbourne. In 1888 she left Australia with her mother and sister and in 1889 began to study music at the Königliches Conservatorium der Musik in Leipzig with the intention of becoming a professional pianist. Richardson received her certificate from the Conservatorium in 1892 but decided to concentrate on writing rather than music.
On 30 December 1895 Richardson was married in Dublin to J. George Robertson, who was at that time studying literature in Leipzig. They lived in Munich and then Strasbourg before settling in London in 1904, Robertson having taken up the position of Professor of German Language and Literature at the University of London in 1903. He held this post until his death in 1933. In 1934 Richardson moved from London to Sussex, where she spent the rest of her life.
Richardson's first novel, Maurice Guest, based on her experiences as a music student in Germany, was published in 1908. It was at this time that she decided to take the pen-name of Henry Handel Richardson. Her second novel, The getting of wisdom, was published in 1910 and was to a certain extent autobiographical, being based on her experiences as a pupil at the Presbyterian Ladies' College, Melbourne. The writing of her greatest work, The fortunes of Richard Mahony, occupied most of Richardson's time during the next twenty years. It dealt with the fortunes of an Irish doctor who emigrated to Victoria in the early 1850s and it followed closely the facts of her father's life. To gather material for the novels, Richardson and her husband visited Australia for a few months in 1912, the only time she returned to Australia. The work was a trilogy, with Australia Felix appearing in 1917, The way home in 1925, and Ultima Thule in 1929. The three novels were published together in 1930. With the completion of the trilogy, Richardson was accorded critical and popular acclaim; the publication of her earlier novels had attracted little interest.
In 1931 appeared Two studies, a limited edition containing the two stories Mary Christina and Life and death of Peterle Luthy, followed in 1934 by the publication of The end of a childhood and other stories. Richardson's last novel, The young Cosima, based on the life of Cosima Liszt, was published in 1939. In the same year she began writing her autobiography, Myself when young, in which she intended to recount the story of her life up to 1903. This work, left unfinished at her death on 20 March 1946, was published in 1948, with a final section on the years 1895 to 1903 written by her secretary Olga Roncoroni.
Buckley, Vincent. Henry Handel Richardson. Second Edition. Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1970.
Clark, Axel. Henry Handel Richardson: fiction in the making. Brookvale, NSW: Simon and Schuster, 1990.
Green, Dorothy. Henry Handel Richardson and her fiction. Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1986.
Howells, Gay, compiler. Henry Handel Richardson: a bibliography to honour the centenary of her birth. Canberra: National Library of Australia, 1970.
Kramer, Leonie. Henry Handel Richardson. Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1967.
Palmer, Nettie. Henry Handel Richardson: a study. Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1950.
Purdie, Edna and Roncoroni, Olga, editors. Henry Handel Richardson: some personal impressions. Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1957.
Richardson, Henry Handel. Myself when young; together with an essay on the art of Henry Handel Richardson by J.G. Robertson. Melbourne: Heinemann, 1948.
This series contains material relating to Henry Handel Richardson's parents, Walter Lindesay Richardson and Mary Richardson (née Bailey). It includes correspondence between Walter and Mary Richardson (1854-1877), letters from Lucinda Cheyne, Walter Richardson's mother, to Walter and Mary Richardson and his sister Lucinda (1857-1863), letters from Elizabeth Bailey, Mary Richardson's mother, to Walter and Mary Richardson (1868-1869), and letters to Walter Richardson from patients and friends.
There is a scrapbook containing newspaper cuttings, engravings and lithographs, Walter Richardson's goldmining licence, handwritten notes, and photographs of Melbourne and of members of the Richardson Family. A handwritten article by Richardson about Ballarat, a diary that he kept on his voyage out to Australia in 1852, and diaries kept by Mary Richardson on a voyage to Australia in 1874 and to England in 1888 are also included.
Some papers relate to Walter Richardson's medical career: his register of midwifery cases (1851-1868), four articles for Australian medical journals, and his Doctor of Medicine certificate from the University of Melbourne. Walter Richardson's two notebooks contain a few newspaper cuttings, a few autobiographical notes, accounts of seances, handwritten copies of articles, and quotations about medical subjects, Swedenborg, various aspects of spiritualism, theology and Christianity, and other topics. Also included in the series is an account book belonging to Walter Richardson, the Richardson family tree, and Walter Richardson's will. Only non-correspondence items are listed below.
For correspondence, see Appendix 1, Name Index to Correspondence. An abstract of the correspondence in this series (without item numbering) is available on request.
NB repeated use of item no. 123.
(Photocopy held at 271a).
probated 2 October 1879
(Photographic copy held at 274a).
The series contains a small amount of family correspondence and the letters that Richardson wrote to Oliver Stonor and Jacob Schwartz. There are two letters written by Richardson as a child; correspondence between Richardson and her mother (1896); correspondence between Richardson and her sister Lilian (1896-1911, 1942); and letters from her husband, George Robertson, to members of his family (1895-1912). Some later correspondence is concerned with a threatened libel action against Richardson over a statement in the first edition of The fortunes of Richard Mahony about the newspaper The Ballarat star (1917-18). Letters and postcards from Richardson to Oliver Stonor cover the period 1929 to 1946 and deal with such subjects as Richardson's novels and the criticisms they received, the writing of The young Cosima, and various aspects of literature. Richardson's letters to Jacob Schwartz, of which there are typed copies, mainly discuss the publication of her Two studies and Christkindleins Wiegenlied (1931-1933). Also included in the series is correspondence between Olga Roncoroni and St. John Ervine, about the publication of Myself when young and various broadcasts about Richardson (1947-1949), and correspondence between Miss Roncoroni and George Ivan Smith, concerning the sale of Richardson's papers to the Australian government (1946-1947). There are also a few letters from admirers of Richardson's work, including a letter from H.G. Wells to Richardson concerning The getting of wisdom, and a copy of a letter from T.E. Lawrence to Jacob Schwartz, discussing Two studies.
The letters from Richardson to Mary Kernot, a school friend from the Presbyterian Ladies' College, Melbourne, date from 1911, shortly after the publication of The getting of wisdom, to 1946, the year of Richardson's death. The letters were closed until 1996. These are photographic copies only (originals held in the Mitchell Library, Sydney, at ZML MSS 45). The Mitchell Library also holds the letters from Mary Kernot to Richardson (ZML MSS 325), a microfilm of which is available on interlibrary loan.
There are also a few letters by Mary Mitchell, Nettie Palmer and Olga Roncoroni in this series. For more details, refer to Appendix 1, Name Index to Correspondence.
Handwritten final draft of Richardson's translation of Niels Lyhne by the Danish novelist J.P. Jacobsen. The series also contains a preface by Richardson which was omitted when the translation was published in 1896 by Heinemann under the title Siren Voices.
Two typed drafts with handwritten corrections and alterations. One is the final draft of the novel, the other is an earlier draft with many sections crossed out.
Two typed drafts with handwritten corrections and alterations. One is the final draft with only a few alterations. The earlier draft has four title pages, each with a different title. (None of the titles was used in the published work.)
Typed final drafts with handwritten alterations of Australia Felix, The way home and Ultima Thule. The title page for the draft of Australia Felix bears the title The fortunes of Richard Mahony, under which the novel was first published in 1917. There is also a proof copy of the 1930 Norton edition of The way home and three pages of an early handwritten draft of Ultima Thule. The series contains some of the papers that Richardson wrote or collected when she was engaged on the historical research that preceded the writing of the novel. There are four notebooks containing handwritten notes made from the writings of William Westgarth, William Howitt and William Kelly, and other works about Australia, and in particular, Victoria, in the second half of the nineteenth century; an index to these notes, handwritten notes about Lister's life and developments in medicine in the nineteenth century; typed notes made during Richardson's visit to Australia in 1912 recording her impressions of the country and information she collected; a map of Melbourne in 1888 and a large photograph of Ballarat.
A handwritten early draft (in pencil) of The young Cosima and the typed final draft of the novel with minor handwritten corrections and alterations comprise the two drafts of this novel. The material used by Richardson in writing this novel includes two notebooks containing handwritten notes on Franz Liszt's letters, two notebooks and other handwritten notes on Liszt, Cosima Liszt, Hans von Bülow and Richard Wagner. Also included are cuttings from newspapers and periodicals dealing with Wagner and Liszt, pamphlets about Wagner and the Richard Wagner Museum at Tribschen, Lucerne, and postcards and photographs of Starnberg, the Richard Wagner Museum at Tribschen, and Cosima and Richard Wagner. See Series 15 for the books used by Richardson in researching this work.
Drafts of most of Richardson's short stories are contained in this series. There is a typed final draft with a few handwritten alterations of the story 'Death', the title of which was later changed to 'Mary Christina'. There is also a typed German translation of this story with handwritten alterations and a newspaper cutting from the Swedish newspaper Nya dagligt allehanda (13 September 1931) containing a Swedish translation of the story, entitled 'Döden'. A handwritten draft of 'The bath: an aquarelle' is signed by Richardson, as are typed final drafts of 'Three in a row', 'Conversation in a pantry', 'Two hanged women', and 'Mary Christina'. All these drafts have handwritten alterations and there is a second typed draft of 'Two hanged women', which is a near final draft.
As well as a handwritten draft of the story 'The end of a childhood', the series contains the typed final draft with a few handwritten corrections of the book of short stories entitled The end of a childhood and other stories which contains the following stories: 'The end of a childhood', 'The bathe: a grotesque', 'Three in a row', 'Preliminary canter', 'Conversation in a pantry', 'The bath: an aquarelle', 'The wrong turning', 'And women must weep', 'Two hanged women', 'Life and death of Peterle Luthy', 'The professor's experiment', 'Succedaneum', and 'Mary Christina'.
This series consists of articles by Richardson as well as articles about her and her work. Typed final drafts with handwritten alterations of 'The magic of the new concert room' and 'Cosima Wagner as daughter and wife' are both signed by Richardson. The title of the latter article was changed to 'The story of Wagner and von Bülow - and the woman behind the music', when published in the Radio times, 29 August 1930. Articles Richardson wrote about her work include a typed draft with handwritten alterations of 'My favourite among my books' and typed final drafts with handwritten alterations of articles entitled 'Some notes on my books', which discuss the writing of most of her novels and short stories. The series also includes a short autobiographical article by Richardson. Professor J.G. Robertson's critical essay, 'The art of Henry Handel Richardson', a typed copy of an article about Richardson's work by S.B. Liljegren, and a handwritten copy of criticism of Richardson's work by Henry Lüdeke comprise the articles of literary criticism in this series. A typed draft of an article by Louise Theis written after an interview with Richardson has handwritten alterations and corrections by Richardson on it and is entitled 'How writers work: Henry Handel Richardson'. Other articles in the series include a review of Myself when young by Guy Innes, and two articles by Olga Roncoroni, one describing a certain morning in the life of Richardson and the other discussing Roncoroni's impressions of the film Rhapsody (1954), which was based on the novel Maurice Guest.
Richardson wrote the music of several songs, the words of which were written by Thomas Hardy, Laurence Hope and other English and German poets. Photocopies of the scores of some of these songs were received in 1973.
The Library's music collection holds better photocopies of a number of these and other scores by Richardson at MUS N mba 783.2 R522. The titles of these songs are: 'There was an old New England cat'; 'Regret not me'; 'Wenn du zu meinem Schätzel kommst'; 'Lied des armen Narren'; 'Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf'; 'Christkindlein's Wiegenlied'; 'Unter der Linde'; 'Hoch verehr'ich'; 'Genügen'; 'Reisespruch'; 'Tryste Noel'; 'Come away, death'; 'So we'll go no more a-roving'; 'The King's men'.
This series also contains two manuscript scores received from Richardson's literary executrix in 1994, and manuscript translations of German carols, discovered in a 1917 edition of The fortunes of Richard Mahony in Illinois in 1993.
In 2001, original manuscript scores of many of Richardson's works were acquired by the Library and have been added to this series. Items 87-154 refer.
Most of the material in this series was received in 1973, with a further acquisition of Richardson's later diaries in 1983.
Richardson kept diaries for the years 1897-1902, 1916, 1931-46, and there are also diaries covering particular events, such as Mary Richardson's final illness in 1896, and Richardson's trip to Norway in 1911, as well as notebooks referring to certain events in the period 1940 to 1944.
Material in this series relating to Richardson's early years includes programmes for the annual concerts, 1885 and 1886, of the Presbyterian Ladies' College, Melbourne, at which Richardson performed, a diary she kept in 1887 and 1888, Mary Richardson's steamship ticket when she and her two daughters left Australia in 1888, the programme for the main examination at the Königliches Conservatorium der Musik at Leipzig, March 1892, and Richardson's certificate from the Conservatorium, dated April 1892. Official documents consist of Richardson's notice of marriage and death certificates. Richardson's address book, her first housekeeping book and some short pieces of prose written in 1896 and 1897 are included in this series. Finally there are two medals awarded to Richardson for her work: the Australian Literature Society medal for the best Australian novel, 1929 (Ultima Thule), and the King George V Silver Jubilee Medal, 1935.
A handwritten draft and the typed final draft with handwritten alterations of Richardson's autobiographical work Myself when young form the main part of this series. The final draft also includes a typescript of Edna Purdie's foreword to the book, and the section 1895-1903, written by Olga Roncoroni. George Robertson's handwritten and typed notes which he made with the intention of writing a biography of Richardson are also included in this series. Handwritten autobiographical notes by Richardson cover the period 1870 to 1933, with some gaps having been filled in by Olga Roncoroni, who also prepared lists containing dates and facts relating to Richardson's life, which she used at a symposium held in London in 1953.
Included in this series are John Robertson's diary for 1896, handwritten notes on various subjects including The fortunes of Richard Mahony, his Doctor of Philosophy certificate from Leipzig University, letters relating to his Order of St. Olav insignia and a page giving brief biographical details about him. As examples of his work in the field of German literature, there are photocopies of ten lectures he gave in 1933 on the theme of Wagner as a poet and a thinker, and the proofs of the third edition of his A history of German literature. This edition of his work was published in 1959 and was revised and enlarged from Professor Robertson's second edition of 1931 by Edna Purdie.
The series contains photographs of Richardson dating from her childhood up to 1930, as well as photographs of her parents, her grandmother Elizabeth Bailey, her sister Lilian, her husband, and her nephew Walter Neustatter. Also included are photographs of a memorial plaque at 90 Regent's Park Road, London, where Richardson lived from 1910 to 1934, and photographs of the presentation of Richardson's paper weight and silver cream jug to Sir Robert and Dame Pattie Menzies in 1966. Items 49-64 were received in 1996 from Richardson's grand-niece Angela Neustatter. For other photographs, see Pictorial Section.
In 1910, Paul Solanges, a retired littérateur, wrote to Richardson and offered to translate Maurice Guest into French. They corresponded frequently on the work of translation, and Solanges sent notes of his queries about particular points for reply by Richardson. After the completion of the first draft, Solanges revised the chapters and progressively forwarded them to Richardson, who had her notes typed for the final revision by Solanges. The work was interrupted by Solanges' death in 1914 and the First World War. A small amount of correspondence took place between Richardson and Solanges' daughter Marthe until 1920. The translation, correspondence and notes were returned to Richardson in 1914 by Solanges' family. The translation itself was last known to be in the hands of Heinemann publishers, London, in 1947.
This series contains the correspondence and notes, as well as transcriptions of the Richardson letters by Margaret Capon and translations of some Solanges letters by Dorothy Green. Photocopies of the correspondence and notes are also included.
Since the items in this series were numbered after they were microfilmed, a detailed item listing of the letters is included at Appendix 2.
Albums of press cuttings compiled successively by Richardson and her two literary executrices, Olga Roncoroni and Margaret Capon. They were acquired by the Library in 1983.
Editions of Richardson's works (many of them annotated), and a few proof copies, received from her executrix in 1983. The item list below includes publisher and publication date, as well as inscriptions. Many of the inscriptions show pet names used between Richardson and her husband, such as BS, DDB, Pip. Richardson's usual publishers were William Heinemann in London and Norton in New York.
This series has not been microfilmed. Note also that a proof copy of The way home is included in Series 4.
Editions of translations of Richardson's works, received from Olga Roncoroni in 1972, are held in the Library's general collection. A list of these (without call numbers) is available on request.
A collection of books relating to Richard Wagner and his circle, used by Richardson in researching her book The young Cosima. This collection was acquired from the University of Tasmania in 1993. Since a catalogue of these books was published in 1973, the numbers in that catalogue are here used as item numbers, with the addition of a number where more than one volume is indicated by a catalogue number. The item list is in summary form, and readers should refer to the catalogue at item 72 for full details.
Twenty-three books used by Richardson in researching The fortunes of Richard Mahony, received by the Library in 1946, are held in the Library's general collection. A list of these (without call numbers) is available on request.
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