Guide to the Letters and photographs of Patrick White

MS 8434

National Library of Australia

Collection Summary

Letters and photographs of Patrick White
Date Range
Collection Number
MS 8434
0.1 metres (various)
Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Please refer to the collection's catalogue record for the access conditions (

Conditions Governing Use

Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions.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 Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.

Preferred Citation

Items from this collection should be cited as '[Title or description of manuscript item], Letters and photographs of Patrick White, National Library of Australia, MS 8434, [series/file/item number]'.


The papers were purchased from Mrs Peggy Garland in April 1992.

The collection comprises letters of Patrick White to his cousins Mrs Peggy Garland (nee Withycombe) and Betty Withycombe, postcards sent by White to Garland and a few photographs.

Biographical Note

Betty and Peggy Withycombe were two of the three daughters of Jack Withycombe (Ruth White's cousin) and his wife Ellen who in the 1920's were living in Southampton in England. After he went to England at the age of 13, Patrick White became very close to the Withycombes, the only artists in his family. David Marr in his book Patrick White: a life, states that Betty Withycombe was the first person, apart from White's mother, Ruth, to encourage him to write.

Peggy Withycombe later married Tom Garland and for health reasons, they lived in New Zealand for a number of years. Patrick White corresponded regularly with both Betty Withycombe and Peggy Garland. In the late 1950s, White quarrelled with Betty and they exchanged very few letters after that. Nevertheless White continued to write to Peggy Garland until shortly before his death.

Item Descriptions

Series 1. Letters to Betty Withycombe

Item. 14 April 1961

Item. 25 December 1978

Item. 23 August 1977

Item. 24 April 1978

Item. 10 January 1979

Item. 18 March 1984

Item. 26 February 1986

Item. 29 June 1986

Series 2. Postcards and photographs

File. 16 postcards, some of which were addressed to Peggy Garland

Series 3. Letters to Peggy Garland

Item. 18 December 1944

Item. 24 October 1948

Item. 23 November 1948

Item. 11 February 1949

Item. 2 May 1949

Item. 18 July 1949

Item. 14 August 1949

Item. 25 January 1950

Item. 1 July 1950

Item. 13 December 1950

Item. 22 February 1951

Item. 3 June 1951

Item. 15 August 1951

Item. 31 October 19515 March 1952

Item. 25 June 1952

Item. 3 November 1952 (To Tom Garland)

Item. 2 Decmber 1952

Item. 1 May 1953

Item. 15 November 1953

Item. 15 June 1954

Item. 27 November 1954

Item. 1 January 1955

Item. 12 October 1955

Item. 28 December 1955

Item. 14 February 1956

Item. 10 May 1956

Item. 10 September 1956

Item. 18 November 1956

Item. 28 December 1956

Item. 23 January 1957

Item. 30 May 1957