Guide to the Letters and photographs of Patrick White


MS 8434

National Library of Australia

Collection Summary

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Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions.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 Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.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

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 (Item)

Series 2. Postcards and photographs

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

Series 3. Letters to Peggy Garland

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 (Item)