Guide to the Papers of Allan Martin
National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record
- Allan William Martin
- Papers of Allan Martin
- Date Range
- 1954 - 2002
- Collection Number
- MS 9802
- 13.09 metres (51 boxes + 23 index card boxes)
- Language of Materials
- Special Collections (Manuscripts)
Scope and Contents
The papers of Allan Martin fall into two groups: personal papers, mostly dating from the period 1975-2000, and research materials and indexes that he compiled while writing the biography of Robert Menzies. The personal papers comprise correspondence, notes, drafts of articles, reviews and photographs. Among the correspondents are Manning Clark, John Hirst, Ken Inglis, Peter Ryan and Geoffrey Serle. The research materials comprise copies of personal and official papers, parliamentary debates, newspaper articles, journal articles and other sources on the life of Menzies, together with extensive card indexes.
Conditions Governing Access
Please refer to the collection's catalogue record for the access conditions (http://nla.gov.au/nla.cat-vn3297610).
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Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions.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 Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.
Items from this collection should be cited as '[Title or description of manuscript item], Papers of Allan Martin, National Library of Australia, MS 9802, [box number and series and/or file number]'.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Allan Martin carried out much of his research on the life of Robert Menzies in the National Library and became closely acquainted with its reading rooms and staff. In 1998 he acknowledged a debt to his friends in the Manuscript Room 'who over months, nay years, took it in their stride that I had become something of a permanent fixture in their hallowed precincts'. It was therefore appropriate that in 2001 Martin should lodge his extensive research materials and indexes on Menzies in the Library. They now form series 10-13 of the Martin Papers. In 2003 his wife Beryl Rawson presented the correspondence and other files that form series 1-9 of the papers.
The National Library holds the personal papers of Sir Robert Menzies (MS 4936). They include papers that had still been with the family when Martin was writing the biography and papers accumulated by Frances McNicoll when she was working on the unfinished biography in the 1970s.
The Library holds an oral history interview recorded with Martin by Neville Meaney in 1986 (TRC 2053-1). It also has recordings of interviews that Martin made with Sir Henry Bland, Ian Fitchett and John Oldham and a lecture he gave to the Canberra and District Historical Society in 1987.
The indexes compiled by Allan Martin to the correspondence of Sir Henry Parkes are held in the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales, 9 boxes, MLMSS 4312.
There are extensive collections of papers of Jean Martin in the National Library (MS 7912) and in the Noel Butlin Archives Centre at the Australian National University.
The research materials on Robert Menzies were arranged and indexed in the most meticulous way by Martin and his research assistants Patsy Hardy and Pam Crichton. That arrangement has been maintained by the Library. The papers received in 2003 were in a filing cabinet in Martin's home and were filed in several sequences, mainly by date or alphabetically but in places erratically. All files have been kept intact, but the order of files has to some extent been imposed by the Library.
Allan Martin was born in Forbes, New South Wales, on 27 August 1926, the son of a schoolteacher. He was educated at country schools and served briefly in the Royal Australian Air Force. He then attended the University of Sydney, where he studied history under Stephen Roberts. After gaining his MA, he enrolled as the first doctoral student in history at the Australian National University. He gained his doctorate in 1956, with a thesis on nineteenth century New South Wales politics.
Martin lectured at the University of New South Wales (1955-58), the University of Melbourne (1959-64) and the University of Adelaide (1965-66), before being appointed the foundation Professor of History at La Trobe University in 1966. He was Dean of the Faculty of Humanities in 1970-71. His early publications included Parliamentary factions and parties: the first thirty years of responsible government in New South Wales, 1856-1889 (1966), co-written with Peter Loveday, and Essays in Federation (1969). Throughout most of these years he was engaged on a major biography of Sir Henry Parkes. To gain more time for researching and writing, he returned to the Australian National University in 1973 and in 1975 became a Senior Fellow in History in the Research School of Social Sciences, where he stayed until his retirement in 1991. He was a Visiting Fellow in the Law Program in 1992-93. Henry Parkes: a biography was published in 1980.
In 1983 Martin was asked by the Menzies Family to write a biography of Sir Robert Menzies, a task that was to occupy most of his time for the rest of his life. Volume 1 of Robert Menzies: a life appeared in 1993 and Volume 2 in 1999, one of the great Australian political biographies. He wrote several other shorter works on Menzies and had a strong interest in the art of biography.
Martin was a Fellow of both the Australian Academy of the Humanities and the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. In 1998 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM). He was awarded, posthumously, the Centenary Medal in 2003.
Martin married Jean Craig in 1955 and they had two sons. Jean Martin, who was Professor of Sociology at La Trobe University, died in 1979. In 1983 Allan Martin married Beryl Rawson, who was Dean of the Faculty of Arts and subsequently Head of the Department of Classics at the Australian National University. He died in Canberra on 31 May 2002.
The series contains personal correspondence of Martin, mostly dating from the last 25 years of his life when he was living in Canberra. Most of the correspondence is with other historians and students, but there are occasional letters from public figures. There are a few references. Martin sometimes kept copies of his own letters. Many of the letters deal with his work on the biography of Robert Menzies and the writings of other historians on related subjects.
Martin created files for some of his correspondents, while other letters were filed under the initial letter. Near the end of his life he filed some letters by date. The files have been kept intact.
Among the correspondents in the alphabetical files (1-24) are Marian Aveling (Quartly), John and Margaret Barrett, Geoffrey Bolton, Richard Bosworth, Paul Bourke, Chris Connolly, L.F. Crisp, Ann Curthoys, Brian De Garis, Greg Dening, Peter Edwards, Richard Ely, Keith Farrer, Brian Fitzpatrick, Cameron Hazlehurst, Bill Hudson, Rhys Isaac, Roger Louis, D.A. Low, Fred McKay, Michael McKernan, Bruce Mansfield, Alan Mayne, John Mulvaney, John O'Brien, Heather Radi, John Ritchie, Lloyd Robson, Tim Rowse, Peter Ryan, Deryck Schreuder, A.G.L. Shaw, George Shaw, Gavin Souter, Hugh Stretton and John M. Ward.
Although Martin spent many years as a postgraduate student and later a Senior Fellow at the Australian National University, he kept very few papers relating to the University. This small series contains a graduation ceremony photograph, a doctoral certificate and a copy of a report of a review of the History Program at the Australian National University (Martin was not a member of the review).
Although he mainly taught Australian history, Martin believed strongly that university lecturers should break away from their specialities. During his time at Melbourne University in 1959-64 he gave a series of lecturers on the Russian Revolution which were extremely popular.
Martin first examined the Parkes Papers at the Mitchell Library when he was a postgraduate student at Sydney University studying factional politics in New South Wales. He spent many years writing the life of Parkes, who held Ministerial office on several occasions between 1866 and 1891 and was five times Premier of New South Wales. Henry Parkes; a biography was published by Melbourne University Press in 1980. Martin subsequently placed his indexes to the Parkes Papers in the Mitchell Library, but retained some correspondence relating to his research and the publication, as well as photographs and reviews.
For the rest of his life, Martin was regarded as the authority on Henry Parkes and was often asked to speak about Parkes or provide advice about his life. He produced a volume of letters written by Menie Parkes to her father, which was published by Melbourne University Press in 1983. In 1997 he gave a paper on Parkes at a conference in Canberra which was published in 2000 in Makers of miracles; the cast of the Federation story, edited by David Headon and John Williams.
Sir Robert Menzies originally agreed that the journalist Frances McNicoll should write his authorised biography and gave her access to all his papers. Lady McNicoll worked on the project for several years, but found the task increasingly daunting. In 1983 the Menzies Family withdrew the commission and asked Martin to write the biography. He worked on it for 15 years, first as a Senior Fellow at the Australian National University and later in retirement. The first volume, covering the years 1894-1943, was published by Melbourne University Press in 1993, while the second volume, covering 1944-1978, appeared in 1999.
As with the Parkes biography, Martin was painstaking in collecting sources and meticulous in filing and indexing them. He was less concerned about keeping correspondence and other records of his own life and the papers in this series provide an incomplete record of the writing of a great political biography. Nevertheless, there are letters, papers relating to his research overseas, correspondence with the publisher, a large collection of reviews and some miscellaneous research files.
By the 1990s Martin was the authority on both Parkes and Menzies. In 1995 he undertook the long entry for Menzies for the Australian Dictionary of Biography and he wrote other articles and talks on Menzies. The last appeared in Australian Prime Ministers, edited by Michelle Grattan, published in 2000. This series contains some of those writings. In Martin's correspondence in series 1 there are many references to Menzies and his treatment by other historians.
Martin and his research assistants, Patsy Hardy and Pam Crichton, accumulated a huge collection of sources on the life of Menzies from libraries and archives all round the world. In particular, they drew on the extensive Menzies Papers in the National Library.
The photocopies, transcripts and notes that they made were filed in ring files. The papers are extremely diverse and include letters, telegrams, cables, memoranda, diary excerpts, speeches, biographical notes, parliamentary debates, committee reports, newspaper articles, journal articles, interview transcripts, poems, photographs and obituaries. They are in no particular order, but Martin numbered most of the items and the card indexes in series 11-13 refer to those numbers.
Many of the ring files were bulging with papers and would not close securely. In such cases, some or all of the contents were transferred to Files. Files 100-110 contain unnumbered items.
The series comprises 10 Folios of index cards, arranged chronologically. The entries refer to private and unpublished documents, such as letters, cables, excerpts from diaries, memoranda, private notes, speeches, drafts and invitations. The entries give the location of the original document, including thousands of documents contained in the Menzies Papers. Many of the entries also contain a number in red referring to the location of a copy in the binders compiled by Martin, which are in series 10.
The series comprises 8 Folios of card indexes, also arranged chronologically. The entries refer to public documents, mainly newspaper articles and also journal articles. Some entries summarise and refer by number to the copies of articles that are in the binders in series 10. Others summarise press reports which are not in the Martin Papers.
The other card indexes, some of which are very small, occupy six Folios. The cards in the personal names and subject place names provide dates only. It is necessary to look up those dates in the chronological index (series 11) in order to find the precise reference to the person or place. The entries in the biography and special biographical indexes contain biographical notes as well as date references.