Guide to the Papers of Aileen Palmer
National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record
- Aileen Palmer
- Papers of Aileen Palmer
- Date Range
- Collection Number
- MS 6759
- 1.05 metres (7 boxes)
- Language of Materials
- National Library of Australia
Conditions Governing Access
Please refer to the collection's catalogue record for the access conditions (http://nla.gov.au/nla.cat-vn1082226).
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Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions.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 Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.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 Aileen Palmer, National Library of Australia, MS 6759, [box number and series and/or file number]'.
Aileen Palmer, the daughter of Vance and Nettie Palmer, was born in London in 1915 and came to Australia as a baby. She was educated at the University of Melbourne, graduating in 1935. She served with the British medical unit and medical service of the International Brigade in Spain, 1936-38, and with the London Auxiliary Ambulance Service, 1939-43. After her return to Australia in 1946 she contributed verse to journals such as Overland, Meanjin, Southerly, Vietnam Advances and Realist Writer. Under the pseudonym 'Caliban' she published two collections, World without Strangers? (1964) and Dear Life (1957). After a breakdown in 1948, Aileen intermittently spent long periods in mental hospitals in Melbourne.
The family correspondence dates from 1935 until 1980 and contains letters and post cards exchanged between Nettie Palmer and her daughters, Helen and Aileen, and between the two sisters. Of special significance is the group of letters written by Aileen while she was serving in Spain during the Civil War in 1935-37 as a member of a volunteer medical corps. The later correspondence between Helen and Aileen documents their last years, Nettie's final illness and Aileen's many years as an inmate of various hospitals.
The papers include obituaries of Vance, Nettie, and Helen Palmer, and letters of sympathy to Aileen on the occasion of their deaths; two passports and an address book of Aileen Palmer; legal papers relating to the sale of property in 1977; and Aileen's academic record certified by the Registrar, University of Melbourne.
Aileen Palmer's correspondents were principally her literary friends, Katherine Susannah Prichard, Edith Young, Flora Eldershaw, Eleanor Dark, Guido Barracchi, Frank Davison, David Martin, Lesbia Harford, Stephen Murray-Smith, Lorraine Salmon, Eric Westbrook, V.J. Meyer, and her personal friends C.Jollie-Smith and Jessie Mcleod. A letter of 1938 from the then Prime Minister Joseph Lyons to Maurice Blackman, M.P., in reference to the arms embargo then enforced against Spain, is included.
Much of this series contains Aileen Palmer's 'fragments', writings she produced while she was a patient in Royal Park Hospital, Melbourne. Also included are poems privately published, Vance Palmer. A Contribution, unpublished novels Pilgrim's Way and Iron House, Mullock Verses, diary notes, notes on the work of Federico Garcia Lorca, and Nettie Palmer's Book, produced by Vance, Helen and Aileen for Nettie in 1948.
This series contains notes, newspaper cuttings and printed matter in reference to the 3rd World Conference against A & H Weapons, held in Tokyo in August 1957, which Aileen Palmer attended as an Australian delegate. Following the conference she travelled through Japan and China, and letters and descriptive notes about these countries are included in the series.
This series contains a Cuban edition of 1962 of the poem Balada by Nicolas Guiden; a copy of the Fort Street High School magazine, The Fortian, for 1979; newspaper cuttings, electoral notices, invitations etc.; and a notice advertising a meeting in aid of Basque refugee children held in the Royal Albert Hall, London on June 24th, 1937, which includes a list of distinguished guests and is headed by a pencil sketch of a mother and child with the sub-title, Design by Pablo Picasso (1937) dedicated to the mothers and children of Spain. The sketch is signed S.Hian (?) '37