Guide to the Papers of Pauline Fanning


MS 9864, MS Acc11.069 and MS Acc13.010

National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Collection Summary

Pauline Fanning
Papers of Pauline Fanning
Date Range
Collection Number
MS 9864, MS Acc11.069 and MS Acc13.010
3.0 metres (17 boxes + 1 folio box)
Language of Materials
National Library of Australia


Scope and Contents

The papers document some of Pauline Fanning's activities during her long career at the National Library of Australia and her association and friendship with a number of politicians, writers, collectors, librarians and academics. They include correspondence, diaries, notebooks, research notes, talks, book reviews, and newspaper cuttings. There are files on the Ferguson, Nan Kivell, Palmer and Petherick collections, exhibitions, publications and a few of her colleagues. The correspondents include Lord and Lady Casey, Russell Cope, Gerald Fischer, Adelaide Lubbock, Marcie Muir and Aileen Palmer.

Conditions Governing Access

MS 9864: Part available for research; part requires permission for research (Marcie Muir correspondence restricted until 2025; Russell Cope correspondence restricted during his lifetime).

MS Acc11.069: Permission required for research.

MS Acc13.010: Part available for research; part requires permission for research (Marcie Muir correspondence restricted until 2025; Russell Cope correspondence restricted for his lifetime; Janice Kenny file restricted until 2025).

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Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions.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 Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.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], Papers of Pauline Fanning, National Library of Australia, [class number, box number and Series and/or file number]'.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were donated to the Library by Pauline Fanning in October 2000. Further papers were added in February 2006. Consignments were also received in 2011 and 2013.

An interview with Pauline Fanning, recorded by Alec Bolton in 1988, is held in the Oral History collection at TRC 2248. Her address at the opening of the Ferguson Room in the National Library in 2000 is held at TRC 4562.


The correspondence and papers had been well organised by Pauline Fanning before she presented them to the Library and the files have all been kept intact. The arrangement into four Series has been made by the Library.

Collection Retrieval Advice

Please note: each consignment in this collection has a separate box number sequence (i.e. there are multiple Box 1's). Please cite the relevant Class number as well as the Box number when requesting retrieval of material from the collection.

Biographical Note

Pauline Dixon was born in Hobart on 18 January 1915. She was educated at the Collegiate School, Hobart, and the University of Tasmania, graduating as a Bachelor of Arts in 1937. On 8 May 1941 she married William Fanning, a legal officer in the Attorney-General's Department in Canberra. They had two daughters.

Pauline Fanning spent her entire career, from 1936 to 1980, on the staff of the National Library. She was a cataloguer (1936-41, 1943-47), reference librarian (1947-66), Chief Librarian, Australian Reference (1966-72), Principal Librarian, Australian Reference (1972-75), and Director, Australian National Humanities Library (1975-80). She was responsible not only for the Australian reference services but also the development of the Australian book, manuscript, pictorial and oral history collections. She worked closely with Sir John Ferguson on the Bibliography of Australia and on the acquisition of his collection and was also heavily involved in the acquisition of the Nan Kivell Collection. She curated several major exhibitions for the Library.

In her retirement Pauline Fanning worked for several years as a researcher for the Australian National Dictionary. She received the MBE in 1969 and the ISO in 1978. She was awarded an Honorary Master of Arts by the Australian National University in 1976.

Item Descriptions

Class MS 9864. Original Consignments

This material was received in 2000 and 2006.

The papers document some of Fanning's activities during her long career at the National Library of Australia and her association and friendship with a number of politicians, writers, collectors, librarians and academics. The collection includes correspondence, diaries, notebooks, research notes, talks, book reviews and newspaper cuttings. There are files on the Ferguson, Nan Kivell, Palmer and Petherick collections. Among the correspondents are Lord and Lady Casey, Russell Cope, Gerald Fischer, Adelaide Lubbock, Marcie Muir and Aileen Palmer

Comprises 9 boxes.

Series 1. Correspondence, 1940-2004 - Box 1

Although Fanning met the correspondents in This series through working in the National Library, they became friends and the letters that she kept are mostly private or semi-private. The correspondence often extended well into her retirement. The files that she created mostly contain letters, but there are also notes and cuttings about some of the individuals. There is therefore a degree of overlap with the files in Series 2.

Correspondents in the two Files of miscellaneous letters include Sir John Crawford, Bobbie Maple-Brown, Manning Clark, UrsulaHoff, Pat Tillyard, Janey Marshall, Dorothy Green, Ros Kelly, David Fairbairn, Leonie Baxter, Grenfell Rudduck, Lady Ferguson, Betty Ferguson, Hilda Abbott, Lady Bailey, Clyde Cameron, C.K. Bliss, Phyllis Mander-Jones, Jean Ross, Lady Copland and Hazel De Berg. Explanatory notes by Fanning are attached to several of the letters.

The letters of Marcie Muir are restricted until 2025 and the letters of Russell Cope are restricted during his lifetime.

Marnie Bassett, c., 1968-1971 (File 1) - Box 1
Lord and Lady Casey, 1966-1985 (File 2-3) - Box 1
Russell Cope, 1990-1999 (File 4-5) - Box 8

See also File 23

Gerald Fischer, 1983-2002 (File 6) - Box 1
Sir Paul and Lady Hasluck, 1969-1993 (File 7) - Box 1
Geoffrey Ingleton, 1959-1960 (File 8) - Box 1
Adelaide Lubbock, 1961-1980 (File 9) - Box 1
Dame Enid Lyons, 1980-1981 (File 10) - Box 1
Kathleen McArthur, 1965-1978 (File 11) - Box 1
Marcie Muir, 1962-1979 (File 12) - Box 8
Marcie Muir, 1980-1989 (File 13) - Box 8
Marcie Muir, 1990-1997 (File 14) - Box 8

See also Files 24 and 25

Lilias Needham, 1966-1970 (File 15) - Box 1
Andrew Osborn, 1987-1991 (File 16) - Box 2
Aileen Palmer, 1962-1968 (File 17-18) - Box 2
Nettie Palmer, 1961-1964 (File 19) - Box 2
Louise Rorabacher, 1968-1987 (File 20) - Box 2
Miscellaneous letters, 1940-1988 (File 21-22) - Box 2
Russell Cope, 2000-2004 (File 23) - Box 1
Marcie Muir, 1998-2000 (File 24) - Box 1
Marcie Muir, 2001-2004 (File 25) - Box 1
Allan Percy Fleming, 1971-2001 (File 26) - Box 9

Series 2. Subject files, 1946-2004 - Box 1

There is some overlap between Series 1 and 2, as a few of the files in Series 2 contain letters. In general, however, the papers in This series comprise drafts of Fanning's writings, notes, research material, cuttings. Many of the files document work and projects at the Library, especially with major collections and exhibitions. There are also files created during her retirement, relating to articles and talks and her work as a valuer for the Taxation Incentives for the Arts Scheme.

Articles and talks (File 1-3) - Box 2
Book reviews, 1977-1990 (File 4) - Box 3
C.A. Burmester, 1970-1991 (File 5) - Box 3
Bushranger exhibition, 1972 (File 6) - Box 3
George Chandler, 1974-199 (File 7) - Box 3
Captain James Cook, 1970 (File 8) - Box 3
Russell Cope: writings, 1990-1999 (File 9-11) - Box 3
Country Party records, nd (File 12) - Box 3
Early Canberra houses, 1983 (File 13) - Box 3
Ferguson Collection (File 14-16) - Box 4
Ferguson exhibition, 1965 (File 17) - Box 4
C.R. Fisher Collection, 1949 (File 18) - Box 4
Foyer exhibitions, 1968-1972 (File 19) - Box 4
Guide to Australian reference sources, 1978-1980 (File 20) - Box 4
Guide to collections of manuscripts relating to Australia, 1972 (File 21) - Box 4
Historical records of Australia, 1973 (File 22) - Box 4
Norman Lynravn: ADB entry, 1996 (File 23) - Box 4
Manuscripts, 1971-1975 (File 24) - Box 4
Manuscripts, nd (File 25) - Box 5
Meanjin Quarterly papers, nd (File 26) - Box 5
Nan Kivell Collection, nd (File 27-28) - Box 5
National Gallery library, 1966 (File 29) - Box 5
National Library documents, 1956-1968 (File 30-31) - Box 5
National Library miscellaneous papers (File 32) - Box 5
National Library statements, 1951-1957 (File 33) - Box 5
Notes for talks, nd (File 34) - Box 5
Palmer Collection, nd (File 35) - Box 6
Proposed National Portrait Gallery, 1973 (File 36) - Box 6
Special collections of the Parliamentary Library, 1980 (File 37) - Box 6
Taxation Incentives for the Arts Scheme, 1987-1995 (File 38) - Box 6
Television programs, 1960-1964 (File 39) - Box 6
Arthur Wadsworth: ADB entry, 1989 (File 40) - Box 6
Sir Harold White, 1968-1992 (File 41) - Box 6
Women in the Public Service, 1946-1960 (File 42) - Box 6
Kenneth Binns, c., 1961-1987 (File 43) - Box 9
Proposed charcoal plant at Mogo, South Coast, NSW, 2001-2004 (File 44) - Box 9
E.A. Petherick, nd, 2001-2004 (File 45-46) - Box 9
Satirical documents about the Library, nd (File 47) - Box 9

Series 3. Diaries and notebooks, 1959-1979 - Box 1

The broken run of diaries and notebooks record some of Fanning's activities in her last twenty years at the National Library. In particular, they contain details of numerous field trips and visits to prospective donors of papers. There are also notes taken during meetings in the Library.

Diary, 1959, 1963, 1964, 1975 (File 1-4) - Box 6,7
Pocket diaries, 1965-1972 (File 5) - Box 6,7
Notebooks, 1960-1965 (File 6) - Box 7
Notebooks, 1971-1972 (File 7) - Box 7
Notebooks, 1974-1975 (File 8) - Box 7
Notebooks, 1976-1979 (File 9) - Box 7
Notebooks, undated (File 10) - Box 7

Series 4. Miscellaneous papers, 1964-1994 - Box 1

This series contains five documents unrelated to the National Library: a paper by Frederick Wheeler on the administrator and the Public Service (1964) and an obituary of him (1994), copies of correspondence concerning the dismissal of Clyde Cameron from the Whitlam Government in 1975 (1977), a paper by R.W. Cole on the development of top administrators (1979), and an unsigned paper on Prime Ministers and the Royal Canberra Golf Club.

Miscellaneous papers, 1964-1994 (File 1) - Box 7

Class MS Acc11.069. Consignment received 2011

Comprises correspondence, notes and miscellaneous papers pertaining to Fanning's career at the National Library and her related interactions with Russell Cope, Kathleen McArthur, W.S. and Joan Ramson and Marcie Muir.

Class MS Acc13.010. Consignment received 2013

Correspondence, research notes and miscellaneous papers pertaining to Fanning's career with the National Library. It includes research notes and transcripts of Lady Franklin's diary; correspondence and papers pertaining to the acquisition of the Kivell, Cope, Muir and Ramson collections; notes on the history of the National Library and significant staff members including Harold White, Arthur Wadsworth and Allan Fleming; and a substantial collection of small press publications including "The Pump Press".

Comprises 7 boxes + 1 folio box.

Papers incl: correspondence; greeting cards; pamphlets; A. D. Hope memorial program; publications by 'The Pump Press' and other small presses. Folded hand written carbon copy of Aileen Palmer annotated poem housed inside 'Poems' by To Huu., 1962-1999 (File) - Box 1

Correspondence and photos pertaining to Arthur H. Tange. Unpublished transcript by W.E. Hearn titled 'The Cabinet the Premier'. Letters from Russell Cope (2005-2011). Letters and other papers relating to W.S. And Joan Ramson (c. 1980s-2011). Personal Correspondence (c. 1960s). Letters from Marcie Muir. Australian Academic and Research Libraries (AARL) issue pertaining to Sir Harold White., 1964-2011 (File) - Box 2

Russell Cope correspondence restricted for his lifetime. Marcie Muir correspondence restricted until 2025.

Personal papers pertaining to Jean Whyte (c. 1978). Writing file containing "To All Typists" memo belonging to William Doyle Fanning (husband of Pauline Fanning). Edward A. Pethrick papers (1981-1996). Correspondence to NLA re working from home. Also contains newspaper clippings. NLA clipping and miscellaneous file, incl. "Metcalf Report" and index cards. Notes on preparing speeches about Harold White. Drafts about Arthur Wadsworth (2005), and history of National Library of Australia., 1949-2011 (File) - Box 3

Drafts about Allan Fleming (2001-2011). Papers pertaining to Sir John Alexander Ferguson, incl photos of Ferguson and papers addressing rights agreement matters (1965-2011). Papers pertaining to Jan Kenny (1980), Norman Lynravn and Peter Saunders (1997). Copies of preparation for Senate Estimates regarding Nan Kivell (1947). Copied map re: construction of Burma railway (1943). Research notes and transcripts pertaining to Lady Franklin's diary (1839) cont. box 5 (small portion of oversized notes moved to folio box 8). 2 x transcripts of lectures and miscellaneous notes. Cabinet copy, minutes (1939). Score to "A Company of Carols" by Maie Casey, Marnie Bassett, Rosemary Dobson and Joan Lindsay with music by Margaret Sutherland., 1839-1997 (File) - Box 4

Janice Kenny file restricted until 2025.

Research notes and transcripts pertaining to Lady Franklin's diary (1839) (small portion of oversized notes moved to folio box 8). Various maps, cards, clippings and poster., 1839-1952 (File) - Box 5

Index cards containing bibliographic citations, valuations, purchase price, Lady Franklin diary work (1973-1989). Also contains small press publications., 1973-1989 (File) - Box 6

2 x framed portraits of Pauline Fanning. Portraits by Ethel Marian (Maie) Casey, 1970 and J. Marter, undated., c1970 (File) - Box 7

Research notes and transcripts pertaining to Lady Franklin's diary (1839) (majority of notes housed in box 4 and 5). 'Wildflower' prints by Kathleen McArthur, 1839-? (File) - Box 8