Guide to the Records of the Poetry Society of Australia


MS 952

National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: July 2022

Collection Summary

Poetry Society of Australia
Records of the Poetry Society of Australia
Date Range
Collection Number
MS 952
1.2 metres (6 archive boxes + 1 folder + 17 volumes)
Language of Materials
Special Collections (Manuscripts)


Scope and Contents

The papers of the Poetry Society of Australia include correspondence with members and affiliated bodies; typescripts of poems; typescript draft of the Society's First Anthology, published in 1956; 3 sets (one complete) of the monthly publication Prism; ledgers, accounts and other business papers; press cuttings concerning the Society; photographs.

Scope and Contents

Records include correspondence with members and affiliated bodies typescripts of poems; TS draft of the First Anthology (1956); 3 sets (1 complete) of Prism; ledgers, accounts and other business papers; press cuttings and photographs. Also some personal papers of Imogen Whyse concerning her work in theatre and her activities in support of International Children's Communities in Europe. Correspondents include Dr. Felix Arnott, Peter Bladen, John Blair, D. Campbell, Betty Casey, Nancy Cato, D.M. Catts, Louis H. Clark, Stan Clarke, Patrick Coady, Brian Colebourne, Mary Coles, Commonwealth Literary Fund, Mary Cornish, Bishop Davidson, Eileen Davies, Margaret Dent, J. Devaney, Sir E. Millington-Drake (London) T. S. Eliot, Paula Fitzgerald, R.D. Fitzgerald, Vera Fitzgerald, J. Gielgud, Dame Mary Gilmore, Myrtle Glass, H.M. Green, Martin Haley, Dorothy Helmrich, A.D. Hope, P. Hopegood, R.G. Howarth, Hugh Hunt, Neil Hutchinson, Helen N. Jones, K.L. King, Ray Lawler, Norman Lindsay, A. Lloyd, James McAuley, M.B. McGrath, Prof. Milgate, Duncan Miller, Helen Reid, Dr. S. Scougall, Dame Edith Sitwell, W. Hart-Smith, D. Stewart and Judith Wright.

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Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions.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 Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.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], Records of the Poetry Society of Australia, National Library of Australia, MS 952, [box number and series and/or file number]'.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Miss Imogen Whyse, the founder of the Society, presented the papers to the Library in 1960 and 1961, together with personal papers concerning her earlier work in theatre and her activities in support of International Children's Communities in Europe.

Other Finding Aids

All correspondence in the collection has been name-indexed; please refer to the attached Correspondence Index (Appendix I) under the Related Documentation tab.

Historical Note

The Poetry Society of Australia was founded in Sydney in 1954 with the aim of promoting appreciation and use of poetry and of assisting new and unknown Australian poets. By 1957 it had grown from 23 foundation members to some 350 members from most Australian states, including Dame Mary Gilmore, James McAuley, A.D. Hope, Peter Bladen, Peter Hopegood and W. Hart-Smith.

The Society's activities, organised at the Sydney Office by Miss Whyse, included monthly publication of the poetry magazine, Prism; fortnightly lectures and discussions concerning poetry; occasional dramatic productions of epic or verse plays; a poetry library for members; and publication in 1956 of the Society's First Anthology, selected from Prism. In 1960 the Society was reconstituted under a new Council, to enable it to expand and develop its activities and influence.

Item Descriptions

Series 1. Correspondence, 1954-1962 - Box 1 (MS 952), Box 2 (MS 952)

Correspondence between Miss Whyse and members of the Society (including Dame Mary Gilmore, A.D. Hope, James McAuley, Peter Hopegood) concerning the Society's activities, particularly its monthly publication Prism; correspondence with The Poetry Society Inc. (England) and other poetry groups; correspondence with The Arts Council of Australia etc. concerning the future organisation of the Society.

This series comprises Items 1-943.

Series 2. Correspondence, 1954-1960 - Box 3 (MS 952), Box 4 (MS 952)

Correspondence with other poetry groups in Australia and overseas; business letters; correspondence concerning the publication by the P.S.A. in 1956 of its First Anthology of Poetry.

This series comprises Items 944-1077.

Series 3. Miscellaneous Papers - Box 4 (MS 952)

Press cuttings concerning the Society; details of the Society's Dramatic Group and its Library; typescript draft of the P.S.A.'s First Anthology of Poetry, 1956.

This series comprises Items 1078-1083.

Series 4. Receipt Books, Accounts - Box 4 (MS 952)

Ledgers, receipt books and receipts, subscription reminders, bank books, statements of accounts.

Series 5. Prism - Box 5 (MS 952)

Three sets (one complete) of the P.S.A. monthly publication Prism, from July 1954 to December 1957.

Series 6. Personal Papers of Miss Imogen Whyse - Box 6 (MS 952)

Correspondence, pamphlets and press cuttings concerning Miss Whyse's work in Europe and America in support of International Children's Communities.

Series 7. Theatre work of Miss Whyse - Box 6 (MS 952)

Correspondence, programmes, scripts, press cuttings, costume sketches relating to Miss Whyse's theatre work in Australia and overseas (she was formerly Ilma Barnes). This correspondence has not been included in the Name Index.

Series 8. Photographs - Box 6 (MS 952)

Photographs of some of the International Children's Villages; theatrical photographs of Miss Whyse.

Series 9. Books - Box (Shared)

Daisy Miller, by Henry James, London.

F.S. Arnot, by J.J. Ellis, London, n.d.

Penny Poets - 13 nos. in the series, Masterpiece Library.

Lowell's Poems. Blackie & Son, London, 1906.

Coeur de Lion by Miss Porder. Printed for G. & W. Whittaker, London, 1823.