Guide to the Papers of Dame Nellie Melba


MS 9561

National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Collection Summary

Melba, Nellie, Dame
Papers of Dame Nellie Melba
Date Range
1895 - 1923
Collection Number
MS 9561
0.67 metres (1 security binder + 10 folios)
Language of Materials
Special Collections (Manuscripts)
The National Library of Australia is extremely grateful for the generous support of the Susan and Isaac Wakil Foundation. This has enabled the work of preserving, digitising and publishing this collection.


Scope and Contents

Papers include a collection of letters from Melba to her sister 'Tib' (Mrs T. A. Paterson), and her mother. Includes single letters to Tib from Melba's mother and sister Clara, and other letters to Dame Nellie. There are four signed and inscribedportrait photographs, three other portrait photographs, and two postcards of Melba. Also includes an embroidered silk evening bag with the name 'Nellie' picked out in spangles, and three commemorative programmes, printed on cloth (Royal Opera, Covent Garden, 23 June 1897; Royal Opera, Covent Garden, 11 June 1907; and Town Hall, Melbourne, 27 September 1902).

Biographical / Historical

Dame Nellie Melba was born in Melbourne in 1861 and took her stage name from that city. A year's study in Paris with the famous Mathilde Marchesi transformed her from a gifted beginner into a brilliant vocalist, soon to be regarded as the most accomplished and most famous soprano of her time. Her purity of voice made her the most famous Diva in the operatic world, throughout which she gave many performances. Between 1904 and 1926 Melba made some 150 records. Her final performance at Covent Garden was in June 1926, with her last Australian performances in Sydney and Melbourne in 1928.

Item Descriptions

Correspondence, 1895 - 1923 (File Items 1-58) - Security-Binder unnumbered (MS 9561)

Includes letters from Nellie Melba to her sister and mother, as well as other miscellaneous letters.

Photographs and postcards, 1896 - 1903 (File Items 59-67) - Folio-Box (Shared)

Three commemorative programmes printed on cloth from the Royal Opera, Convent Garden and the Town Hall, Melbourne, 1897 - 1907 (Item 50; 68-69) - Folio-Box (Shared)

Embroidered silk evening bag with the name "Nellie" picked out in spangles on rear, [n.d.] (Item 70) - Folio-Box (Shared)