Guide to the Papers of Vincent Buckley


MS 7289

National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Collection Summary

Buckley, Vincent, 1925-1988
Papers of Vincent Buckley
Date Range
1952 - 1986
Collection Number
MS 7289
2.4 metres (16 boxes)
Language of Materials
Special Collections (Manuscripts)
This finding aid was revised and published with the assistance of the Ray Mathew and Eva Kollsman Trust.


Scope and Contents

The collection is diverse, consisting of correspondence, poetry, autobiographical prose, articles, lectures, broadcasts, reviews and printed material.

There are multiple versions of Buckley's poetry, from manuscript drafts to galley proofs. Most of these works were published.

Conditions Governing Access

Available for research.

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Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions.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 Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.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 Vincent Buckley, National Library of Australia, MS 7289, [series and file number]'.


Six cartons of papers of Professor Buckley were acquired by the National Library in February 1985. In 1986 a furthur two cartons were received as a gift from Professor Buckley, under the Tax Incentives Scheme.

The A.D. Hope Collection ( MS 5836) includes several of Professor Buckley's letters (1953-60) to Hope and drafts of some verse. The Oral History Section holds a tape and transcript of an interview Buckley held on 21 November 1969, with Mrs Hazel de Berg.


The various series were created from Buckley's original arrangement of the material. Several folders include a mixture of materials.

Separated Materials

Other papers of Vincent Buckley are held in the library of the Australian Defence Force Academy.

Biographical Note

Vincent Thomas Buckley was born in Romsey, Victoria on 8 July 1925, of an Irish Catholic farming family. He was educated at St. Patrick's (Jesuit) College and the University of Melbourne, where he received a B.A. and M.A. He later studied at Cambridge University where he wrote Poetry and morality.

During World War II, Buckley served with the Royal Australian Air Force and in 1946 he resumed study at the University of Melbourne, under a Veterans Grant. An academic for most of his life, Buckley was Lockie Fellow from 1958-60, Reader 1960-67 and from 1967, Professor of English at the University of Melbourne.

Buckley's strong identity with Irish culture involved him in Australian Catholic intellectual life, an interest in Irish Republican politics and a love for Ireland.

In the late 1950s and 1960s Buckley was a central figure of a group of University poets and intellectuals with a distinctive philosophy of literature. During this time he was a member of the editorial board of the magazine Prospect and poetry editor of the Bulletin.

Buckley was the recipient of several awards, mostly the Australian Literature Society Medal, (1959), Myer Award, (1967), Dublin Prize, (1977), and the FAW Christopher Brennan Award, (1982).

Buckley died in Melbourne in 1988.

Item Descriptions

Series 1. General correspondence, 1952-84

The series contains letters from many notable Australian literary figures and reflect Buckley's political and literary interests. They are arranged according to Buckley's original order of source and/or date, with the titles of the folders supplied by Buckley.

The correspondents include Gwen Harwood, Chris Wallace-Crabbe, A.D. Hope, Francis Webb, Xavier Herbert, Donald Horne, David Malouf and Geoffrey Dutton. All the correspondence has been indexed (see attached Correspondence Index).

'Gwen Harwood, 1961' (File 1)

'Letters from Gwen from 1962' (File 2)

'Gwen Harwood (some letters from 1962)' (File 3)

'Letters from Jones, Wallace-Crabbe, Stow, Brissenden, Hope, Webb, Harwood, etc', 1959-83 (File 4)

'Frank Webb', 1952-62 (File 5)

'Evan', 1956-64 (File 6)

'Letters X. Herbert, D. Horne, Christesen, Kinnell, B. Dawe, etc', 1957-83 (File 7)

'Letters', 1961-82 (File 8)

'Letters. James K. Baxter, Q.D. Leavis, Spender, Leonard French, D. Stewart', etc', 1956-81 (File 9)

'Chris Wallace-Crabbe', 1981-84 (File 10)

'Letters', 1973-84 (File 11)

'Bob Fitz', 1958-83 (File 12)

1961-84 (File 13-14)

'Letters mostly late 1950s and early 1960s' (File 15)

'Correspondence from various sources', 1950-1984 (File 16)

Series 2. Working correspondence, 1958-86

This series comprises papers about work submitted to Buckley, letters from other academics and from publishers, material relating to university affairs, Australian and overseas conferences, invitations, seminars, meetings and competitions. There are a small number of letters from writers and Buckley's own replies. All the correspondence has been indexed (see attached Correspondence Index).

'Working correspondence', 1958-86 (File 1-11)

Series 3. Poetry, 1950s-86

The material in this series includes many drafts of published and unpublished poetry, including Golden builders and Late-winter child. Typescripts and photocopies are included. The material dates from the early 1950s to 1986.

Manuscripts, drafts, typescripts and photocopies of poems (File 1-17)

'MSS of Late-Winter Child' (File 18)

'Late-Winter Child and later' (File 19)

'Drafts of poems including many unpublished' (File 20)

'Poems 1978-84 typescripts, mss and working drafts' (File 21-22)

Series 4. Prose: autobiographical, 1950s-60s

This series contains drafts and galley proofs of Cutting green hay, Buckley's memories and reflections on the 1950s and 1960s and Memory Ireland, a work of memory, on Buckley's experiences and events in Ireland.

Cutting Green Hay (File 1-5)

'Prose typescripts' [for Memory Ireland] (File 6)

Cutting Green Hay, proofs (File 7-9)

Cutting Green Hay, typescripts (File 10-17)

Memory Ireland, manuscripts, drafts, typescripts and galleys (File 18-30)

Series 5. Prose: articles, broadcasts, lectures, papers and reviews, 1950s-86

The material in this series is diverse and dates from the 1950s to 1986. It includes drafts and photocopies of Poetry and the sacred; "Faith in the New Testament"; "What is a Catholic"; Australian Literary Essay material; CLF lectures of the late 1950s and some unpublished poems, articles for various literary journals, reviews, papers, broadcasts and lectures.

Manuscript drafts, typescripts and photocopies of published work of articles, papers, lectures, broadcasts and reviews, 1950s-1986 (File 1-27)

Series 6. Printed material, 1952-85

This series contains issues of the journal Prospect, 1959-63, copies of Mum and various early literary journals. There are publishers catalogues and conference programs.

Prospect, 1959-64 (File 1-2)

Miscellaneous journals, 1952-71 (File 3)

Mum, 1961, 1969 (File 4)

Book catalogues, 1980-85 (File 5-6)

26th APSA Conference, 1984, program and papers : ASAL 84, Ballarat Conference, program (File 7)

Series 7. Miscellaneous

This folder contains a photocopy of an article on the Buckley family at Fish Creek, Victoria. [1 folder]

Container List

Box Series File
1 1 1-9
2 1 10-16
3 2 1-6
4 2 7-11
5 3 1-7
6 3 8-14
7 3 15-22
8 4 1-6
9 4 7-12
10 4 13-21
11 4 22-30
12 5 1-8
13 5 9-13
14 5 14-20
15 5 1-7
16 6 1
16 7 1