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Library Subject Guides

English Literature: Archival Collections

A guide for UC students and staff

Archival collections

Archives are freely available for use by students and staff of the University of Canterbury through the Macmillan Brown Library.  For more information about accessing archives please contact Macmillan Brown Library staff at

A selection of archival collections available which may be of interest to researchers of English literature include:

  • MB 2380  The literary papers of John O’Connor 1978-2010

Person based subject files which mostly contain correspondence to John O'Connor from persons active in the New Zealand and international literary community. There is a particular focus in the correspondence on the poetic form of Haiku. Files may also include poems, publications, cards and other miscellaneous material.

  • MB 448  Pink Triangle [magazine] records  c1980s

'Pink Triangle' magazine: administrative papers, correspondence, etc. 'Pink triangle' was the newspaper of the National Gay Rights Coalition of New Zealand.

  • MB 265  Joanna Orwin papers 1957-1989

This accession contains mainly typescript copies of several novels by this author, together with correspondence and printers proofs. There is a quantity of writing done when the author was a child, also containing small vignette sketches and photographs.

  • MB 957  G R Gilbert papers  c1940-1990s

Pacifist, author of ‘Glass Sharp and Poisonous’ (published by Caxton Press 1952, and a series of sketches published by Pegasus as 'Love in a Lighthouse'. Friend and contemporary of many in the New Zealand literary and artistic community and corresponded with Frank Sargeson and Denis Glover, among others. This collection consists mainly of his unpublished manuscripts and associated papers, but also contains some correspondence with his 'literary friends'.

  • MB 317  Caxton press records, Pegasus Press records, Mark Williams Landfall papers 1980s

Financial papers, administrative papers, correspondence, manuscripts and business records.

  • MB 323  Earwig records  c1970s

Earwig magazine began production out of Palmerston North Teachers College in 1969.  Earwig was the only NZ member of the Underground Press Syndicate.  The ideology behind the magazine was that knowledge should be available to all. Artists and designers who worked on Earwig included Gordon Clifton, Howard Cooke, Chris Locks, Brent Moorhouse and Owen Wilkes. Earwig folded in 1973.  This collection includes copies of 'Earwig' and other 'counter-culture' magazines, newsletters, associated papers and correspondence.

  • MB 658  John Summers papers 1970s

The Fenwick affair [manuscript]: a fey story by John Summers. 36 leaves, 30cm. Published in: Whiteout and The Fenwick affair. Christchurch: Pisces Print, 1980

  • MB 701  John Summers papers 1950

Tiger, tiger burning bright manuscript by John Summers. Draft of a short story written 'probably 1950, later improved in 1984'. Accompanied by typescript of a poem, July 1961, by James K. Baxter and photocopies of another poem, The parting of the ways.

  • MB 710  James K Baxter papers

'The Frog Beneath the Skin' [manuscript]. On title-page: 'for Cyril (Butch) Steel'. Original in the possession of Mrs. M. Steel, Christchurch.

  • MB 341  Austin Mitchell papers 1970s

The Man on the Hill [manuscript]. Audio tape interview

  • MB 572  Kathleen Davies papers 1970s

The collection includes letters from Ursula Bethell to Kathleen Davies, July 1941 to Jan 1944 (102 items). Also two photos: Miss Bethell, 1904, and Miss Bethell, the Rev W Merlin Davies and Kathleen Davies, 1943, a letter from Sir T Woollaston to K Davies 1979, a watercolour by R N Field and some letters of Mrs. Davies to the Library 1979-1980

  • MB 599  John Weir papers 1920-1982

Papers contain correspondence from New Zealand literary figures (in particular James K. Baxter) and literary papers on Ursula Bethell, James K. Baxter, Alistair Campbell, R.A.K. Mason and Eileen Duggan, connected with Weir's thesis 'Man without a mask: a study of the poetry of James K. Baxter' (1968). Also included are photocopies of Baxter's poems and articles (1944-1971 - ca 300 items) some holograph and typescript poems by Baxter, photocopies of poems by Eileen Duggan, photocopies of holographs and typescripts of R.A.K. Mason, and papers including correspondence, reviews and newspaper clippings. There are also photocopies of holographs and typescripts by Alistair Campbell, a manuscript draft of poems by John Summers (1969-1971) and an unpublished book of poems by Ruth France. Other items are tape recorded interviews and published poetry volumes. Contained within Box 20, in a folder entitled 'Bethell Drafts' there is a 35 page essay on religious imagery in the poetry of Ursula

  • MB 673  Doctor Barra’s testimony – A novel [manuscript]

Doctor Barra's testimony - A Novel [manuscript] by John Summers [1916-

  • MB 689  John Summers manuscript 1975

Fernie Brae [manuscript]. Manuscript of the work published: Christchurch: Pisces Print, 1984. Included in the same binding is a draft of part of Dr Barra's testimony dated October 11, 1977

  • MB 691  Glover papers 1956-1978

Letters from Dennis Glover  to R.S. Gormack

  • MB 693  James K Baxter papers 1949

Letter from James K. Baxter to Richard Thompson dated March 22, 1949. Mentions the composition of a carol about Lazarus

  • MB 694  James K Baxter papers 1968 

Letter from James K. Baxter to unknown correspondent. Typescript original in the possession of the correspondent. The letter is in reply to the correspondent's criticism concerning Baxter's use of vulgar language in his play The Bureaucrat

  • MB 699  James K Baxter papers 1944-1946

Letters from James K. Baxter to Lawrence Baigent. Twelve letters written from Brighton, Otago to Lawrence Baigent in Christchurch, the first date December 29, 1944 and the last date April 14, 1946. Included with the letters are manuscript or typescript copies of poems.

  • MB 700 James K Baxter papers 1944-1982

Poems [manuscript]. Poems sent to Lawrence Baigent. Included are a few proofs and a letter from Frank McKay, 1982.

  • MB 1550  Kate De Goldi award ceremony 2004

CD-R entitled 'Occasion to celebrate the award by Susan Price of a scholarship of $20,000 to Kate De Goldi writer, teacher and reveiwer, July  2, 2004. Three speakers: Susan Price, curator of the Susan Price Collection, Penny Carnby, NZ National Librarian, Kate de Goldi

  • MB 767 Syliva Mavis Thomson papers c1931-1969

Author and poet. The collection comprises mainly letters from Nellie Macleod including three poems. Also three letters from Lilian Jeffreys at the British Mission Damascus (1931-1932), and one letter from J.R. Hervey (1941). The letters are mainly concerned with the Christchurch literary scene in the 1950s and 1960s. In addition there are three lecture notebooks of Hugh Thomson (from Macmillan Brown lectures 1887-1893) and a memoir on Ursula Bethell (Miss Thomson was a frequent visitor to Ursulla Bethell)

  • MB 648  John Summers papers 1978-1979

'Orpheus and Eurydice'. Poem written by John Summers [1916-1993]. A poem begun late July 1978, finished late March 1979.

  • MB 857  Eldred Grigg “Oracles and Miracles’ oral history collection 1980s

Source materials for Eldred Grigg's novel 'Oracles and Miracles'. The 48 cassettes comprise 24 originals and 24 copies and consist of interviews with three women upon whom the characters of Darkie, Bella and Betty are based. The manuscript notebooks provide a detailed guide to the content of the audio tapes.

  • MB 880  James K Baxter papers 1970

Address given at the graduation service Christchurch Cathedral by James K. Baxter [manuscript]. 6 leaves, bound, 33 cm

  • MB 905  James K Baxter papers

Memoir of James Keir Baxter (1973). Notes on J.K. Baxter's early life. Photocopy of handwritten original Hocken Library.

  • MB 726  Peter Bond typescript play ‘Sink a Rainbow’ c1986

Sink a Rainbow, a dramatic entertainment or 'Clowdkiwiland'

  • MB 727  John Summers [manuscript] ‘Dreamscape’ 1986

'Dreamscape' [manuscript] by John Summers. Accompanied by 66 additional loose leaves of manuscript

  • MB 728  John Summers papers 1975-1984

'Fernie Brae' or 'Dr. Barra's Testimony' [manuscript] by John Summers. Manuscript of the work published: Christchurch: Pisces Print, 1984

  • MB 916  Keri Hume ‘The Bone People’ papers  c1960s-1980s

Documentary material relating to the writing and publication of Keri Hulme's Booker Prize winning novel 'The Bone People'

  • MB 820  Leonard Booth manuscript  c1918-1933

'The Gang: A Mock Morality' by Leonard Booth, after a short story by Douglas Jerrold. 73 leaves, bound. 26 cm.

  • MB 1239  Rob Jackaman records 2002

Audio recording. Plains FM 'Bookmarks' programme, 31 March 2002 (host and interviewer Ruth Todd]. Subject: Rob Jackaman's most recent book of poems, 'Late Love Songs' (Christchurch Hazard Press 2001]. Item: Interview and recording. Duration: 8 Minutes.

  • MB 558  Ursula Bethell papers 1890-1945

Poet. This collection comprises correspondence with some of these major artistic and literary figures of the day, manuscripts of published works including 'From a garden in the Antipodes' 'Time and Place', 'Day and Night', manuscripts of unpublished works and also a collection of photographs and miscellaneous material. This collection also contains photographs.

  • MB 2332  Joanna Orwin papers 2000-2007

Literary typescripts and associated materials

  • MB 1191  Ursula Bethell papers

Original typescript of Ursula Bethell's 'Time and Place' with manuscript annotations

  • MB 2283  Joanna Orwin papers, supplemental

Research and draft materials relating to several books (fiction and non-fiction) written by the donor. See also MB 2332

  • MB 2042  Ursula Bethell letters 1941-1944

Bound transcript of letters from Ursula Bethell to Kathleen Davies

  • MB 2011  Eileen Duggan papers 1928-1973

Writer’s papers: short stories and other manuscript materials, drafts of novels in chapters, subject files, typescript articles, biographies and photographs

  • MB 123  Mitcalfe papers  c1950-1985

Reporter, teacher, lecturer in Polynesian Studies at Wellington Teachers College,  involved with Peace media, 'Greenpeace' and the Committee on Vietnam. Awarded the Katherine Mansfield Fellowship in 1977 and the Coromandel Press in 1979. Published in areas of education, anthropology, local history and current affairs and wrote poetry, short stories, novels and children's literature. This collection includes correspondence, 1959 - 1982, mainly with publishers.  A collection of manuscripts and some published works

  • MB 621  Ashton-Warner papers 1977

Letters to Moria Taylor 1977. 1 letter and 1 postcard [both Xerox copy] by S. Ashton-Warner; 2 letters [Xerox copy] by Joy Cowley to Moira Taylor. The letters relate to a request for material for a display on 'Women in New Zealand literature'. Also a copy of brochure made to accompany the exhibition

  • MB 682 Basil Dowling papers

Letters from Basil Dowling to R.S. Gormack. 43 letters written from Rye, England to R.S. Gormack in Christchurch. Accompanied by 29 publicity leaflets for the Nag's Head Press and a list of the Press's publications from 1864 to 1982. Includes draft of a collection of about 30 poems, entitled: A letter to D'Arcy Cresswell and other poems. Also manila folder containing 43 poems in typescript originally send to R.C.

  • MB 20036  Sue McCauley papers 1982-2002

Writer's papers includes: postcards, greeting cards, cuttings and extracts, correspondence, manuscript drafts of novels, plays, short stories and scripts. Includes some audio-visual material

  • MB 912  Ormond papers  c1908-1920

Correspondence with Omond and others, reprints etc., mainly concerning literary matters. 1 volume

  • MB 822  Ngaio Marsh manuscript 1935

'Off With His Head’ [manuscript] Title page and first two pages missing. First published: London: Collins, 1935. Accompanied by a letter from the donor, G.E. Moloney, giving the provenance of the manuscript

  • MB 1004  Writing Research Aotearoa Archive 1998

Transcript of interview conducted by Greg Roughan with Michele Leggot. A release form is included with the transcript

  • MB 1005  Writing Research Aotearoa Archive 1998

Transcripts of interviews conducted by Julia de Friez with Patrick Evans, David Gunby, Elsie Locke and Winston Rhodes as part of her course work for Engl 427. Release forms are included with the transcripts

  • MB 1007  Writing Research Aotearoa Archive 2000

Transcript of interview conducted by John Newton with Heather McPherson. A release form is included with the transcript. Also included: a photocopy of 'Uncool' 1, c1972; correspondence and unpublished poems

  • MB 1008  Writing Research Aotearoa Archive 1999

Transcripts of interviews conducted by Philippa Prebble with Trevor Reeves and Alan Loney. Release forms are included with the transcripts. Title page reads: 'Re-setting the past - small press publishing in the South Island during the 1970s - Caveman and Hawk Press'

  • MB 1010  Writing Research Aotearoa Archive 1997

Transcript of an interview conducted by Frances Adark with Elsie Locke as part of his course work for Engl 427. A release form accompanies the transcript

  • MB 1011  Writing Research Aotearoa Archive 1998

Transcript of an interview conducted by Emily White with Fiona Farrell as part of her course work for Engl 427. A release form accompanies the transcript

  • Bruce Harding papers  c1998

'Formative material' [notes, manuscripts, etc.] for several of Dr. Bruce Harding's publications, namely: 1)'The Oil on the Salad or, 'Being Frank About Frank: The Conjunction of Religious and Judicial Legalisms and the 'Sodomite Rule' in Frank Saregeson's Life and in 'The Hangover 1967'' published in the Journal of New Zealand Literature, No.16, 1998. 2)'Liberal Man Encounters 'Kremlin Man' and Russian Man: The Politics of Exclusion and Meeting of Minds in Bruce Mason's Courting Blackbird and To Russia with Love.' Published in the New Zealand Slavonic Journal 1999. 3) 'The Fruits of High Romantic Bardolatry: Ngaio Marsh's Sub-Shakespearian Violence (or Not Daring to Face the Minotaur?)'

  • MB 1119  Bruce Harding audio tapes

Magnetic audio tapes of interviews with, or on the subject of, various literary figures and topics including: Stevan Eldred Grigg, NZ fiction symposium, Prof. C.D. Ellyett, Flight of the Godwit, Bernard Smith and James K Baxter. Also contains recording of the launch of the ACT party in Christchurch in 1996. Some original material, some copied broadcast material

  • MB 555  James K Baxter papers  c1972

One of New Zealand's best known modern poets and a defender of social outcasts and campaigner against New Zealand drug laws. Founded the Jerusalem commune on the Wanganui River (Maori name Hiruharama) where he spent the last three years of his life. The collection comprises 14 sermons for Easter, Septuagesima Sunday, Pentecost, Ascension, Lent and Palm Sunday

  • MB 1979  Felicity Holland papers 1930-1994

One folder, containing: original poem by Ursula Bethell "for Melva's Birthday"; Photograph: Ursula Bethell, Jess Harris and Felicity Ower; Correspondence from Bethell (x2) notes regarding Ursula Bethell and Kathleen Davis by Barbara Stringleman 14 March 1994; transcript of letter by Ursula Bethell dated June 27 1943,inscribed New Testament from Bethell on the occasion of Ower's Baptism

  • MB 2297  John and Connie Summers papers 1927-2005

This collection contains drafts of articles, stories, verse and drama, together with much correspondence between this couple and a variety of literary and artistic acquaintances. Also contained are war-time diaries of John Summers (who served in the Middle East); and those of his wife Connie (nee Jones) who was imprisoned as a conscientious objector