In the National Library of Australia
© National Library of Australia, ISBN 0 642 10755 6
Scope and content || Series of Papers || Biographical note || Provenance || Related materials
SCOPE AND CONTENT
The papers that make up this collection were almost entirely created and assembled in Clark’s home in Canberra. There is relatively little material on his teaching, his supervision of postgraduate students or his other official duties at Melbourne University, Canberra University College and the Australian National University. Similarly, there are few papers on his work for the Australia Council, the Australian Society of Authors and other organisations. Instead, the papers document his family life and friendships, his private thoughts and ideas, his travels, the research and writing of all his books and a huge number of articles, lectures, broadcasts, addresses and reviews, and his involvement in public debates and discussions. The bulk of the collection dates from about 1950 until his death in 1991.
The papers include a wide-ranging and substantial correspondence, long runs of diaries and notebooks, the manuscripts and typescripts of books, articles, reviews, lectures and talks, research material for his books, conference papers, business and travel documents, photographs, newspaper cuttings and printed ephemera.
Apart from the diaries and notebooks, most of the papers had been kept by Clark in manila folders, sometimes very large, and usually with a title in his handwriting. Some were kept in filing cabinets in his study, but others were in cupboards in other rooms or in boxes under the house.
Although often scattered, many of the files formed sequences and these sequences have generally been preserved in the series arrangement imposed by the Library. This is especially true of the general correspondence (Series 1), travel files (Series 10) and the papers relating to Clark’s publications and other writings (Series 11-28). For preservation reasons, the contents of the folders were transferred to acid-free envelope folders, with the exception of the research materials for A history of Australia (Series 17). However, the contents of folders were not rearranged in any way and the evidence of Clark’s erratic and inconsistent filing methods has therefore been preserved. As many of the manila folders were extremely large, with a single folder sometimes filling a box, it was often necessary to divide the contents into two or more envelope folders. Where this has been done, small Roman numerals have been added to the titles on the folders. Thus Correspondence 1957 (i) and Correspondence 1957 (ii) indicate that the original folder has been divided into two. Similarly, in the series descriptions below, where a title is preceded by multiple file numbers it can be inferred that there was originally one folder which has been divided by the Library into two or more parts.
SERIES OF PAPERS
1. General correspondence, 1939-91
2. Diaries, 1938-91
3. Notebooks, 1937-77
4. Newspaper cuttings, 1938-54
5. University of Melbourne, 1937-49
6. Canberra University College, 1953-60
7. Australian National University, 1960-76
8. Harvard University, 1975-79
9. Australian Council for the Arts, 1973
10. Journeys, 1955-91
11. The ideal of Alexis de Tocqueville, 1938-50
12. Select documents in Australian history, 1948-56
13. Alexander Harris, Settlers and Convicts, 1952-64
14. Meeting Soviet Man, 1958-60
15. A short history of Australia, 1961-92
16.A history of Australia: drafts
17. A history of Australia: research materials, 1960-86
18. A history of Australia: correspondence and reviews, 1960-91
19. Short stories
20. The Boyer Lectures, 1975-88
21. In search of Henry Lawson, 1977-88
22. Occasional writings and speeches, 1979-81
23. A history of Australia — the Musical, 1980-89
24. The puzzles of childhood, 1907-91
25. The quest for grace, 1989-91
26. A historian’s apprenticeship, 1990-91
27. Manuscripts, 1931-91
28. Lectures, 1940-87
29. Subject files, 1936-91
30. Family correspondence, 1958-75
31. Miscellaneous papers, 1937-90
Charles Manning Hope Clark was born in Burwood, Sydney, on 3 March 1915, the second son of the Reverend Charles Clark and his wife Catherine née Hope. When he was six the family moved to Phillip Island, Western Port, Victoria, and then in 1924 they settled in Belgrave, near Melbourne. Clark was educated at Belgrave State School and Mont Albert Central School and in 1928 he won a scholarship to Melbourne Grammar School. From 1934 to 1938 he read History and Political Science at the University of Melbourne, graduating with first class honours.
In August 1938 Clark sailed for England to pursue his studies at Balliol College, Oxford. He was accompanied by Hilma Dymphna Lodewyckx, whom he married at Oxford on 31 January 1939. He began a thesis on the French political philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville, carrying out research in both England and France. Late in 1939 he took up a teaching post at Blundell’s School at Tiverton, Devon. In July 1940 the Clarks left England to return to Australia and Manning was offered a position at Geelong Grammar School. He continued his work on de Tocqueville and on completing his thesis in 1944 was awarded a Master of Arts degree at Melbourne University.
In May 1944 Clark left Geelong to become a Lecturer in Political Science at Melbourne University. Two years later, at the request of Professor R.M. Crawford, he began to lecture in Australian History, which was to be his passion for the rest of his life. In 1949 he was appointed Professor of History at Canberra University College. In 1960 the College merged with the Australian National University and Clark continued to be Professor and Head of the History Department in the School of General Studies until December 1971. He remained in the Department for a further four years as the first Professor of Australian History. He was a Fellow of both the Australian Academy of the Humanities and the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia.
While living in Melbourne in the late 1940s Clark began collecting sources on Australian history which led to his first publication Select documents in Australian history 1788-1850 (1950). The second volume, covering the period 1850-1900, was published in 1955 and Clark then turned to writing his greatest work, A history of Australia. The first volume was published in 1962 and the sixth and final volume appeared in 1987, four years before his death. It was the most ambitious work ever undertaken by an Australian historian. It reached an exceptionally large audience and Clark was both admired and condemned for his highly personal view of history, his concern with grand themes, ideas and conflicts rather than dry facts and figures, and his unique literary style. Other books written by Clark included Sources of Australian history (1957), Meeting Soviet man (1960), A short history of Australia (1963), Disquiet and other stories (1969) and In search of Henry Lawson (1977). In his last years he wrote three volumes of autobiography.
From the 1960s until his death Clark was the most famous historian in Australia and one of the best-known public intellectuals. He accepted numerous invitations to write for newspapers, give lectures and broadcasts, and address academic, literary, cultural and political organisations and societies throughout Australia. He also travelled widely overseas. He spoke about Australian and world history, and also on a great range of political, social and literary themes. His political statements were at times highly provocative and his broad generalisations, dire prophecies and oracular style often infuriated conservatives and made him a controversial figure. Some of his books and lectures provoked intense public debate. He had a huge legion of admirers and in his last years received many honours: honorary doctorates, literary prizes, a Companion of the Order of Australia (1975) and the title Australian of the Year (1981). Geoffrey Serle wrote that ‘as no one else Clark greatly increased public consciousness of Australian history and widened the imaginative horizons of innumerable compatriots’.
Manning Clark died in Canberra on 23 May 1991. He was survived by Dymphna and their six children.
Manning Clark’s association with the National Library extended over forty years and much of his research for A history of Australia was carried out in its reading rooms. In the final volume, published in 1987, he wrote that ‘The Petherick Room, the Manuscripts Room, and the Newspaper Room are present in every page of this volume, just as they are present always in my heart’.
In 1988 Clark began transferring papers from his home to the Library and they were formally presented under the Taxation Incentives for the Arts Scheme in April 1989. Further donations under the Scheme were made in January 1990, June 1990 and May 1991, a few days before his death. The papers received in 1989-91 make up the bulk of the collection. They include most of the correspondence, the drafts of his books and other writings, and the research material for A history of Australia.
In his will Clark bequeathed his papers and unpublished works to the Library on condition that they be closed until the year 2000. The remaining papers were received from Dymphna Clark in 1994-95. They included his diaries, notebooks and further correspondence, including some substantial files of letters from major correspondents. Some correspondence, manuscript articles and references were also transferred from the History Department at the Australian National University.
The portrait of Manning Clark by Arthur Boyd was bequeathed by Clark to the Library but, in accordance with the terms of the bequest, is currently in the custody of the Clark Family.
A collection of 94 photographs of Manning and Dymphna Clark and their family were lent for copying by the Clark Family in 1995. The copies are held in the Pictorial Section. In addition, there are photographic portraits of Clark by Jeff Carter, Heide Smith and Alec Bolton.
Several interviews with Clark are held in the Oral History Section. The interviewers were Hazel de Berg, 1967 (DeB 253-54), Don Baker, 1985 (TRC 1187), Neville Meaney, 1986-87 (TRC 2053), Michelle Rowland, 1986 (TRC 2141) and Terry Lane, 1990 (ROH 907.2092 C594). A recording of Clark’s address to the National Press Club in 1987 is also held (TRC 4036).
Bridge, Carl, ed., Manning Clark; essays on his place in history, Melbourne, Melbourne University Press, 1994
Holt, Stephen, Manning Clark and Australian history, 1915-1963, Brisbane, University of Queensland Press, 1982
Holt, Stephen, A short history of Manning Clark, Sydney, Allen and Unwin, 1999