MS 8890
Papers of the David Family

Scope and Content Note

  • Papers
  • 1823-1992
  • 2.2 metres (13 boxes) + 1 folio
  • Restricted until Anne Edgeworth's death

The papers were purchased by the Library in 1995 from Ms Anne Edgeworth

The papers relate to members of Anne Edgeworth's family, chiefly her grandfather Sir Tannatt Edgeworth David, her grandmother Caroline David, her mother Margaret Edgeworth McIntyre, and her aunt Mary Edgeworth David. The collection dates from the 1820s to the 1980s and is arranged by family member. All the series contain family correspondence.

The Edgeworth David component includes honours, letters of sympathy and tributes after his death, photographs, articles by and about him, and reprints of some of his papers. Included in the many letters to his family is a typescript of a letter written at Granite Harbour on 1 November 1908, to be opened by his wife Caroline in the event of his death during the Antarctic expedition. There is also the typescript of a letter written on the same day to Lieutenant E. H . Shackleton, the commander of the Nimrod.

A diary kept by Caroline David at Funafuti and later published in 1899 as 'the unscientific account of a scientific expedition' is in Series 2. There is extensive material on the Samurai sword given in gratitude to her husband by the leader of the first Japanese Antarctic Expedition in 1912, and later presented to the Australian Museum by the David family.

Margaret McIntyre's papers include her writings and papers on community schools and centres.

Mary (Molly) David's papers have a large component of letters to her niece Anne Edgeworth, and many business letters written by Anne on behalf of her aunt, negotiating the publication of 'Letters to Meg'. Handwritten drafts and illustrated typescripts of the unpublished 'Letters to Meg', as well as original typescripts with annotations of Passages of Time and Professor David, form an interesting part of the collection.

Biographical Note

Sir Tannatt William Edgeworth David, 1858-1934

The geologist and Antarctic explorer Tannatt Edgeworth David was born in Glamorganshire, Wales, in 1858, son of the Reverend William David and Margaret Thomson. It was from the Thomson family that the names Tannatt and Edgeworth came.

He arrived in Australia in November 1882 to fill a position of assistant geological surveyor for the New South Wales Government, and three years later married Caroline Mallett whom he had met on the voyage to Sydney. In 1897 he and his wife joined a geological expedition to Funafuti, an atoll on the Ellice Islands, to investigate the origin of coral reef formations in the Pacific, and ten years later he accompanied Shackleton's expedition to the Antarctic (1907-9)

His reputation as an explorer, writer and lecturer was world wide. Edgeworth David's appointments at the University of Sydney included Professor of Geology and Physical Geography, 1891-1924, Chairman of the Professorial Board, and Dean of the Faculty of Science. His Geological map of the Commonwealth of Australia and a volume of Explanatory notes were published in 1932. He published 150 scientific publications and a considerable number of articles in newspapers and journals. The main David Papers with their geological emphasis are held at the University of Sydney.

He was knighted in 1920 and honoured with a Commonwealth and State funeral in 1934.

Caroline Martha David, 1856-1951

Caroline David had a long and distinguished career of service to the community. She came to Australia in 1882 to be the first woman principal of the Hurlstone Teachers Training College in Sydney, and met her future husband, Edgeworth David, on the voyage out.

In 1897 she accompanied David to Funafuti, made friends with the islanders, and kept a diary. An unscientific account of the expedition, based on the diary, was published in 1899. To her regret the published Funafuti : or, three months on a coral island did not contain her very candid social observations.

Caroline David was involved in many community organizations and was president of the Women's National Movement for Social Reform which successfully campaigned for 6 o'clock closing. She was well known as a platform speaker throughout New South Wales, especially at meetings concerning the well being of women and children.

Margaret Edgeworth McIntyre, 1886-1948

Community worker and author of many articles on politics and welfare, Margaret Edgeworth McIntyre, eldest daughter of Caroline and Edgeworth David, spent most of her married life in Launceston where her husband William Keverall McIntyre was a medical practitioner.

As well as bringing up four children, Margaret was involved in community and welfare activities, particularly those concerned with education and youth. She was State Commissioner for Girl Guides for a number of years. A great interest was education for constructive leisure, and directing plays was how she used her leisure time constructively, for plays drew members of the community together. She was awarded an OBE in 1948 for services to the community.

Her tragic death in a plane crash near Tamworth came after only six months in Parliament. Her win in the seat of Cornwall as an independant in 1948 made her the first woman to be elected to the Tasmanian State Parliament.

Mary Edgeworth David, 1888-1987

Conservationist and writer Mary Edgeworth David, second daughter of the Edgeworth Davids, lived an almost self sufficient life on a hectare of land in Hornsby, dying in her 99th year in 1987.

Mary David wrote a biography of her father, Professor David (1937), and she also wrote about her parents, her family, and her own life in Passages of time (1975), a book that was very well received. Letters to Meg: an old-eye view, reminiscences in the form of illustrated letters to her sister Margaret, had not found a publisher at the time of her death.

An example of her versatility was her undertaking a mechanics course in 1915 so she could service the family car.

Series List

  1. Sir Tannatt William Edgeworth David, 1858-1934
  2. Caroline Martha David, 1856-1951
  3. Margaret Edgeworth McIntyre, 1886-1948
  4. Mary Edgeworth David, 1888-1987

Series Descriptions

SERIES 1. Sir Tannatt William Edgeworth David, 1858-1934

The earliest of the letters in the Thomson and Edgeworth David family correspondence is one in 1823 from William Thomson to Tannatt Thomson. Tannatt Thomson's daughter Margaret married the Reverend William David, Edgeworth David's father. The early letters are listed in folder 1 and include David's letters to his aunt Sarah (1882-1904) telling of his engagement and marriage to Caroline Mallett and of the deaths of his father (1897) and his mother (1903), and his letters to his uncle Charles, 1882-3. The letters to his wife and family cover the years 1903-34 and include letters to his mother, his brother Edmund and sister-in-law Laura, his son and daughters, his son-in-law, and his grandchildren. Several of the letters were written on board the Nimrod en route to the Antarctica.

There are letters from the University of Queensland on geological matters, and letters from the University of Sydney, mainly to Anne Godfrey-Smith (Anne Edgeworth) concerning Sir Edgeworth's papers. There is correspondence on the gift of his Antarctic and Arctic books to the Antarctic Division, Department of Science, Tasmania.

Also in the series are photographs, details of his State funeral, a photocopy of Professor David's British Antarctic Expedition notes, newspaper cuttings, articles and reprints, and two sketchbooks of his mother Margaret Thomson. The titles of the reprints are listed in the Appendix. The photographs include a staff and student reception for Professor David in the Great Hall of Sydney University on his return from the Antarctic, his State funeral, and family members.

1-2   Thomson and David family letters, 1823-96                           

3     Letters to Caroline, 1906-11, 1919                                    

4     Letters to family members, 1903-16                                    

5     Letters to family members, 1917                                       

6     Letters to family members, 1918-34                                    

7     Copy of letter from Granite Harbour (to be opened by his wife or      
      Copy of letter to E. H. Shackleton, 1 Nov 1908                         
      Copy of letter to the Commander of the Nimrod,1 Nov 1908               
      Copy of letter to his brother Edmund, en route to the Antarctic, 1908  
      Copy of letter to Laura from a hospital in France, 1916                

8     Letters to Dr F. W. Whitehouse, Sir Douglas Mawson and others,        
      mainly on the Talgai skull, 1924-28                                           

9     Letters to David on geological matters including Talgai skull, 1921-34

10    Letters from family members, including Ethel and son Bill, 1880-1928;
      appointment as Professor, 1891 ; will of W. O. David       

11    Letters to family members on the death of Edgeworth David            

12    Order of service for funeral, tributes, articles, Extracts from the  
records of Parliament : resolutions and speeches relating to the 
      death 1934...    

13    Letters mainly to Anne Godfrey-Smith, 1967-88, concerning David's    
      Antarctic books and personal archives                                            

14    Honours, Saint Michael & Saint George, letters re medals             

15    David and Ussher family trees; David family tree compiled by 
      Rev W. David in 1894; biographical information                                      

16    Photographs                                                          

17    Articles by Professor David Branigan, Dr W. R. Browne, and Sir       
      Raymond  Priestley                                                      

18-19 Newspaper cuttings, 1920s-1992                                    

20    Photocopy of David's notes of the British Antarctic Expedition, 1907-1909                                                              

21-22 Reprints from journals (see Appendix)                             

23    Miscellaneous - publications, invitations, manuscript of poem by     
      Bill David.                                                             

1-2   Sketchbooks of his mother Margaret Thomson, 1853 and undated Album 
      of newspaper cuttings, mostly Antarctic Expedition, 1891-1924    

SERIES 2. Caroline Martha David, 1856-1951

In this series are Caroline David's 'unscientific' diary kept at Funafuti and later published by John Murray, London 1899, as well as a letter to a friend Mrs Scott, concerning the diary.

There is considerable material on the Samurai sword, its history, press cuttings, photographs and correspondence. The sword was presented to Professor David in 1912 by Lieutenant Nobu Shirase, leader of the first Japanese Antarctic expedition. Shirase's ship was forced into Sydney Harbour when supplies ran low, and the hostile Australian authorities impounded the vessel and treated the crew as spies. They were eventually rescued by David and as a token of goodwill and gratitude he was presented with the sword that had been presented to Shirase by the Emperor of Japan. The 350 year old sword, worth a reported five figure sum, is on display at the the Australian Museum as part of the Antarctic, geological and scientific display.

Included in the series is a letter to her future husband, found in his locked box of treasures, on faith, the Church, and their love; a 29 page typescript of a biography of Caroline by Joyce Collins (1981); and the manuscript of 'Parental responsibility in education', a paper read before a womens' club, 1902.

In letters, Caroline (Cara) is often addressed as 'Mootie', a corruption of the German word for 'mother'.

24    Funafuti diary, 1897                                                 

25    Letter to Mrs Scott, 1898                                            
      Letters to family, 1898, 1915-18, 1926-51                              

26    Letters from Bill, 1917-45 and partner Sunny Wolf, 1928; photograph  
      of Caroline and Mary at Chillon Castle, near Nyon, 1926; photographs 
      of Bill's grave, Nyon Cemetry                                                    

27    Letters to Caroline, 1908-45                                         

28    Testimonial from the Women's National Movement, 10 June 1916, as     
      leader of the successful movement for 6'o'clock closing                

29    Letters about Caroline David, 1986                                   

30    Biographies                                                          

31    Extracts from reviews of Funafuti; annotated circular of Democratic  
      Party,  1944                                                            

32-36 Material on Samurai sword                                         

32    Correspondence, 1911, 1979                                           

33    Correspondence, 1980-85                                              

34    History of the sword                                                 

35    Press cuttings, 1979                                                 

36    Photographs                                                          

SERIES 3. Margaret Edgeworth McIntyre, 1886-1948

Margaret McIntyre's letters to her husband, her parents, and other members of her family cover the years 1906-48. There are articles and newspaper clippings about her and many of the broadcasts and addresses she gave. Some of the topics she spoke about were the community school, the community centre and adult education, and the effect of the new education on the Girl Guide movement.

The material on her death includes biographical information compiled by Anne Edgeworth, family letters, condolences, the Memorial Service address, and newspaper clippings.

37    Letters to husband Keverall, 1906-9, 1934                            

38    Letters to her father, 1908, 1915, 1931; letters to family members,  

39    Letters to her mother, 1915-16                                       

40    Letters to her family, 1936-48                                       

41    Letters from family and friends, 1906-18                             

42    Letters from Bill, 1915-18                                           

43-44 Letters from Dorothy Crerar, 1915-17, 1918                        

45    Letters of condolence, obituaries, newspapers cuttings on her death  

46-47 Broadcasts and addresses, including 'The community School', 'The  
      community  centre and adult education', 'Effect of the new education    
      on guiding'                                                             

48    Articles, newspaper clippings about Margaret McIntyre, undated, 
      1948, 1950                                                              

SERIES 4. Mary Edgeworth David, 1888-1987

There are more letters in this series than in the others as Molly David was a prolific letter writer later in life, particularly to her niece Annabel (Anne Edgeworth). There are letters to Kath Moss who owned a property and took over Molly's sheep and goats when she could no longer look after them. There are many letters from an admiring public for her second publication Passages of time.

There are handwritten drafts of 'Letters to Meg: an old-eye view', reminiscences in the form of illustrated letters to her sister Margaret. The theatrical notebook in the collection was kept at 53 Burdett Street, Hornsby, where Molly David produced one-act plays.

The miscellaneous folders include an undated address book, drafts of letters, jottings, notes, accounts and receipts, 1936-51, postcards, the constitution and rules of the Edgeworth David Society, an article 'Locating coal seams in the Hunter Valley with Edgeworth David" and a pencil sketchbook.

49-64 Personal Correspondence, 1904-84                                  

49    Letters to her brother and sister, 1904-37                           

50    Letters to her mother, 1911-37                                       

51-52 Letters to Archie and Anne McIntyre, 1948-72; 1973-84             

53-55 Letters to Annabel (Anne Edgeworth), 1974-79; 1980; 1981-2        

56-57 Letters from family, 1918-79; 1980-84                             

58    Letters concerning the biography of her father, 1937-39              

59    Letters from A. K. McIntyre, 1976-85                                 

60-61 Letters from public about Passages of Time, 1975-76; 1977-85      

62    Letters from Kath Moss, 1978-85                                      

63    Letters from Densey Clyne & others on farm matters, 1955-84          

64    Letters of sympathy to Anne Edgeworth on death of her aunt, 1987     

65-70 Business Correspondence, 1937-86                                  

65    Edward Arnold (Publishers) concerning biography Professor David      

66    University of Queensland concerning Passages of Time,1972-86         

67    Sydney University, Council of the City of Greater Cessnock, Library  
      Council of NSW, 1972-84                                                

68    Pump Press (Gerald & Gwenda Fischer), 1977-84                        

69    Letters of appreciation for interviews etc                           

70    Redress Press, 1983-4. Correspondence with Anne Edgeworth on behalf  
      of her aunt regarding publication of 'Letters to Meg'; publishing and  
      option agreements                                                             

71    Birth certificate, power of attorney, cremation papers, property,    
      1950-85, land valuations                                                        

72    Professor David (original typescript with annotations)               

73-81 Passages of Time/Triptych                                         
 Early typescripts with handwritten sections                            
      Original typescript with annotations                                   
      Later typescript with editoral annotations                             

82-89 'Letters to Meg: an old eye view'                                 
      2 illustrated typescripts                                              
      Handwritten draft                                                      
      Mixed handwritten and typed segments                                   
      Typescript without illustrations                                       

90    Theatrical notebook; photographs of plays at Burdett Street; 'The    
      eldest son'- a fairy story for Anne Edgeworth on her birthday, 1929;
      information on writing TV plays                                                               

91    Newspapers articles and reviews of Passages of time, 1975-80         

92-93 Miscellaneous                                                     



Reprints of publications of Professor Edgeworth David

Glacial action in the neighbourhood of Cardiff, 1881

Glacial action in Australasia (pre 1900?)

University Science Teaching, 1902

The aims and ideals of Australasian science (Inaugural address, Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science), 1904

Geological notes on Kosciusko, with special reference to evidences of glacial action, 1908

Evidence of recent submergence of coast at Narrabeen, 1908

Presidential address (delivered to the Royal Society of New South Wales, 1911)

Presidential address (delivered to the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science, 1913)

Geology of the Commonwealth

David Memorial Lectures

Some founders of Australian geology, 1933

Tannatt William Edgeworth David 1858-1934, 1936

Addition December 1998

In this addition are letters from William Keverall McIntyre to Margaret Edgeworth David, before and after their marriage in 1909, and to members of the David family; a letter from Keverall to his son Archie written in France in 1916, and three letters from Archie, a medical student at the time, to his father in the 1930s; 2 letters from Margaret McIntyre and one from Tannatt Edgeworth David to his grandson, Archie, in 1932.

Papers concerning Keverall McIntyre include a brief biography to accompany letters from him during 1915-16, copies of his Military Cross citation and a Despatch he was mentioned in, a copy of a reference from the Captain of the Royal Army Medical Corps in which he served, and a list of papers relating to Dr W. K. McIntyre and family deposited with the Community History Department of the Victoria Museum in Launceston.

There are also several photographs of the David family including one of Professor T. W. Edgeworth David, a photograph of Margaret David before her marriage and a photograph of her grave in Tamworth cemetery, taken in 1994.


  1. Letters from Keverall McIntyre (W.K.M) to Margaret David, 1906-09
  2. Letters from W.K.M to Margaret and his parents-in-law, Cara and Tannatt Edgeworth David (TWED), 1915-16
  3. Letter from W.K.M to his son Archie, 1916, a letter from TWED to his grandson Archie, 1932, and letters from Archie, a medical student, to his father, 1934-36
  4. Letters from Margaret McIntyre to Colin Jones after the death of her father, 1934, and to Hugh Ramsay on her OBE, 1948
    Letters concerning Margaret McIntyre’s grave, 1989, 1994
  5. Papers concerning William Keverall McIntyre
  6. Photographs and miscellaneous items

Addition February 1999

The photographs in this addition date from the late 1800s to the 1930s. There is an album of photographs of the David family and clan, South Wales, including Edgeworth David’s grandparents, Evan and Ann, parents, William and Margaret, aunt, Sarah, sister, Ethel, and other family members. There are also photographs of the Rev. William David and the choir of St. Fagan’s Anglican Church, Llandaff, Wales; a David family group taken at St Fagan’s Rectory, 1897; portraits and photographs of Rev. William David and family, and a photograph of his grave at St Fagan’s Church, Llandaff, South Wales. Edgeworth David’s father died in 1897.

Included in the Tannatt Edgeworth David photographs are portraits taken after his return from the Antarctic, 1909, prints of original photographs from the Shackleton Antarctic Expedition, 1907-9, an official National Museum photograph of the David Samurai sword display, photographs of the David family, including Edgeworth David’s wife, Caroline, and daughters, Margaret and Molly, photographs of friends and colleagues, and the funeral of Edgeworth David (1934).

Included with this addition is Volume 1 of The Faerie Queene. Edgeworth David took the volume to the Magnetic Pole with him.

Addition November 1999

Correspondence between John Edward (Ned) Touche (formerly Touch), Tannatt William Edgeworth David and Caroline (Cara) Martha David during the years 1989 to 1943. There are also letters from Margaret (Madge) Edgeworth McIntyre (nee David), from Mary (Molly) Edgeworth David and from William David to Edward Touche. Two letters from George Touche to Edward Touche are about an accident to David and his recovery. There are also newspaper clippings about David, a reprint of one of his papers, handwritten copies of a Sydney morning herald article ‘Formation of coral reefs’ and of a poem, and 3 sketches of coral reefs by David

The letters cover family news such as children’s activities, health, congratulations on the birth of children and professional activities and arrangements for visits and there are letters of thanks for visits and gifts. Letters are written from diverse places, such as the mail train from Brisbane to Sydney; Ashfield in Sydney; the Geological Society in London after an accident; when travelling overland from Durban to Cape Town; the Raglan Barracks, Devonport; and on the S.S. Moldavia nearing Cocos-Keeling Island.

The papers were donated by the Touche Family, through Dr Murray L. David Touche, grandson of J. E. Touch, and the donation arranged by Dr David Branagan.

The papers are restricted until 2004, or until the death of Anne Edgeworth, whichever is soonest.

Box List

Box    Series    Folder                                                 

1         1       1-8                                                           
2         1       9-16                                                          
3         1      17-23                                                         
4         2      24-36                                                         
5         3      37-48                                                         
6         4      49-59                                                         
7         4      60-70                                                         
8         4      71-77                                                         
9         4      78-85                                                         
10        4      86-93                                                        
11        Add.   94-99
12        Add.   Photographs
13        Add.   1-4

1         1                                                                  
Compiled December 1995, Amended February 2000