Scope and Content
The Deakin Papers form one of the finest political collections in Australia. They cover most of Deakin's life, and, above all, document the Federation movement of the 1890s and the first decade of the Commonwealth. In addition to the extensive correspondence and other papers on Australian politics and government, there are many diaries, notebooks and manuscripts in which Deakin set down his religious and philosophical reflections, extracts and commentaries on his readings, verse and other literary writings. There is a wide range of material in the papers, including correspondence, diaries, notebooks, literary manuscripts, legal briefs, official documents and publications, press clippings, pamphlets, books, certificates, posters, menus, programs, receipts, photographs, briefcases and memorabilia. Most of the correspondence was written to Deakin, but there are many letters that he wrote to his family and drafts or copies of some of his other letters.
The Deakin Papers have been arranged into twenty-three series, each of which has been described. In addition, all the correspondence in the collection has been indexed.
The collection is available for reference.
On 3 December 1965 Ivy Brookes, the eldest daughter of Alfred Deakin, formally presented the Deakin Papers to the Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies, for permanent preservation in the National Library.
After Deakin's death in 1919 his papers remained in the possession of his widow, Pattie, until her death in 1934. They were used extensively by Herbert Brookes, and by Professor Walter Murdoch while he was working on the first biography of Deakin, published in 1923. In 1945 the Deakin Papers were examined by an officer of the National Library and it was agreed that the papers would ultimately be deposited in the Library.
In 1948 Professor R.M. Crawford of the University of Melbourne became custodian of the papers on the understanding that either an extensive selection of documents or a biography would be based on them. Subsequently his colleague, Professor J.A. La Nauze, began Deakin's biography and the papers remained in his custody until the work was completed in 1965. From time to time other papers relating to Deakin were added to the original collection by Herbert and Ivy Brookes, Lady Rivett and Sir Thomas and Lady White. Professors Crawford and La Nauze also added letters or copies of Deakin letters that they had acquired from other sources.
Copying and Publishing
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.
Refer to the subject guide Special collections relating to Alfred Deakin and Pattie Deakin in the National Library of Australia.
Items from this collection should be cited as '[Title or description of manuscript item], Papers of Alfred Deakin, National Library of Australia, MS 1540, [series or subseries number and item number(s)]'.
Other Forms Available
The Deakin Papers were microfilmed in 1999, with the exception of Series 21 and 22 which comprise printed material. An index of the microfilm reels is available.
In 2002 the National Library, in collaboration with Deakin University, began digitising a selection of material from the Deakin Papers. Those series selected for digitisation are Series 2, 7, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15 and 16, together with the photograph albums in Series 19. Please note that where printed items were duplicated within these series, the duplicates have not been digitised.
A small number of items from Series 6 have also been digitised as part of the National Treasures from Australia's Great Libraries exhibition (http://nationaltreasures.nla.gov.au).
The items that have been digitised are available online through this finding aid.