The content of this collection spans most of Dr Smith's career and consists of five different instalments between 1975 and 2004. The collection includes correspondence, manuscript poetry, transcripts of interviews, publications (including copies of Smith's published poems), articles by or about Smith, reviews, newspaper cuttings, works by other poets and writers, ephemera, notebooks, Smith's PhD thesis on Vance and Nettie Palmer, research notes relating to Smith's publications on the Palmers, including original and photocopied letters of Vance and Nettie Palmer, notebooks and typescript drafts. Also included are papers relating to Smith's position in the English Department at the University of Sydney, and his role as literary editor of Quadrant. Correspondents include leading Australian literary figures such as Gwen Harwood, Alec Bolton, Rosemary Dobson, Les Murray, Gary Catalano, Murray Bail, and Thomas Shapcott. Three appendices of correspondents are included at the end of the finding aid.
Vivian Brian Smith, an Australian academic is also a poet and literary critic. Smith was born in Hobart in 1933. Editor of Letters of Vance and Nettie Palmer 1915-1963, published by the National Library in 1977. From 1975 to 1990 he was the Literary Editor of Quadrant. In 1982 he won the Grace Leven Prize for poetry and in 1983 the Kenneth Slessor Prize for poetry. After obtaining a Ph.D in English he taught at the University of Sydney from 1967-1996, progressing to the position of Reader. In 1997 he won the Patrick White Award and in 2000 a Centenary Medal for service to Australian society and the humanities in the study of Australian literature. Dr Smith has written, edited or co-edited numerous books on poetry and other subjects, such as Vance and Nettie Palmer. Some of his titles include The other meaning (1956), James McAuley's recent poetry (1964), Vance Palmer (1971), Letters of Vance and Nettie Palmer (1977), Tide country (1982), Quadrant, twenty-five years (1982, co-edited with Peter Coleman and Lee Shrubb), Selected poems (1985), Nettie Palmer: her private journal "Fourteen years", poems, reviews and literary essays (1988, edited by Smith), New selected poems (1995), Late news (2000), Patrick White: a bibliography (2004, co-edited with Brian Huber), Windchimes: Asia in Australian poetry (1986, co-edited with Noel Rowe), and, Along the line (2007).