The original consignment of papers relate primarily to West's writings. There are manuscript drafts of many of his novels; scripts for plays; scripts for film adaptations of several of his novels; drafts of articles he wrote; and typescripts of speeches. There are a large number of newspaper and journal cuttings of articles written by or about West, together with reviews of many of his publications. Only a small component of correspondence is include and relates mainly to publication of West's books. There is one file of personal correspondence, which is between West and his friend G. Emmett Cardinal Carter, Archbishop Emeritus of Toronto. There is a large group of portrait photographs of West and biographical material in the form of transcripts of interviews together with cassette recordings of interviews or talks given by him on radio and at events. As part of his research for an unrealised project, West acquired a group of files relating to the Orr Case. Much of the content of the files seems to have been compiled by Orr himself, and these files are included in the collection.
The consignment of papers added in 2016 comprises papers that document West’s life and career. There is correspondence, photographs, ephemera, newspaper and journal cuttings, certificates of achievement, awards, and sketchbooks containing drawings by West. Correspondence includes letters to West from Alfred Hitchcock, Estee Lauder, Patricia Nixon, H.M. Queen Frederica of Greece, and Miles, Duke of Norfolk together with carbon copies of West's letters to Father Tony Glynn in Japan. Invitations are to events with significant people including the Queen and Prince Phillip, President Lyndon Johnson, President Jimmy Carter, President George W. Bush, the King and Queen of the Belgians, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the Prince and Princess of Wales, and Prime Minister Bob Hawke.
Novelist and journalist. Morris West published over thirty books during the course of his career, many on the subjects of religion and political intrigue. Several of his books were made into films. West also wrote plays and was a prolific contributor of articles to journals and newspapers, in which he commented on a wide range of current affairs. In 1983, West established the Morris West Trust at the National Library of Australia, to be used for the publishing and disseminating of material of national value in the collection. He was Chairman of the National Library of Australia Council from 1985 to 1988.