MS 970 comprises a manuscript letter addressed to Bill (Farmer Whyte) written by Mary Gilmore on 16 July 1950, King's Cross, Sydney, suggesting that Whyte write an article on the artists Byram Mansell and Maria Kuhn. Included is a verse by Mary Gilmore, dated 14 July 1950. The collection also includes two manuscript letters written by W.M. Hughes to Farmer Whyte. The letter of 3 March 1944, written in Canberra, concerns the writing of Hughes' biography by Whyte. The other letter is dated 4 January 1946 and was written at Lindfield, Sydney (1 folder).
Journalist and author. William Farmer Whyte was born at Bombala, New South Wales, in 1877 and attended Bombala and Orange Superior Public Schools. After working for the Bombala times and as a journalist in Sydney, Whyte became sub-editor on the New Zealand Herald and travelled to New Zealand, 1907-1910. He also visited Samoa and Tonga and contributed to the Cyclopedia of Samoa (Sydney, 1907) and collaborated with H.J. Moors on With Stevenson in Samoa (London, 1910). In 1910 Whyte toured the United States where he interviewed President Taft, Andrew Carnegie and Thomas Edison for articles commissioned by various Australian newspapers. Whyte joined the Sydney morning herald and became known for his forceful wartime editorials. In 1918 he chaired the Australian Journalists' Association's inquiry into education for journalists.
Whyte was appointed to newspaper editorships with the Brisbane Daily mail, 1918-1921, and the Sydney Daily telegraph, 1921-1923. In 1927 he joined the federal parliamentary press gallery in Canberra and conducted the Federal News Service, supplying political articles and his The Canberra times column, "Over the Speaker's chair" to country newspapers throughout Australia. In 1937-1939 he edited a monthly magazine, Australian national review. In 1952 Whyte edited the Australian parliamentary handbook and in 1957 he published a biography of William Hughes titled William Morris Hughes: his life and times. Whyte died in Canberra in 1958.