The collection comprises personal papers of Harry Hastings Pearce & papers of early twentieth century Australian literary figures collected by Pearce. Pearce's personal papers include family & general correspondence, diaries, family & biographical papers; notebooks, scrapbooks; writings by Pearce including poetry, articles, speeches & pamphlets; subject files, photographs, drawings, articles, publications & other papers. Papers relate to Pearce's lifelong interests in Australian poetry & literature, folklore, book collecting, the rationalist & freethought movements in Australia & N.Z., involvement in organisations including the Henry Lawson Memorial & Literary Society, Bread and Cheese Club, Australian Poetry Lovers' Society & the Folklore Society of Victoria, & his works 'The true John Shaw Neilson' & "On the origins of Waltzing Matilda". The manuscript material collected by Pearce includes correspondence, literary manuscripts, notebooks, scrapbooks & other personal papers of Bernard O'Dowd, E.J. Turner, Henry Lawson, Ethel & G.W. Fielding, John Shaw Neilson, Alfred John Jarvis, Edward Harrington, Marie Pitt, E.J. Brady & others.