National Library of Australia

You must be logged in to Tag Records
Papers of Bernard Smith, 1912-2008 [manuscript]
Bib ID 338224
Format ManuscriptManuscript
Smith, Bernard, 1916-2011
Related Online
Access Conditions Available for research. Not for loan. 
Description [1912-2008] 
16.9 m. (102 boxes) + 2 elephant fol. boxes + 1 large fol. item. 

MS 8680 comprises correspondence, principally with Jack Lindsay, 1979-1988, handwritten drafts, notes and typescripts of talks, lectures, addresses, book reviews and articles. There are a large number of drafts of articles, later published in journals and newspapers such as Meanjin, Art and Australia and the Age (8 boxes).

The Acc10.064 instalment consists of Bernard Smith's appointment diaries, daybooks and journals; notebooks for research, overseas travel, exhibitions and journalism; school work books; album of news clippings; various awards, badges and medals including Centenary of Federation medal, Ph.D. (ANU), Doctor of Letters - Honoris Causa (University of Melbourne), Chevalier de L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and honorary Doctorate of Letters (University of Sydney). There are also 20 diaries of Smith's first wife, Kate Smith (Kate Challis) (7 boxes).

The Acc10.088 instalment comprises general and current files titled by subject or correspondent, which include personal and professional correspondence, research notes, conference materials, bibliographies, news clippings, drafts, papers submitted to journals, annual reports, photographs, invitations, book launch ephemera, personal and family papers; art catalogues including Power Institute Gallery catalogues; published articles, lectures and offprints including Sydney University and Power Institute; video and audio cassettes, CD-ROMs and slides; microform of Alderney Papers held in Royal College of Surgeons; diary of 1980 China trip; reviews; exhibition posters; research notebooks; sketch books, loose pencil drawings and watercolours by Smith, including juvenilia; posters advertising art exhibitions and lectures; map of Norfolk Island; and, a small number of papers of Kate Smith (74 boxes, 2 elephant fol. boxes).

The Acc13.037 instalment comprises papers documenting Bernard Smith's professional life as an art historian, writer and lecturer, including notebooks and diaries, correspondence, subject and artists' files, draft manuscripts, steel engravings, photographs, maps and ephemera.The photographs largely comprise images of artworks used in Smith's publications about art relating to the voyages of Captain James Cook, but also of artists and their artworks. The notebooks are autobiographical, used by Smith in the preparation of The boy Adeodatus: the portrait of a lucky young bastard. In addition there is a file pertaining to Smith's role as President of the Australian Academy of the Humanities (1973-1982) (13 boxes, 1 fol. item).


Art historian, lecturer and critic. Bernard Smith was born in 1916 and grew up in the Sydney suburb of Burwood. He studied at the Sydney Teachers' College from 1934-1935, the University of Sydney, 1945-1948, and at the Courtauld Institute of Art and Warburg Institute in London from 1948-1949. He completed his Ph.D. at the Australian National University in 1953-1954. Smith's professional career as a teacher led to his appointment as education officer at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 1945-1952. He lectured in the Department of Fine Arts of the University of Melbourne from 1955, and was appointed reader, 1964-1966. During this period he was also art critic for the Melbourne Age.

Smith was appointed Professor of Contemporary Art and Director of the Power Institute of Fine Arts, Sydney University, in 1967-1977. He was also a fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, and president, 1977-1980. Smith's first major publication was Place, taste and tradition (1945). His publications dating from his time at the University of Sydney include, The architectural character of Glebe, Sydney (1973), Documents on art and taste in Australia: the colonial period, 1770-1914 (ed., 1975), Concerning contemporary art: the Power lectures, 1968-73 (1975) and The Antipodean manifesto: essays in art and history (1976). Other publications include European vision and the South Pacific, 1768-1850 (1960), Australian painting 1788-1960 (1962), The art of Captain Cook's voyages (1985-1987), Imagining the Pacific (1992) and Noel Counihan: artist and revolutionary (1993). The autobiography of his early years, 1916-1940, was published in 1984 as The boy Adeodatus: the portrait of a lucky young bastard.


Manuscript reference no.: MS 8680, MS Acc10.064, MS Acc10.088, MS Acc13.037.

Related Material Bernard Smith interviewed by Hazel de Berg in the Hazel de Berg collection; Located at; National Library of Australia Oral History collection ORAL TRC 1/888-889.  Bernard Smith interviewed by Sheridan Palmer in the Australian art from 1950 to the present oral history project; Located at; National Library of Australia Oral History collection ORAL TRC 6111/1.  Collections of Bernard Smith's correspondence; Located at; State Library of New South Wales. 
Source of Acquisition Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program. 
Index/Finding Aid Note Finding aid available in the Special Collections Reading Room and on the Internet at: 
Subjects Smith, Bernard, 1916-2011 -- Archives.  |  Smith, Bernard, 1916-2011 -- Correspondence.  |  Lindsay, Jack, 1900-1990 -- Correspondence.  |  Mackie, Robert -- Correspondence.  |  Cambitoglou, Alexander -- Correspondence.  |  Wilding, Michael, 1942- -- Correspondence.  |  Power Institute of Fine Arts -- Employees -- Archives.  |  Art historians -- Australia -- Archives.  |  Art critics -- Australia -- Archives.  |  College teachers -- Australia -- Archives.  |  Art.  |  Art, Australian.  |  Art and history.  |  Art criticism -- Australia.
Time Coverage 1912-2008 
Occupation Art historians.  |  Art critics.  |  Academics.
Other authors/contributors Smith, Kate, 1915-1989  |  Lindsay, Jack, 1900-1990
Terms of Use Copying of Bernard Smith's copyright material permitted for research purposes. 


    In the Library

    Request this item to view in the Library's reading rooms using your library card. To learn more about how to request items watch this short online video Help Video.

    Details Collect From
    MS Acc10.064 Special Collections Reading Room
    Access details ... more
    MS Acc10.088 Special Collections Reading Room
    Access details ... more
    MS Acc13.037 Special Collections Reading Room
    Access details ... more
    MS 8680 Special Collections Reading Room
    Access details ... more

    Order a copy

    - Copyright or permission restrictions may apply. We will contact you if necessary.

    Help Video To learn more about Copies Direct watch this short online video Help Video.
    close Can I borrow items from the Library?

    You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video embedded.

    You can view this on the NLA website.

    close What can I get online?

    You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video embedded.

    You can view this on the NLA website.

    close Can I get copies of items from the Library?

    You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video embedded.

    You can view this on the NLA website.

    Members of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Maori communities are advised that this catalogue contains names and images of deceased people. All users of the catalogue should also be aware that certain words, terms or descriptions may be culturally sensitive and may be considered inappropriate today, but may have reflected the author's/creator's attitude or that of the period in which they were written.