The private papers of Australian academic and feminist Germaine Greer, housed in 150 filling cabinets, will go to the University of Melbourne at a cost of $3 million.
Greer, aged 74, went to Melbourne University and became one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th and 21st centuries, touching the lives of millions.
Included in the archive are early drafts of her 1970 book The Female Eunuch and letters from family, friends, writers, artists, academics, broadcasters, editors, scholars, critics, politicians and neighbours.
Greer says she has rarely thrown anything out during her adult life.
“Archives are the pay dirt of history,” she says. “Everything else is opinion. At a certain point you actually need documents.”
The University of Melbourne has raised more than $900,000 and is seeking $3 million to cover shipping, cataloguing, housing and selective digitising of the archive.
Greer, who lives in the UK, intends that proceeds she receives from the purchase will go to her charity, The Friends of Gondwana Rainforest.
Greer’s papers include a large number of unsolicited letters from the public.
University Librarian Philip Kent says this is a rich vein of social history documenting sexual, social and intellectual challenges, many of them personal accounts of how exposure to Greer’s ideas changed their lives.
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