The George Sturt Collection (1893-1927) consists of holograph and
typescript drafts of books, articles, and essays; typescripts of passages from
Sturt's journals; and Sturt's holograph letters. The collection is arranged in
three series: works, journals, and letters.
The works series is arranged alphabetically by the title of each piece.
The manuscripts of articles, essays, and books represent the complete range of
subjects and themes on which Sturt wrote. The works in the collection cover
topics such as timber, tools, socialism, and philanthropy, all of which center
in some way around village life and labor in the present and past. The
manuscripts are in a variety of states of completion, but most manuscripts are
in Sturt's hand and are heavily revised. Of his major work the collection
includes two early versions of
The Ascending Effort, a holograph manuscript
"Evolution and Art," and a typescript,
"Art and Empire"; a manuscript of the title
Lucy Bettesworth; and the heavily revised
manuscript of Sturt's unpublished novel
"The Extinction of the Keens," accompanied by
a letter to Sturt's friend, sent before Sturt began to write the novel, which
outlines the book's plot.
Typescript passages from Sturt's journals appear to be transcriptions
made from the originals with corrections in Sturt's hand. The two main periods
covered by the journals are 1901-1905 and 1923-1927. The entries covering from
March 1925 through January 1927 make up over half of the series. The journals
contain the seeds of Sturt's published writing. Entries include descriptions of
people and scenes in his village, but Sturt's reflections deal not only with
village life but broader social issues, such as labor, free trade, and
spirituality; some entries are Sturt's reactions to books or articles he had
recently read. It is not known if the original journals are extant.
The bulk of the letters series is comprised of Sturt's holograph letters
to William W. Kennerley, 1893-1925. In these letters Sturt confides his
literary ambitions and describes the everyday activities of his life. Among
these letters is Sturt's translation from the Latin of Chapters IX and XIII of
De Senectute, with notes describing the
syntactical difficulties of translation. The same envelope, postmarked 19
February 1893 and addressed to Kennerley, contains Sturt's synopsis of his
first published book, the novel
A Year's Exile. This is the sole item in the
collection representing Sturt's published fiction. Other letters are to Alfred
Eggar and Dr. Henry C. Mercer and discuss tools and other implements.