Series 312 - Australian Dictionary of Biography subject files

Identity area

Reference code



Australian Dictionary of Biography subject files


  • 1961 - 2008 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

179m (894 boxes)

Context area

Name of creator

(1957 -)

Biographical history

The Australian Dictionary of Biography had its beginnings in 1957 when a conference in Canberra of representatives of university history departments throughout the country supported the concept of a large-scale biographical project. From this meeting there developed a national committee; an editorial board chaired successively by Professors Keith Hancock, John Andrew La Nauze and Kenneth Stanley Inglis, all from the Australian National University's Research School of Social Sciences, and later by Professor Jill Roe; State and specialist working parties; and a small central staff. Professor Douglas Pike was appointed founding general editor in 1962; in 1974, Mr Noel Bede Nairn was appointed to produce Volume 6, and next year he and Dr Geoff Serle were made joint general editors. Mr Nairn retired in 1984 and Dr Serle in 1987. Dr John Ritchie succeeded Serle as general editor in 1988 and retired in 2002. Dr Di Langmore took up the position of general editor in 2001 to 2008 and was succeeded by Professor Melanie Nolan as inaugural Director of the National Centre of Biography on 2 June 2008, which has produced the ADB since 2008.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Paper files containing research material on people included in and considered for inclusion in the Australian Dictionary of Biography. Includes research notes; copies of birth, death and marriage certificates; drafts of articles; correspondence between authors and editors and corrigenda.


System of arrangement

Alphabetical by family name in two sequences. The first, boxes 1-751, is for people included in volumes 1-16. The second sequence, boxes 752 to 812, is for those in volume 17.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Researchers must sign an access agreement

Conditions governing reproduction

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Notes area

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Dates of creation revision deletion

Prepared by Sarah Lethbridge on 31 March 2009.




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