Guide to the Papers of Freya Stark [MSS 118]

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Manuscript Name Papers of Freya Stark
Manuscript Number MSS 118
Last Updated October 2021
Extent 7 cm (2 boxes)
Location Special Collections, UNSW Canberra
Abstract Correspondence from Freya Stark to Sir Harry Luke and correspondence from Stewart Perowne, newspaper clippings and photographs.

Scope and Content

The papers of Freya Stark include correspondence from Freya Stark to Sir Harry Luke, and correspondence from Stark's former husband Stewart Perowne, dated from 1/6/1942 to 17/8/1960. Seven unidentified photographs from the Middle East are included, as are photographs of four of Freya's letters. An additional eight photographs of correspondence, along with twelve negatives are included.

Date Range of Content



The collection has been arranged into box then folder order.

Biographical Note

Dame Freya Stark (1893-1993) was famous as an explorer of remote Middle Eastern areas and as a travel writer. She was in her mid-thirties before embarking on her life of solitary travel in ancient realms, setting out late in 1927 and basing herself at first in Lebanon and then in Iraq.

During the 1930's she penetrated the hinterland of Southern Arabia, determining the identity and routes of the great incense trade of the classical world. Her mapping and other geographical discoveries earned her a scholarly reputation. Freya Stark was the first woman to receive the Burton medal of the Royal Asiatic Society, (1934) for her writings, explorations and mapping work in the Middle-East. She received the Founder's medal of the Royal Geographic Society in 1942. Freya Stark became a Dame of the British Empire in 1972.

Among her numerous writings, she has published a four-volume autobiography and a trilogy of her travels in Turkey.

Freya Stark died in Italy in 1993, a little more than three months past her 100th birthday.

Administrative Information


The collection is available for research.

Restrictions on Use

No copying is permitted without the permission of the copyright owners.

Preferred Citation

Papers of Freya Stark, Special Collections, UNSW Canberra, Australian Defence Force Academy, MSS 118, Box [Number], Folder [Number].


This collection was purchased by the Academy Library in 1990.

Additional Information

Related Material

Further material relating to Freya Stark is located in the Academy Library, UNSW Canberra, including a thesis entitled Freya Stark creative invalid, travel writer and autobiographer : a study of the autobiographical and travel writings of Dame Freya Stark, 1893-1993, by Christine Campbell, thesis (M.A. Honours), UNSW Canberra, Dept. of English, 1993, and a publication entitled Coat-tails of empire : the ADFA letters : Freya Stark's correspondence with Sir Harry Luke, by Freya Stark, Australian Scholarly Editions Centre and Australian Defence Force Academy Library, Canberra, 1998.

Access Terms

Personal Names

Stark, Freya -- Archives.

Stark, Freya -- Correspondence.

Luke, Harry, Sir, 1884-1969 -- Correspondence.

Perowne, Stewart, 1901- -- Correspondence.

Topical Subjects

Travelers -- Correspondence.

Orientalists -- Correspondence.

Geographical Names

Middle East -- Description and travel.



Container List

Box 1

Folder 1
Correspondence to Sir Harry Luke from Freya Stark, 7/7/1951-7/12/1964

Folder 2
Photocopies of folder one

Folder 3
Correspondence to Sir Harry Luke from Stewart Perowne, 1/6/1942-17/8/1960

Folder 4
Photocopies of folder three

Folder 4
Newspaper cuttings, c. 1942-1975

Box 2

Folder 5
Black and white photographs, c. 1942-1964

7 unidentified photographs
8 pages of photographed correspondence
12 negatives of photographed correspondence