Dr. Lack kept his papers in used quarto envelopes with a Ms. indication of the contents; these in turn were kept in cardboard filing-boxes whose labels were often defaced or faded. The papers have been grouped by subject-matter into a roughly chronological sequence.
Almost all the notes were made on the back of typescript drafts (themselves often bearing Ms. corrections) of earlier articles, books or letters. The handlist items refer to the manuscript notes; no attempt has been made to identify or collate the originals of the typescripts.
The notes and records made on copy paper are often very fragile, and had sometimes been damaged by being crammed into envelopes too small for them. They have been straightened, and protected by wax envelopes, but not guarded and filed.
Correspondence referring to specific investigations was always kept with the relevant data. Many collaborators, including amateur ornithologists and members of the general public as well as professional colleagues, contributed data, observations and amendments to Lack's research and published work. Except for items 142-146, 148, all correspondents are indexed; where information of special value occurs in the correspondence an indication is given in the appropriate entry in the handlist.
Items 406-412 refer to 34 notebooks of observations made by Lack and his collaborators of migration movements monitored by radar at various R.A.F. stations. These books have been cleared as unclassified material by the Ministry of Defence.
Titles etc. in inverted commas are those which appear on the manuscripts or related published work.
Unless otherwise stated, all work is in Lack's manuscript or typescript.
I. Biographical 1 - 3
II. Diaries, albums and journals 4 - 35
III. Work on Galapagos (Darwin's) finches 36 - 54
IV. Work on speciation 55 - 60
V. Work on clutch size 61 - 69a
VI. Work on titmice 70 - 86
VII. Work on swifts 87 - 138
VIII. Work on robins 139 - 180
IX. Work on migration 181 - 219
X. Work for The Natural Regulation of Animal Numbers, Population Studies of Birds and Enjoying Ornithology 220 - 240
XI. Work for Ecological Adaptations for Breedings in Birds 241 - 268
XII. Work on island birds 269 - 289
XIII. Work for Ecological Isolation in Birds 290 - 300
XIV. Work on Jamaican birds 301 - 341
XV. Work for Evolution Illustrated by Wildfowl 342 - 347
XVI. Work on various ornithological subjects 348 - 378
XVII. Work on evolution and religion 379 - 389
XVIII. Conferences and committees 390 - 400
XIX. Correspondence 401 - 404
XX. Radar work 405 - 412
XXI. Publications and broadcasts 413 - 416