A Grand Obsession: The DS Mitchell Story | State Library of New South Wales

A Grand Obsession: The DS Mitchell Story

A Grand Obsession: The DS Mitchell Story celebrates the centenary of the bequest of David Scott Mitchell (1836–1907). His peerless collection of books, manuscripts, maps and pictures relating to Australia and the Pacific established the Mitchell Library.

On his death in July 1907, his collection was bequeathed to the Public (now State) Library of New South Wales, together with an endowment of £70,000 to fund additions to his collection. The conditions of the bequest were that his collection should be housed separately and known as the Mitchell Library and should be freely available on conditions similar to those in force in the British Museum library, now the British Library.

The Mitchell Library, the first portion of the proposed new library building, opened to the public on 9 March 1910.

Mitchell's bequest, though, was more than a very generous cultural gift. It at once created a substantial public research collection in an area in which there had been none. That area was one which was crucial to the nation — the study of Australia itself. In this sense, it is no exaggeration to say that Mitchell's gift is the nation's greatest cultural benefaction.

Open: 18 June 2007 – 30 September 2007
Picture Gallery, Mitchell Wing
State Library opening hours
Admission: Free

Supported by The Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts

Related Links

Come in to view the following displays

  • Mr Mitchell's monument, an architectural history of the Mitchell Library
  • Portrait of DS Mitchell by Norman Carter in the Mitchell vestibule
  • The Mitchell Bequest Project in the Mitchell Reading Room entrance