David Scott Mitchell was born in 1836 to a wealthy Sydney family. Educated at the University of Sydney, Mitchell was a prolific collector of works on Australia and the surrounding regions. In 1898, Mitchell offered his collection of 40,000 volumes to the State Library of NSW, on the condition that a new building was created to house it. Work on the new building began in 1906, and Mitchell’s collection was bequeathed on his death in 1907. The Mitchell Library opened on 9 March 1910.
The Mitchell Collection, along with the Dixon Collection, has now swelled to some 800,000 items, including manuscripts, pictures and maps. An exhibition entitled Mitchell Library: 100 Years was mounted at the Mitchell Library in 2010 to celebrate its centenary, and showcase 100 remarkable items from the collections. A travelling panel display, highlighting 25 of these items, is now on at Hurstville Museum & Gallery. On show in conjunction is a display recounting the history of library services in the Hurstville municipality, and showcasing rare and interesting items from the Hurstville City Library Museum & Gallery collection. Mitchell Library: 100 Years is on at Hurstville Museum & Gallery until 27 May.
You can explore the State Library’s vast collections further here.
Visit Hurstville Library to learn more about the Mitchell Library in these and other publications:
• Magnificent obsession: the story of the Mitchell Library, by Brian Fletcher
• Treasures of the State Library of New South Wales: the Australiana collections, by Anne Robertson