Australia’s greatest book collector, David Scott Mitchell, gave his extraordinary library and a bequest for its development to the people of Sydney and the world.
This is the first comprehensive account of his life and what, how, and why he collected, told through his books, reading, and contemporary correspondence.
Mitchell’s life and his collecting opens a window on the world of ideas, literature, libraries, and philanthropy in the nineteenth century.
Now available in paperback!
Shortlisted for the Australian Historical Association’s Magarey Medal for Biography.
The judges’ citation:
‘Eileen Chanin’s biography of David Scott Mitchell offers a fascinating rendition of the life of the man who bequeathed the nation its finest library of Australiana. Thoroughly researched, Chanin leaves no stone unturned in telling the story of Mitchell’s life. She presents a panoptic view of this often-shadowy figure in his full historical context. Book Life provides a compelling account of the intellectual and bookish circles of colonial Sydney and contains many valuable insights regarding the culture of collecting.’
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