Mr Archimedes and friends move into the Library

The State Library is now the proud custodian of Pamela Allen’s extraordinary archive, having just acquired over 460 of the celebrated author/illustrator's original drawings and working notes from her most famous and little-known children's books spanning 40 years. 

According to State Librarian John Vallance: “Pamela Allen’s picture books have delighted generations of Australians since 1980 when her first book, Mr Archimedes’ Bath, won a NSW Premier’s Literary Award. It was an overnight success and hasn’t been out of print since!”  

“This Library jumped at the chance to acquire this most unusual archive of one of modern Australia’s best loved authors whose award-winning books like Who Sank the Boat? and Grandpa and Thomas."

The archive includes over 460 original book illustrations – published and unpublished – for 56 of Allen’s titles. Each work has a corresponding box of letters, licensing agreements and reviews, as well as a dummy book (sometimes several) which meticulously document Allen’s creative process.  

A small selection of drawings and material relating to Mr Archimedes’ Bath and Mr McGee are on display in the Library's Paintings gallery from 24 August to 23 October 2020. 

View the media release