Photograph © Raymond Townsend
Childhoods and Play

Playing the Archive

The Opie Archive

Changing Play

Children's Playground Games and Songs in the New Media Age


The Opie Archive

Exploring Play in Britain from the 1950s to the 1980s


The Bodleian Libraries was awarded a Wellcome Trust Research Resources Awards in Humanities and Social Science (2016) to unlock the archive's full potential by creating an online catalogue and physically preparing it for future digitisation. The resulting finding aid describes the entire Opie Archive at the Bodleian Library, including background on the collection and information about the folders contained in each of its 362 boxes.

The collection comprises

Children's papers and covering correspondence, c.1947-1989
Children's papers and covering correspondence pre-1960 c.1949-1981, 1993
Children's papers and covering correspondence from 1960 c.1947-1989
Camberwell Public Libraries Essay Competitions c.1951-1961
Other related material c.1950-1982

Working papers c.1930s-1990s [and some earlier collected material]
Opie subject files c.1930s-1990s [and some earlier collected material]
Other working papers c.1940s-1990s

Publications 1936-1999
Opie books 1945-1989, 2003
Other Opie publications and related material 1936-1999

Professional correspondence 1946-1998

Personal papers 1889-2006
Personal papers, correspondence and memorabilia 1889-2006
Peter Opie diaries 1933-1959
Peter Opie scrapbooks and notes 1937-1979, 1992
Peter Opie early publications and writings 1936-1948

Collected material and miscellaneous c.1665-2011
Book Collecting c.1920s-1991
Historic childhood and children's book ephemera c.1665-1995
A-Z Subject files n.d. [c. early-19th to late-20th century]
A-Z Newspaper cuttings c.1987-2011
Papers of other children's book and ephemera collectors c.1893-1970s
Miscellaneous c.1904-1935

The Opie Archive as presented on this website builds on this structure, extending it to accommodate the documents and intellectual items in the collection.

Read about the different parts of the collection in these blog posts by project staff.
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Supported by the Wellcome Trust