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Adamson: the papers of George Worsley Adamson

Reference Code: GBR/1058/ADA

Scope and Contents

The papers consist of original artwork for editions of 'Meet My Folks', 'How the Whale Became' and 'The Iron Man'. There is also a small quantity of correspondence received by Adamson from Ted Hughes regarding illustrations for Hughes's books.


  • Creation: 1960 - 1996


Conditions Governing Access

All material within the collection is open for consultation.

Excluding material that is the copyright of the Ted Hughes Estates (for which see below), photographs may be taken for private research purposes only. Those wishing to publish any material from the collection are required to seek the permission of the relevant Estate or company prior to publication. Items that are not the copyyright of the George Adamson Estate are noted within the catalogue. The Archivist can provide further information and contact details for the George Adamson Estate.

The material within the collection that is the copright of the Ted Hughes Estate is open for consultation but photographs may not be taken without the permission of the Ted Hughes Estate. Those wishing to publish any material that is the copyright of the Ted Hughes Estate should seek permission from the Estate prior to publication. The Archivist can provide further information and contact details for the Estate.

Biographical / Historical

George Adamson was born in February 1913 in New York City, USA, the son of British parents, George William and Mary Lydia. Although he spent the early part of his childhood in America, he returned to England with his sisters in 1921 following the death of his mother. His father died a short while later. In England, Adamson attended the Wigan Mining and Technical College and the Wigan City School of Art, with a year at Liverpool University Department of Education. From 1935-1939 he attended the Liverpool City School of Art on a part time basis. He served in RAF Coastal Command as a navigator during the Second World War, later appointed an official war artist for the Coastal Command. After the War he taught engraving and illustration at Exeter School of Art, Exeter, Devon. After his time at the Exeter School of Art he focussed more on his own illustration work, and in 1960 Adamson did the drawings for the first book of poems Ted Hughes wrote for children: 'Meet My Folks!', published in spring 1961. This was followed by the drawings for Ted Hughes's first book of children's stories: 'How the Whale Became' (1963), and those for the first edition of 'The Iron Man' (1968). Adamson was also a well-known cartoonist, working for publications including Punch, The Spectator and Private Eye. Adamson died in March 2005.


0.043 cubic metre(s)

Language of Materials


Related Materials

See GBR/1058/COO, the papers of Barrie Cooke, GBR/1058/HUO, the papers of Olwyn Hughes and GBR/1058/WIC/2/1, the papers of Colin Wilcockson for additional Ted Hughes material.

Related Materials

George Adamson material is also held at the British Cartoon Archive, based at the University of Kent.

Legal Status

The George Adamson papers are on long term loan at Pembroke College from the Adamson Estate, having arrived in 2014, with further additions in 2018.


In 2015 a detailed conservation report was prepared for the papers with additional notes on the papers by John Adamson, George Adamson's second son, and Dr Mark Wormald, Pembroke College Fellow. This report is held by the Archivist and available for consultation in the Reading Room. Original references from the conservation report are recorded, but all items have been given new reference codes as part of the 2021-2022 cataloguing process.

December 2022
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Pembroke College Library Repository

Pembroke College
Cambridge CB2 1RF United Kingdom
+44 (0)1223 764151