Archivist: Nancy Charley

The Archives held within the Society’s Collections can be divided into two main types:

The Royal Asiatic Society’s own records dating from the founding of the Society. These include

  • Minutes Books for both Council and General Meetings
  • Early Donations Registers and Subscription Ledgers
  • Correspondence regarding  a range of Society business
  • Lecture information
  • Events and Exhibitions
  • Awards
  • Finance and Buildings

Private papers and allied material from its founding members and other prominent orientalists. These include:

  • Sir William Jones (1746-1794) – renowned philologist and founder of the Asiatic Society in Calcutta
  • Henry Thomas Colebrooke (1765-1837) – eminent Sanskrit scholar and founder of the RAS
  • Thomas Manning (1772-1840) – Chinese scholar, First Englishman to Lhasa, Tibet
  • Brian Houghton Hodgson (1801-1894) –‘ father’ of Himalayan studies
  • Henry Miers Elliot (1801-1853) – East India Company administrator and historian
  • Thomas John Newbold (1807–1850) – East India Company soldier, scientist and orientalist
  • Sir Henry Creswicke Rawlinson  (1810-1895) – the decipherer of cuneiform
  • E.W. West (1824-1905) – a leading scholar of Zoroastrianism
  • John Drew Bate (1836-1923) – Baptist missionary and creator of Hindi dictionary
  • Henry Beveridge (1837-1929) – Indian Civil Service officer and orientalist in British India
  • Richard Burton (1821-1890) – eccentric explorer, adventurer, soldier, writer and orientalist
  • Frederic John Goldsmid (1818-1908) – linguist, Director of Indo-European Telegraph Company
  • Daniel John Gogerly (1792-1862) – Misionary and Pali translator
  • William Pettigrew (1869-1943) – missionary and Manipuri scholar

There are also papers from more recent members such as H.G. Quaritch Wales (1900-1981), who was involved in much exploration in Asia and served the Siamese (Thai) government in the 1920s; Sir Richard Olaf Winstedt (1878-1966), first Professor of Malay at SOAS; Edward Walter Hutchinson ([1880] – 1972), British Consul in Chiengmai, Thailand and author of Adventurers in Siam in the Seventeenth Century (published in 1940) and 1688 Revolution in Siam (published in 1968); Charles Ambrose Storey (1888-1968), Professor of Arabic at Cambridge and author of the bio-bibliographical survey of Persian literature; and the sculptor, Dora Gordine. Though not a member she was actively involved with the Society though her friendship with Winstedt.

The majority of these archives are paper documents though there are also manuscripts, photographs and slides, and objects. This archival material is currently being catalogued on to Archives Hub. However, much of the material is still being sorted and listed. This website provides some information but please do not hesitate to contact the Archivist to obtain further details on any archival material. Most of the material is available to researchers though some modern records are restricted due to data protection issues.

We are very pleased to announce the donation of the John Cecil Cloake Papers. 

John Cecil Cloake was born in Wimbledon, London, England on 2 December, 1924, the son of Dr Cecil Stedman Cloake and Maude Osborne Newling. He was educated at King’s College School and served in the Royal Engineers in India and Japan during and after World War II. After the war he completed his education, studying History at Cambridge University. In 1948, Cloake joined the Foreign Office and served in many countries including Iraq, Iran, the then USSR and Bulgaria.

The papers have been donated by his son, John N. Cloake, along with some significant photograph albums, and consist of two sets of manuscripts and notes:

  • Draft Manuscript and Notes towards a book on the Azerbaijan Crisis
  • Draft Manuscript and Notes for a book on Old Tehran made by John Cecil Cloake and Margaret Cloake during his posting to Tehran with allied Correspondence.

 Please see our blog for details of the donation. The papers have been catalogued and and are available to view on Archives Hub here.