Primary Sources: East India Company Archives

Secretary's Office, East India HouseThe Library has acquired from Adam Matthew Digital their collection of East India Company records, which will be published in three modules. The module available now, “Trade, Government and Empire, 1600-1947” includes 932 volumes of the British Government’s India Office Records (IOR):

IOR/A: The East India Company’s charters, statutes and treaties
IOR/B: The minutes of the meetings of the Courts of Directors and Proprietors
IOR/C: The minutes and memoranda of the Council of India
IOR/D: The minutes and memoranda of the general committees and offices of the East India Company
IOR/Z: Indexes to selected documents in classes B and D

These records include minutes of council meetings, memoranda and papers laid before the councils, council resolutions, charters, text of legislation, correspondence, personnel lists, and printed monographs. The Nature and Scope section of the resource provides more details.


Trial: East India Company (digital archive)

The Library has a trial of the Adam Matthew Digital digital archive, East India Company, until February 23rd.

East India Company offers access to a unique collection of India Office Records from the British Library, London. Containing royal charters, correspondence, trading diaries, minutes of council meetings and reports of expeditions, among other document types, this resource charts the history of British trade and rule in the Indian subcontinent and beyond from 1600 to 1947.

*Please note that PDF download options are not available during trials.

Please send any feedback you have about the resource to me at dorner@berkeley.edu.


Primary Sources: Records of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts

The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG) (now named the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel) was organized after Rev. Dr. Thomas Bray visited the American Colonies and found the Anglican Church there in disarray. He obtained a charter from King William III in 1701 to establish SPG as an organization authorized to send priests and schoolteachers to America to minister to the colonists and to “take the message of the gospel to the slaves and native Americans.”1

The SPG quickly expanded into the West Indies, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and West Africa, and in the 19th century into India and South Africa. The Library’s access to British Online Archives includes a significant collection of SPG records from all of these locations.

American Material in the archives of the USPG, 1635-1812 Includes:
– letter books kept by the secretaries of the societies, consisting of copies of letters and papers from and to the missionaries appointed by the SPG to the American colonies and also from the colonial governors, private persons and churchwardens. Many of the originals are no longer extant.
– Index volumes for the letter books
– Published accounts of two early SPG missionaries to America
– Supplementary material from 1821-1828, which includes three volumes of copies of the most important letters (i.e., those read before the Society) and sent.

Australian records in the USPG archiveFiles relating to the establishment of the Society’s activities in the province of the Anglican Church of Australia and the development of an organization to support them. Includes:
– Unbound documents, subdivided by diocese: Adelaide, Melbourne, North Queensland, Perth, Sydney, and Tasmania.
– SPG Chapliancy services to emigrants, 1821-1864
– Copies of letters received and sent (from and to the Society in London)
– Indices to the Australian records

New Zealand & Polynesian records in the USPG archive Records relating to the early history of the Anglican Church in New Zealand and Polynesia. Includes:
– Files from the Melanesia Diocese, 1838-1958
– Files from the New Zealand Diocese, 1838-1875
– Copies of letters received and sent (to and from the Society in London)
– Indices to the New Zealand province records

Canadian Records in the USPG Archive, 1722-1952These papers chart the development of the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel from its early days in Canada until its decline there. The majority of the reports included here are in fact narrative accounts submitted by members of the clergy working in various locations across Canada. Includes:
– Records relating to New Brunswick 1783-1857
– Records relating to Fredericton 1844-1860
– Records relating to Quebec 1793-1860
– Records relating to Montreal to c1860
– Records relating to Upper Canada 1788-1859
– Records relating to Toronto to c1860
– Records relating to Nova Scotia to c1860
– General records relating to Canada 1785-1864
– Reports for Canada, 1901-1950

Early Colonial and Missionary Records from West Africa
This resource comprises selected documents from microfilm collections, including: early Gold Coast records from the archives of the USPG; the papers of Thomas Perronet Thompson, the first Governor of the Colony of Sierra Leone; An account of two missionary voyages by Rev. Thomas Thompson; the letters of Rev. Philip Quaque, etc.

Gold Coast records from the archives of the USPG, 1886-1951
The period from 1903 onward is the most substantially documented in this collection. Records relating to the first 150 years are reproduced in both the Early colonial and missionary records from West Africa and the West Indies material in the archives of the USPG, 1710-1950. Includes:
– Copies of letters sent and received
– Committee of Women’s Work Correspondence
– Original letters from abroad, 1899-1933
– Missionary reports, 1906-1933
– Miscellaneous Gold Coast Papers, 1886-1951

South African archives of the USPG
United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel began its labors at the Cape of South Africa in 1821, the western division being occupied in that year and the eastern division in 1830. This collection from the Archives of the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, dates from their earliest connection with South Africa. Includes records for Capetown, Grahamstown, Natal, St Johns – Kaffaria, and Zululand.

West Indies material in the archives of the USPG, 1710-1950
Includes:
– Records from 1714-1908, divided into eight sections: the general archives and those appertaining to the Bahamas, Jamaica, Barbados, Antigua and the Leeward Islands, Trinidad, British Guiana and Honduras (Central America and the Mosquito coast).
– Copies of letters sent and received
– The Codrington Collection, 1704-1898
– Quarterly reports from missionaries, 1901-1950
– Papers of the Barbados Committee, 1710-1842
– Miscellaneous USPG contents

South Asian records of the USPG
Includes:
– Records beginning around 1770, during the period of the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge (SPCK), and continue for some years after 1825, when the SPG accepted responsibility for the Danish and English missions in Tamil Nadu, as well as conducting its own work elsewhere in India.
– Copies of letters sent and received (to and from the Society in London)
– Annual reports of missionaries, 1840-1861
– Annual reports of missionaries, 1856-1900
– Selected Sri Lankan material, 1827-1867
– Miscellaneous additional materials


Primary Source: The Meerut Conspiracy Trial, 1929-1933

In Spring 1929 a group of labor leaders and trade unionists were arrested and charged under section 121-A of the Indian Penal Code (Act 45 of 1860) for “conspiring to deprive the King of His Sovereignty of British India.” Labeled by the British government as Bolsheviks, only a few of the men were members of the Communist Party, which at the time did not have a strong presence in India. The preliminary proceedings, subsequent trial, and appeals together lasted four years, during which the accused garnered much public sympathy and the Communist movement in India gained more support.

The Meerut Conspiracy Trial, 1929-1933, a collection contained in British Online Archives, includes documents drawn from the British Library, Labour History Archive & Study Centre and Working Class Movement Library. They include India Office records, personal papers of one of the accused, papers of a Secretary of the Labour party that show widespread support of the accused, and a collection of books and pamphlets related to the trial.


Trial: The South Asia Archive

Until October 15, the Library has trial access to the South Asia Archive
The archive contains millions of pages of digitized primary and secondary material in a mix of English and vernacular languages dating back to the start of the eighteenth century, up to the mid-twentieth century. It is derived from original archive materials held by the The South Asia Research Foundation.
Also available are some online tutorials to help you navigate the South Asia Archive. A range of videos are available on topics including searching and filtering the archive content. 

Primary Sources: British Online Archives

British Online Archives (BOA) consists of eleven thematic series, each containing individual collections of archival contents. The series are largely oriented toward British and British colonial history and new collections are added as they become available. The eleven series comprising BOA are:

  • Anglo-American Relations
  • British Broadcasting Corporation
  • British Records on the Atlantic World, 1700-1900
  • Colonial & Missionary Records
  • Communist Party of Great Britain
  • Industrial Revolution
  • People & Protest in Britain and Abroad, 1800-2000
  • Twentieth Century Political History
  • Records of the Raj
  • Religion
  • Science & Medicine

Some of the collections are listed in more than one thematic series.

The digital collections have been converted from microform sets distributed by Microform Academic Publishers, a few of which the Library already owns. There are guides associated with each collection, which will assist researchers in browsing. Basic and advance searching are offered; the advanced search function allows a choice between searching “all collections” or selecting only one collection at a time. Search results can be frustrating, because while the system will indicate where in a document the search terms appear, the terms are not highlighted in the document.

A major inconvenience is that the documents currently can only be printed or downloaded one page at a time. With Adobe Acrobat (free to all students, faculty and staff, remember) individual pages can be stitched together into one PDF, but I’m well aware of the extra effort that entails.

Despite these drawbacks, these collections can be of great value to researchers here. In future posts, I’ll be describing a few of them in more detail.


Event: Exhibit Reception

Hidden Treasures: UC Berkeley’s South Asian & Southeast Asian Special Collections opened in the Doe Library’s first floor Bernice Layne Brown Gallery on April 9 and will remain until August 30. You are welcome to attend a reception celebrating the opening, which will include a dance performance and light refreshments.

EXHIBIT RECEPTION
Tuesday, April 16, 5 PM – 7 PM
Morrison Library (first floor of Doe Library)

The exhibit retraces over a century of special collections acquisitions in arts, humanities and social sciences that represent a rich cultural and intellectual legacy for the South Asian and Southeast Asian community at Berkeley and beyond.

Co-sponsored by the Center for South Asia Studies, the Center for Southeast Asia Studies, and the Department of South & Southeast Asian Studies. Curated by the staff of the South/Southeast Asia Library.