The South Asia Materials Project (SAMP) is an ongoing collaboration between the Center for Research Libraries, US research libraries, and partners from South Asia, that preserves rare and endangered South Asian materials. From that project grew the South Asia Open Archives (SAOA), which includes historical and contemporary sources covering the arts, humanities, and social sciences, in English and South Asian languages, from and about South Asia.
Four SAOA collections (over 350,000 pages) are now freely available on the JSTOR platform:
- Caste & Social Structure
- Social & Economic History
- Women & Gender
Two new books are available from History of Art Professor Sugata Ray.
Water Histories of South Asia: The Materiality of Liquescence
Edited by Sugata Ray, Venugopal Maddipati
From the Routledge website:
“This book surveys the intersections between water systems and the phenomenology of visual cultures in early modern, colonial and contemporary South Asia. Bringing together contributions by eminent artists, architects, curators and scholars who explore the connections between the environmental and the cultural, the volume situates water in an expansive relational domain. It covers disciplines as diverse as literary studies, environmental humanities, sustainable design, urban planning and media studies. The chapters explore the ways in which material cultures of water generate technological and aesthetic acts of envisioning geographies, and make an intervention within political, social and cultural discourses. A critical interjection in the sociologies of water in the subcontinent, the book brings art history into conversation with current debates on climate change by examining water’s artistic, architectural, engineering, religious, scientific and environmental facets from the 16th century to the present.
This is one of the first books on South Asia’s art, architecture and visual history to interweave the ecological with the aesthetic under the emerging field of eco art history. The volume will be of interest to scholars and general readers of art history, Islamic studies, South Asian studies, urban studies, architecture, geography, history and environmental studies. It will also appeal to activists, curators, art critics and those interested in water management.”
Climate Change and the Art of Devotion: Geoaesthetics in the Land of Krishna, 1550-1850
By Sugata Ray
From the University of Washington Press website:
“In the enchanted world of Braj, the primary pilgrimage center in north India for worshippers of Krishna, each stone, river, and tree is considered sacred. In Climate Change and the Art of Devotion, Sugata Ray shows how this place-centered theology emerged in the wake of the Little Ice Age (ca. 1550–1850), an epoch marked by climatic catastrophes across the globe. Using the frame of geoaesthetics, he compares early modern conceptions of the environment and current assumptions about nature and culture.
A groundbreaking contribution to the emerging field of eco–art history, the book examines architecture, paintings, photography, and prints created in Braj alongside theological treatises and devotional poetry to foreground seepages between the natural ecosystem and cultural production. The paintings of deified rivers, temples that emulate fragrant groves, and talismanic bleeding rocks that Ray discusses will captivate readers interested in environmental humanities and South Asian art history.”
The Library has recently acquired Indian Army and Colonial Warfare on the Frontiers of India, 1914-1920, part of the India Office Records held by the British Library (IOR/L/MIL/17/5/4115).
For generations of British and Indian Officers and men, the North-West Frontier was the scene of repeated skirmishes and major campaigns against the trans-border Pathan tribes who inhabited the mountainous no-man’s land between India and Afghanistan. This collection contains Army Lists; Orders; Instructions; Regulations; Acts; Manuals; Strength Returns; Orders of Battle; Administration Summaries; organization, commissions, committees, reports, maneuvers; departments of the Indian Army; and regimental narratives.
The 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.
Adam Matthew has put together a webinar on the East India Company resource.
Guest Speakers include:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
– 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
– 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
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.
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
- 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.