Tuesday, December 23, 2008

FRRO Advice

If you are planning on staying for more than six months in India, don't forget to register at the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) at some point in the first fourteen days of your stay. If you are going to be in Dehli, you can find the FRRO at East Block, No. 8, Level-II, R.K. Puram-1, New Delhi-110066, behind Bhikaji Cama (9.30 am- 1.30 pm; 2-4 pm). You need to go through the gates and follow the signs for "FRRO" or "visa office" or "visa renewal," whichever sign you see first.

[Check here for FRRO addresses in a few other cities.]

Officially, the office opens at 9:30, but my advice is to get there at 8:00. I showed up between 9:30-10:00, and the process took almost five hours. A friend of mine showed up at 8:00, was third in the queue, and was done by 10:00.

Here's what you should take to the FRRO (if you are an American, anyway):

  • comfortable shoes because you will not be able to sit down
  • your own pen with black or blue ink!
  • your passport, with research visa glued inside (if you don't have this, you're probably still sitting in the airport, waiting to be deported)
  • 3 photocopies of your passport
  • 3 copies of the research visa
  • 3 copies of the affiliation letter stating that you are a legitimate researcher (for instance, I brought my certificate of affiliation with JNU)
  • 3 copies of your hotel/guesthouse C-Form if you have one
  • 4 passport photos
  • The flight number and date you arrived in India
  • Address in India
  • Address in U.S.
  • A book to read while you wait, or an MP3 player for chilling
  • A snack (you're not supposed to bring food, but I did eat a granola bar while standing in line)
Here's what you should expect at the FRRO:

The general process is this: first you stand in line to get a form to fill out (I got the green form, "Applicaton for Registration"). You fill that out with passport number, visa number, flight number, etc. You also get a little book, fill that out with the same information. If you are lucky, they will give you three green forms, and you can fill them out in triplicate. If you are unlucky, you will have to run make photocopies of your one form, because you need to turn in three (make a fourth copy, just in case). You can find a photocopy shop outside the gate, to the left, across the road, maybe 100 yards down the street. This same shop will do passport photos, so don't panic if you forget them, you can buy some after you get the registration form.

Take four passport photos, glue three to the triplicated form, and one in the little book (glue stick is outside main room door, on desk, if someone hasn't stolen it). Collate your documents into three packs. Each pack should have copy of passport, copy of visa, copy of affiliation letter, copy of (green) form.

If you look at the top of your registration form, there should be a handwritten note on it, something like "3/25" or "2/17". This number tells you which counter to keep your eye on (2 or 3 in these examples) and what number you are in the queue (25th or 17th in these examples). In theory, you can take a seat and wait for your number to be called. In practice, you will notice a crowd around each counter, and the truth is, whoever is closest usually gets immediate service. They do call out numbers, but if your papers aren't on the desk approximately two seconds later, you will be passed by. So be alert!

After your number is called, you approach the desk, and the person behind it looks over your forms, types some things into the computer, and stamp stamp stamps everything. Then she or he will send you over to "In Charge." At this desk, you simply hand over the stamped forms, and they smile and tell you to have a nice day as they drop the forms into the in basket. Process complete.

The process takes longer than it needs to take because some people have really odd registration requests. It takes ten people to solve their problem. This is why it is good to be 3rd in the queue, that way no odd problems stall out in front of you. It's not a complex process--pick up form, fill out form, glue photos on form, have form stamped, drop off stamped form--but be prepared to spend a number of hours getting it done.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Chahar Gulshan

Chahar Gulshan (Four Gardens) is an short history of Mughal India written by Rai Chatar Man Kayath, c. 1759 A.D. The last section of the Chahar Gulshan consists of a road book, describing all the major routes originating in Delhi. Schematically, it is very similar to the Mughal map described by Phillimore (see my earlier post).

Sir Jadunath Sarkar analysed a copy of the Chahar Gulshan now kept in Aligarh as part of his book The India of Aurangzib. In the British Library, I found four other versions of the CG. One was badly damaged by worms and age, but the other three were fairly legible. Here is a page of the most legible, with some translation.

Large view of page:

Right hand column of page:

Translation of cities, top to bottom (south to north, Delhi to Serai Lashkar Khan): Badli ki Serai (now in North Delhi), Narelah, Sonepat, Ganaur, Sahenalkah (Samalkha), Panipat, Ghaurandah, Karnal, Taori-Azambad, Thanesar, Shahabad, Ambalah, Serai Nun, Serai Hajam, Todar Mal, Aluah, Sirhind, Khana, Serai Lashkar Khan. The Persian running down the right-hand side represent the mileage between two cities/caravanserais.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Copy of Mughal Map, c. 1650-1730

British Library Shelfmark: Maps 188.i.2

Typewritten notes by Reginald Henry Phillimore attached to the map:

"Copy of a Mughal Map probably made about 1780 from an original that at the time of copying had already been seriously damaged...probable date of the original might therefore be placed between 1650 and 1730."

This map is a schematic of Mughal routes through northern India. It follows the same format at the Chahar Gulshan, with place names captured in rectangles (scaled in relation to importance), and rough mileage indicated with numbers written next to the route.

Phillimore wrote extensive notes on the map, but apparently did not publish them. His typewritten commentary can be accessed at the same Shelfmark number as the map.

Large Scale View (click for better resolution):

Detail View (with some translation):

Cities listed in right-hand column, top to bottom [north to south, Delhi to Agra]: Tonk, Faridabad, Sikri, Palwal, Hodal, (Serai) Kosi, Chatur (Serai Chata), Mathura, Koila (Serai Kolah), (Serai) Farrah, Sikandra, Akbarabad (Agra).

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Archives de la Province de France de la Compagnie de Jésus

A few catalogue listings for Fonds Brotier:

Volume 82 GBro 082
Lettres de l’Inde de Père Gargam: 18 lettres 1726-1741, pour la plupart autographes et adressées (quand le destinataire est indique) au P. Etienne Souciet, du collège Louis le Grand a Paris, avec notations linguistiques, ff. 66-114.

Volume 83 GBro 083
1. Lettre du P. Moriser sj au P. Souciet, 26-1-1731; 3 p. ff. 17-118
2. P. Duchamp: sur le calcul des planètes selon la méthode Graha Chendrika; pour calculer les éclipses; calculs divers; 71 p. ff. 119-115
3. Observations astronomiques diverses, 189; 12 p. ff 156-60 et 162-163
4. Copie d’une lettre du P. Coeurdoux, 17-9-1733, écriture de Brotier; 6 p. ff. 161, 164-165
5. Lettre de P. Duchamp au P. Souciet, reçue en 1733 (copie); 7 p. ff 166-69

Volume 88 Gbro 088
Lettres de missionnaires des Indes au P. Souciet (sauf la première) toutes autographes

Volume 89 Gbro 089
10 lettres de P. Calmette, 1726-1737, au P. Souciet (quand le dentinaire est indique) Autographes, sauf la 1er

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Archives de la Province de France de la Compagnie de Jésus

Sommervogel, t. 7, 1397-1404. G. Duman, Histoire du Journal de Trévoux, 1936, p. 121-22. Etablissements es Jésuites en France, passim. Feller. Michaud. Roefer.

Souciet, Etienne 12

Ne le 12 Octobre 1671 a Bourges

More le 14 janvier 1744 a Paris

Entre le 8 septembre 190

Prêtre en 1701 a Paris

Derniers vœux le 2 février 1706 à Paris

Fils d’un avocat, apes ses études chez les Jésuites de Bourges il entre au noviciat de la Compagnie à Paris (1690). Apres un an de régence a Alençon (Orne) (1692-93), et quatre au collège Louis-le-Grand à Paris (1693-97), il fit dans la même maison un an de philosophie et quatre de théologie, ordonné prêtre en 1701. Dès 1702 il fut scriptor au collège Louis-le-Grand où il passa presque tout le reste de sa vie, sauf pendant son 3e an, qu’il fit à Rouen en 1704-05. Au cours de ses études il avait acquis une masse de connaissances, qu’il ne cessa d’enrichir. Professeur de théologie positive durant 9 ans (1716-1725), il fut chargé de l’importante bibliothèque du collège de 1725 à 1740. De 1708 à 1725 il donna de nombreux articles non signes aux Mémoires de Trévoux. Sa connaissance du latin, du grec, de l’hébreu, des langues orientales lui permit de réunir en 1715 des dissertations critiques sur les passages difficiles de l’Ecriture sainte. Dans ses dissertations de 1727 il critiqua la chronologie de Newton. Ses relations avec les missionnaires jésuites de la Chine et de l’Inde comme Gaubil, Kögler, Slaviesek, Jartoux, etc., lui permirent se publier en 1729-1732 3 volumes d’observations mathématiques, géographiques, chronologiques et physiques tirées des anciens livres chinois ou faites nouvellement. Il collabora souvent aux Act sanctorum des Bollandistes. ON lit sans son éloge par le P. François Oudin dans les Mémoires de Trévoux : « Son esprit veste, solide, ferme, énergique, étendu lui fit embrasser toutes les sciences : érudition, astronomie, chronologies, mythologies, géographie, médailles, inscriptions, etc.… » Sa charge de bibliothécaire le détacha souvent des se travaux personnels pour le mettre au service de ceux qui le consultaient. Il eut quatre frère jésuites : François (1674-1739), qui fut professeur à La Flèche, Jean (1681-1762), un des collaborateurs des Mémoires de Trévoux, Jean-Baptiste (1684-1738), missionnaire au Levant, mort à Salonique, Etienne-Auguste (1685-1744), supérieur du grand séminaire de Nevers, écrivain, collaborateur des Mémoires des Trévoux.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Archives de la Province de France de la Compagnie de Jésus

A history of the Fonds Brotier:

J. Dehergne: les archives des jésuites de Paris et d’histoire des missions aux 17s et 18s

Une part important des correspondances, des rapports et de mémoires venus des pays lointains s’entassait sous forme de liasses dans le bureau du dernier bibliothécaire du Collège Louis-le-Grand, le Père Gabriel Brotier (1723-1789). Ce savant, estime de ses pairs, obtint, lors de la suppression des 80 collèges de l’ordre, par le Parlement de Paris (1er April 1762), de garder a sa disposition ces divers papiers. A sa mort, en 1789, son neveu André-Charles Brotier en hérita (ainsi que de ce qui forme le fonds Rybereyte) ; mais, compromis dans un complot royaliste (1797), emprisonné et ruiné, il n’eut d’autre ressource que de léguer à son avocat, comme gage des honoraires qu’il ne pouvait payer, ces derniers biens qu’il possédait encore. Ainsi, par dons, ou pour achats subséquents, plusieurs séries de papiers ont réintègre nos Archives, ou le fonds Brotier se présente actuellement sous formes de minces volumes relies : on en comptait 200 au milieu du siècle dernier ; mais, par suite des expulsions de 1880 et de 1900, et de prêts inconsidérés, il n’en reste pas que 160. Par la diversité des pièces qu’il rassemble, dont beaucoup sont des autographes ou des copies d’époque, le fonds Brotier, avec lequel on a relie plus tard des écrits du XIX siècle, constitue l’une des sources les plus riches—mais non les plus anciennes—de nos archives.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Royal Society

An archive staffed by friendly and helpful people. My goal here was to view the original of a series of letters published in the late eighteenth-century in the Philosophical Transactions, and to view the original images that had accompanied one of the letters. It took a bit of work by the picture curator, but she eventually tracked down all the images. I appreciated the opportunity to compare the original letters to the published versions, as well as to compare the original (watercolor) images with the published (engraved) images. Editorial and aesthetic changes introduced by publishing processes are fascinating.

Practicalities: You can bring your camera to save yourself all the on-site transcribing/copying.

Archives de la Province de France de la Compagnie de Jésus

If you're doing research on 18th century India, chances are good you've run across the names of one or two Jesuit priests. They appear in the landscape of southern India with especial frequency, but also toward the north/central region (there was a Jesuit church and college at Agra, for instance). An incredibly curious set of religious folk, the Jesuits took notes on just about everything they saw: language, religion, family, geography, science, trade, travel, etc. We know they were curious, because they wrote letters with unbelievable frequency when they were out on mission, describing the world as they encountered it.

Fortunately, many of the letters written back to Europe from India, China, the Americas and Africa were preserved by the recipient (usually a priest in a higher position). In the eighteenth century, 34 volumes worth of letters were edited and published by the Society of Jesuits under the title Lettres édifiantes et curieuses (you can read a brief summary of the series at Wikipedia, of all places). It takes time to sort out the various editions and publication dates for the volumes, especially if you're trying to do it through interlibrary loan, but I think it's worth it. I've been using the 1781 edition (occasionally reading the 1819 edition for newer punctuation and spellings) because that takes me well beyond the end date for my project (1743).

Unfortunately, even with 34 volumes, the collection doesn't include every letter ever written by every Jesuit priest in the world. That's where the Jesuit Archives in Vanves (Paris) come in handy. I've just started working here, and can I say, this is a really great research experience. Aside from my inability to use the doorbell properly, it's been very painless, even with my abominably poor French (I read it much better than I speak it, obviously). Le Père Archiviste, Robert Bonfils, is friendly and helpful. He speaks perfect English and didn't make me feel stupid for lacking the same fluency with his own language.

Today I looked at two volumes of the Fonds Brotiers, reading letters from various Jesuits interested in astronomy in India and China. These letters nicely fill in the gaps left in the Lettres édifiantes. I think I took the right approach--spent quite a bit of time with the published letters, worked out a timeline and familiarized myself with names and personalities, and then went to the archive. The names I'm reading are all familar to me, and I've read published letters by all of them. This has been surprisingly helpful when I'm trying to decipher complex handwriting.

Practicalities: I had a native French speaker translate my letter of introduction into French for me, but I'm not sure that is necessary. At any rate, you can contact the archivist at:

Archives de la Province de France de la Compagnie de Jésus
15 rue Raymond Marcheron
92170 VANVES

Contacting Mr. Bonfils ahead of time helped me discover that a citation reproduced a hundred times over in the secondary literature on my subject was incorrect.

The archive opens at 9 a.m., and is closed for lunch from 12:00-1:30, which will give you plenty of time for a nice lunch.

Unlike the British Library, this archive permits the use of a camera, useful for taking images of fragile documents.

There are two Citéa hotels within a two-minute walk of the archive. I can say that Citéa Vanves Porte de Châtillon is clean and comfortable (it looks exactly as the website promises), and it takes me 45 seconds to walk from the front door of the hotel to gate of the archive, 4-5 minutes to walk to the grocery store, and 9-10 minutes to walk to the metro. So, convenient, and inexpensive at Euro65/night.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Foreign Language Journals at RIBA

If you are studying in a School of Architecture as I am, you probably have access to a decent Architecture Library. Still, it is worth spending some time over at the RIBA British Architectural Library if you are doing research on Central (West) Asia or Northern India. For instance, if you wanted to read an archaeological report from Аркитектцра СССР at home, you would probably need to go through interlibrary loan to acquire it. At RIBA, you can sit and browse through back issues to your heart's content. Ditto for the even more obscure Аркитектура и Строительство Узбекистана. By the end of my first day there, I had articles from Architecture Australia, Parametro, Perspecta, Aujourd'hui Art et Architecture, Architectural Review, Domus, Bauwelt, and Archaeologia. Some of those are easily available in the U.S., but being able to simply sit and browse the others made the trip to that part of town worth the time.

Persian Manuscripts 101

If you are completely new to working with Persian manuscripts at the British Library, here are a few tips for the novice. Hopefully it will save you a few steps when you are trying to find a manuscript from a weak citation. Instead of saying to the reference librarian on duty in the Asia and African Studies Reading Room "Uh...I have a number for a Persian manuscript and I don't know to find it," you can instead say, "Uh...I have a number for a Persian manuscript, and it's not in Ethe or Rieu, and I don't know how to find it." [Truthfully, that statement didn't save me a few steps when I was looking for a manuscript with a D.P. shelfmark, but more on that below.]

First, the new version of the British Library website describes its finding aids for Persian manuscripts clearly but briefly. I will just highlight a few of these and tell you how I have found them useful.

Of the basic finding aids for Persian manuscripts, some are aimed specifically at the mss. held in the British Library, while some attempt to address every Persian manuscript known to humankind. Of the general catalogues, the one you will probably want to start with is C. A. Storey's Persian literature: A Bio-bibliographical Study. Storey's volumes break down as follows (the volume/fascicle numbers change depending on how it is catalogued/which edition you're using):

  • Qur’ānic literature
  • Biography (corrections and additions)
  • General history, the prophets of early Islam
  • Special histories of Persia, central Asia and the remaining parts of the world except India
  • History of India
  • Mathematics, Weights and measures, Astronomy and astrology, Geography
  • Medicine, Encyclopedias and miscellanies, Arts and crafts, Science, Occult arts
  • Lexicography, Grammar, Prosody and poetics

I started using the Storey volume on astronomical manuscripts first, but obviously, for historians of India, the volume that contains the History of India is crucial. Also obviously, the volumes are somewhat out of date, even though you'll find plenty to keep you busy. Ghulām Ḥusayn Tasbīḥī wrote a doctoral thesis at the University of London on the problem of updating the volumes, so if you're wondering what you're missing, and why you're missing it, you can read "The Problems of Bringing Storey’s Persian Literature Up to Date (Persian Lexicography)."

Exclusively tuned to the Mughal Empire is D. N. Marshall's Mughals in India: a Bibliographical Survey of Manuscripts. This is good addition to Storey. One difficulty with this index (for me) is that the manuscripts are listed alphabetically according to author--if you know the name of a manuscript, but not the author, you have to do a bit of work to find the description.

If you're working on a science-related topic like me (astronomy), you might want to sit down with A. Rahman's Science and technology in medieval India : a bibliography of source materials in Sanskrit, Arabic and Persian (New Delhi : Indian National Science Academy, 1982). This is a great source, as it lets you sift through Persian, Sanskrit and Arabic science manuscripts simultaneoulsy. I should warn you, the abbreviation "I.O." does not stand for "India Office" in this volume. One strong aspect of this catalogue is the attention given to manuscripts held in collections in India--"I.O." refers to one of these, so if you try to order up a ms. numbered, say, "I.O. 4566," it won't work at the British Library (this I know from personal experience).

In the list provided on the British Library webpage cited above, you will see a few catalogues focused on collections now held in the British Library (previously held in the India Office, the British Museum, or elsewhere).

At the end of the nineteenth century, Carl Hermann Ethe began to catalogue Persian manuscripts in the India Office. The first of two volumes was published in 1903, with the second volume following in 1937. So, if you're trying to find a number and description for a Persian manuscript you think was probably originally held in the India Office (for instance, if your shelfmark/citation begins with "IO"), start with Ethe's Catalogue of Persian Manuscripts in the Library of the India Office.

Similarly, Charles Pierre Henri Rieu catalogued the Persian manuscripts held by the British Museum (along with Arabic and Turkish manuscripts). If you think the manuscript was held by the British Museum (shelfmark will begin with BM in older catalogues), turn to Rieu's 4 volume Catalogue of the Persian Manuscripts (1879-95) and his Supplement to the Catalogue of Persian manuscripts in the British Museum (1895) to read the description.

I won't give advice on how to order up I.O. or B.M. manuscripts using the British Library's Integrated Catalogue (online). Generally, you just use the numeric digits, but the process is impossible to describe in text. Ask the reference librarian for help--they can input the citation properly (even they sometimes have to try twice or thrice to get the right string of letters and numbers), then order up the manuscript for you by proxy. They do this all the time, so go ahead and ask for help.

Finally, since I am providing sources for historians of India, I should also mention Elliot and Dowson's The History of India: the Muhammadan Period, as Told by Its Own Historians (31 vols.), even though it is not really a catalogue. This is a very large collection of manuscript descriptions and translations of ms. excerpts into English. You can often read a short extract in The History of India, cross-reference it with Rieu or Ethe shelfmarks, and come up with the original Persian manuscripts 70 minutes later.

Oh, I promised to discuss the trouble-making "D. P." shelfmark. Storey cited a manuscript held in the India Office as "D. P. 627," noting that Ethe had not included it in his catalogue. I asked for assistance from two different reference librarians, but neither one could figure out the shelfmark. Finally, I was able to contact one of the curators of Persian manuscripts, and she told me that it was "Delhi Persian" papers. When I finally managed to get my hands on this manuscript, the staff at the Deliveries desk were mystified--apparently they only infreqently (never?) see the D. P. shelfmark. Storey described these papers in a separate listing, apparently not published. I'll let you know more about it later, as the curator is going to let me read Storey's description of D. P. 627 Thursday.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Maps at the British Library

Here is one small hint re: the Maps Reading Room in the British Library. The types of available maps are quite mind-boggling, and you will want to spend the rest of your life in this room, just looking at maps. However, eventually you will be forced to leave, and you will probably wish to take copies of some maps with you. Unfortunately, photocopying/photo-reproducing maps at the BL is incredibly expensive. Even if you have a very generous grant, you will feel very poor the instant you place an order for a photo reproduction. And, even if you could afford it, you will not be allowed to copy any of the maps from the King's collection (Shelfmark Maps K.Top.115.5., for instance). So, what I found was that the Maps Reading Room was great for looking, but not so great for buying.

Although it is not ideal, you can often find scans of these same maps on the web. Some are printable, some are not, but here are a couple links to get you started.

Also, don't forget to check out the catalogue for special collections and maps at your home institution. While there are indeed a lot of maps in the British Library, it is likely that at least some of them are also available at home. Don't waste precious time looking at things you can see before/after your research trip!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Royal Asiatic Society--Finding Aids

The RAS has a nice collection of Persian manuscripts, so if you can't find want you want in the British Library, you might want to look here:

  • Codrington, O. "Catalogue of the Arabic, Persian, Hindustani and Turkish manuscripts." Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (July 1892): 501-569.
  • Morley, W. H. A descriptive catalogue of the historical manuscripts in Arabic and Persian languages, preserved in the library of the Royal Asiatic Society. London 1854.

If you're looking for some of the source material for Tod's Annals and Antiquities of Rajast'han or the Central and Western Rajpoot States of India, start here. Particularly pleased to find documents in Sanskrit/Rajasthani relating to the Kachchawahas. Also includes some calendrical and astronomical treatises.

  • Barnett, L.D. "Catalogue of the Tod collection of Indian manuscripts." Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, II (1940): 129-178.

If you're looking for visual resources, you can investigate the Colebrooke, Doyle, Mackenzie, Ram Raz, Tod and other collections:

  • Head, Raymond. Catalogue of paintings, engravings and busts in the collection of the Royal Asiatic Society. London: RAS, 1991.
  • Robinson, B.W. Persian paintings in the collection of the Royal Asiatic Society. London: RAS, 1998.

Other catalogues available for RAS:
  • Catalogue of printed books, published before 1932, in the library of the Royal Asiatic Society. London: RAS, 1940.
  • Cowell, E.B. and Eggeling, J.B. "Catalogue of Buddhist Sanskrit manuscripts in the possession of the Royal Asiatic Society." Journal of the RAS (1876): 1-52 [Hodgson collection].
  • Filliozat, J. "Survey of the Pali manuscript collection in the Royal Asiatic Society." Journal of the RAS, series 3, no. 9 (i) (1999): 35-76.
  • Ricklefs, M.C. and Voorhoeve, P. Indonesian manuscripts in Britain. Oxford University Press, 1977. [Malay and Javanese MSS].
  • Wenzel, H. "List of Tibetan manuscripts and printed books in the Library of the Royal Asiatic Society." Journal of the RAS (July 1892): 570-579.
  • Winternitz, M.A. A catalogue of the South Indian Sanskrit manuscripts, especially those of the Whish collection, belonging to the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. London: RAS, 1902.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

British Library Shelfmarks

It can be helpful to know some of the shelfmarks for the British Library. Unlike the Library of Congress system, the BL marks books according to location (although some shelfmarks also indicate type of source, like ZA...ZK=periodical). You can plan your day better if you are familiar with some offsite shelfmarks, since those materials take longer to be delivered to the reading rooms.

1. Items that have shelfmarks with the prefixes listed below are available on the open access shelves of the listed reading room:

HLL, HLR, etc Humanities - Floor 1
HUL, HUR, etc Humanities - Floor 2
HUS Humanities - Floor 2 (Sound Archive)
MSL, MSS, etc Manuscripts Reading Room
MUS Rare Books and Music Reading Room (Music)
OI Oriental and India Office Collections
OPL, etc Social Sciences
RAR, RAX, etc Rare Books and Music Reading Room (Rare Books)

2. Newspaper Shelfmarks.

Shelfmarks of items held by the Newspaper Library are preceded by NL or NPL. These titles may be read only in the Newspaper Library Reading Room in Colindale, North London.

3. All material with the shelfmark DSC is held at the Document Supply service, Boston Spa. They take 24-48 hours to reach the Reading Rooms at St Pancras.

4. Science shelfmarks for books begin with (B) – e.g. (B) 004.6. Items from 2003 to date with these shelfmarks will be on open access

5. The 'Maps' shelfmark is self-explanatory. 'Maps OSD' refers to Ordnance Surveyors' Drawings. Maps.K.Top. indicates Maps from the King's Collection (that's what those books are in the transparent central tower of the library).

6. Some Historic shelfmarks (indicating original owner of material) at the BL:

Shelfmark range: 1.a.1. - 304.k.23.
Former owner: King George III (1738-1820)

657.a.1. - 666.a.69.
Sir Richard Colt Hoare (1758-1838)

669.f.3. - 669.f.27.
George Thomason (d. 1666)

671.a.1. - 688.l.9.
Revd Clayton M Cracherode (1730-1799)

Ashley.1. - Ashley.5711.
Thomas James Wise (1859-1937)

B.1. - B.746.
Sir Joseph Banks (1743-1820)

Burney.1a. - Burney.1001b.
Revd Charles Burney (1757-1817)

C.1.a.1. - C.16.i.16.
King George III (1738-1830)

Dex.1. - Dex.316.
John Furber Dexter (1847-1917)

E.1. - E.1938.; E.2103. - E.2143.; E.2255. - E.2271.
George Thomason (d. 1666)

Eve.a.1. - Eve.c.29.
John Evelyn (1620-1706)

File.1. - File.849.
Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

G.1. - G.20240.
Thomas Grenville (1755-1846)

Voyn.1. - Voyn.137.
Wilfred Michael Voynich (1865-1930)

Finding Aids for India Office Maps, British Library

1. Catalogue of manuscript and printed reports, field books, memoirs, maps, etc., of the Indian Surveys, deposited in the map room of the India Office. (London : W.H. Allen & Co., 1878.)

Maps 212.a.5.
Maps 7.b.65.

2. A Catalogue of Manuscript and Printed Reports, Field Books, Memoirs, Maps ... of the Indian Surveys deposited in the Map Room of the India Office. (pp. xxi. 672. W. H. Allen & Co.: London, 1878.)

W 4280
W 3879

3. A catalogue of maps, etc. of India and other parts of Asia / (London : Sold [for H.M.S.O.] by W.H. Allen, 1874.)

V 9765

4. Great Britain. India Office. A catalogue of maps, etc. of India and other parts of Asia / (London : [India Office] : Sold by W.H. Allen, 1876.)

V 9777

5. Great Britain. India Office. A catalogue of maps of the British possessions in India and other parts of Asia / (London : [H.M.S.O.] : Sold by W.H. Allen, 1870.)

V 9778

6. India Office Records A catalogue of maps, plans &c. of India and Burma and other parts of Asia / (London : [s.n.] : Arnold [distributor], 1891.)

W 4938(b)
W 4521

7. India Office. Registry and Record Dept. Catalogue of maps, plans, etc. of India : appendices, no. 43-[90]. (London : India Office, 1903-1916.)

Maps 64.b.54.

8. Survey of India. Survey of India map catalogue 1931 : extracts showing the holdings of the India Office Records, Map Room. (London : British Library, 1977.)

Maps 216.b.61.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Royal Institute of British Architects Library

From the RIBA Library site:

August closure 2008

The Reading Room at Portland Place will close at 5pm on Friday 1 August and re-open on Thursday 4 September at 10am. The 75 year old cork floor is undergoing refurbishment. The Library will continue to answer enquiries by telephone, email, fax or letter during this period. "

Regular Library opening times:

Monday: closed
Tuesday: 10am-8pm
Wednesday - Friday: 10am-5pm
Saturday: 10am-1.30pm
Sunday: closed

Members of the public can now access the RIBA Library at 66 Portland Place, London free of charge for reference purposes.

Access to non RIBA members is now free on production of proof of identity; e.g. driving licence, passport, student ID card.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Rajasthan State Archives

A descriptive list of the Partapgarh Mahkmakhas, English record, 1800 to 1950 A.D. by Rajasthan State Archives. (Rajasthan State Archives, 1994).

A descriptive list of the Chief Commissioner Office, Ajmer, General Branch, 1948 to 1952 A.D. by Rajasthan State Archives. (Rajasthan State Archives, 1994).

A list of Bundi English record, 1901 to 1946-47 A.D. by Rajasthan State Archives. (Rajasthan State Archives, 1993).

A descriptive list of the Chief Commissioner Office, Ajmer, General Branch. by Rajasthan State Archives. (Rajasthan State Archives, 199u).

A list of Bundi English record, 1901 to 1946-47 A.D. by Rajasthan State Archives. (Rajasthan State Archives, 1993).

A descriptive list of the Partapgarh Mahkmakhas English record, 1800 to 1950 A.D. by Rajasthan State Archives. (Rajasthan State Archives, 199u).

Jodhapura rājya patra vyavahāra. by Rajasthan State Archives. (Rājasthāna Rājya Abhilekhāgāra, 1986).

Udayapura rājya kī Kiśanagaṛha, Koṭā, Bādhogaṛha (Rīvāṃ), evaṃ Bīkānera se prāpta kharītoṃ kī vivaraṇātmaka sūcī, saṃvat 1896-1950. by Rajasthan State Archives. (Rājasthāna Rājya Abhilekhāgāra, 1989).

A descriptive list of the Bikaner Mahkmakhas, English record, Army Department, 1914-1947 A.D. by Rajasthan State Archives. (Rajasthan State Archives, 1989).

A list of English records of Mahakmakhas, Jaisalmer, 1891 to 1950 A.D. by Rajasthan State Archives. (Rajasthan State Archives, 1984).

A list of the English record of the Jodhpur Mahakmakhas. by Rajasthan State Archives. (Rajasthan State Archives, 1984).

A descriptive list of the arzdashts (Persian) addressed by the various officials to the rulers of Jaipur, 1707 to 1720 A.D. by Rajasthan State Archives. (Rajasthan State Archives, 1986).

Koṭā-Būndī Rājya ke kharītoṃ kī vivaraṇātmaka sūcī, Vi. Saṃvat 1771 to 2000. by Rajasthan State Archives. (Rājasthāna Rājya Abhilekhāgāra, 1987).

Jayapura arjadāśta, Rājasthānī by Rajasthan State Archives. (Rājasthāna Rājya Abhilekhāgāra, 1981).

Kharītā, rājakīya-patra-vyavahāra, Gvāliyara-Jayapura, Bīkānera-Jayapura, evaṃ Karaulī-Jayapura by Rajasthan State Archives. (Rājasthāna Rājya Abhilekhāgāra, 1977).

A descriptive list of Bikaner bahis from 17th to 19th century. by Rajasthan State Archives. (Rajasthan State Archives, 1982).

A list of the English records of the Ajmer Commissioner, 1818-1899. by Rajasthan State Archives. (Rajasthan State Archives, 1980).

A descriptive list of the arzdashts (Persian) addressed by the various officials to the rulers of Jaipur, 1658-1707. by Rajasthan State Archives. (Rajasthan State Archives, 1981).

A descriptive list of the Bikaner Mahkmakhas, English record, 1896-1914. by Rajasthan State Archives. (Rajasthan State Archives, 1980).

A descriptive list of the arzdashtas addressed to the rulers of Jaipur (Rajasthani). by Rajasthan State Archives. (Rajasthan State Archives, Govt. of Rajasthan, 1978).

A descriptive list of the khatoot ahalkaran (Rajasthani), 1633 to 1769 A.D. by Rajasthan State Archives. (Rajasthan State Archives, Govt. of Rajasthan, 1975).

Rajasthan State Archives by Rajasthan State Archives. (Rajasthan State Archives, 1976).

A descriptive list of the vakil reports addressed to the rulers of Jaipur. by Rajasthan State Archives. (1967).

A descriptive list of farmans, manshurs by Rajasthan State Archives. (1962).

Government Archives in India

It sounds completely ridiculous to recommend a research guide published in 1969, but I've found it to be really useful, so here it is:

D. A. Low, J. C. Iltis and M. D. Wainwright, eds., Government Archives in South Asia: A Guide to National and State Archives in Ceylon, India and Pakistan (London, Cambridge U.P., 1969).

This book is a good starting point for major archives in India. It's obviously out of date in some cases, but it has been helpful as a prompt for asking questions. For instance, I can write a letter stating, "One of my sources indicates that records from the Finance Department, 1810-50 (Pre-Mutiny Series) are housed in the National Archives in Delhi. Do you know if that collection is still held in Delhi? If it has been relocated, could you kindly provide information as to its new location?" Perhaps unsurprisingly, many collections haven't moved around a lot since 1969, and even if they have, knowing the provenance of the collection can might help track it down now.

Getting to India

If have plans to do Ph.D. research in India, chances are you already know how to get there. Maybe you're being funded with a Fulbright-Hays DDRA--in that case, USEFI will probably be taking care of a lot of your details. Or perhaps you have an AIIS Junior Fellowship--in that case, you can rest assured that the people in charge of administration definitely know how to get you in and out of the country. However, I've met a few grad students who decided to do research in India at the last minute, so here's some hopefully helpful advice.

I wouldn't recommend planning a lengthy research trip to India if you've never been there before, and in fact, Overseas Research: A Practical Guide recommends you take at least one reconnaissance trip to your area of research before committing to a long-term visit. An "easy" way to test out India is to participate in a language program. I myself did two Hindi language programs through AIIS in preparation for my doctoral research.* Of course, this meant I had to plan ahead, and spend two of my summers away from home. I recommend others take this route, though. If you study in India for a couple of summers, you will having something to put in the "previous preparation" section of fellowship applications, but more importantly, your stress levels will drop dramatically when you start thinking about long term research abroad. You'll have a better idea what you're getting into if you visit for awhile first. Even if you have to spend your own funds to take a quick, three-week vacation in Delhi or Mumbai, I'd recommend you do it, just to get your feet wet.

Obviously, the best way to arrange for research in India is to land a Fulbright-Hays DDRA, Social Sciences Research Council-IDRF, or AIIS Junior Fellowship. Still, you should be able to manage a trip if you have department or university funding. India now outsources its visa processing to Travisa, and you should check those very helpful pages rather than believe what I say, but here's my bit of advice. If you're going to be staying only a few months in India, you can probably get by on a tourist visa. As the India Department of Education says, you can still conduct research while on a tourist visa. Tourist visas are typically only good for six months, so your trip would be limited in duration. If it's your first trip to India, that might be a good thing. To be quite honest, I wanted to come home at the 6.5 week mark on my first trip, and at the 8.5 week mark on my second. So, you might want to plan just a 1-2 month trip the first time, anyway.

If you want to stay longer than six months, the first thing you should do is check to see if your university is affiliated with AIIS. If your university is a member institution, AIIS can help you obtain a research visa! A lot of people don't seem to know this, or think they shouldn't bother the people at AIIS, but that's why your university joined this organization, to help out students like you. You should keep in mind that obtaining a research visa can take up to six months, so contact them in plenty of time. AIIS can help you arrange for a certificate of affiliation, a necessary piece of paper to get a research visa. My certificate of affiliation with Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi was arranged by USEFI, but I did a lot of emailing beforehand, making sure I had already introduced my research project to faculty in appropriate university departments. I think this is a crucial step: go ahead and e-mail these complete strangers and talk to them about your work. Really, you should do this. It can be a lot of work (I sent more emails that bounced back undelivered than I could even count), but it's good to have potential faculty contacts, and more importantly, some really interesting and helpful people.

No matter what, the process is expensive (I paid a total of $397 in fees for photos/passport renewal/research visa processing). Since everything takes so long, you're going to want to budget for overnight mailing. You're going to do a lot of photocopying (the research visa requires seven copies of the "proforma," a data sheet stating who you are and what type of research you want to do).

One thing I didn't know about until pretty late in the game is obtaining IRB clearance. As a historian, you probably won't be working with human subjects. Still, my fellowship required IRB clearance, so I had to apply for an exemption. I didn't even understand the questions on the form, actually--I presume they are clearer to people who regularly conduct ethnographic or sociological research, but I had to have several conversations with the IRB representative on campus before I had the form filled out properly. So, this might be something to get to work on right away.

*There are many other options for language programs, of course. If you are interested in Bangla, you can go through AIIS, but you can also apply to go to Dhaka through the American Institute of Bangladesh Studies. UC-Santa Barbara runs a Panjabi studies program in the summer. You can seem some other choices at the University of Chicago Summer Language Resource Center.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Royal Society.

A collection of official links to useful information for the Royal Society:

The British Library.

The BL revised its website 15 October 2008, shattering my research routine. Here are a few quick links to useful information for doing work at the British Library.

Take a deep breath.

The Social Sciences Research Council sent me a pretty useful book a few weeks ago. It's meant for social scientists, of course, but I've gleaned some helpful hints from it even though I'll be doing archival research, not sociology/ethnography/anthropology/etc.

Overseas Research: A Practical Guide
By Christopher Brendan Barrett, Jeffrey W. Cason
Published by JHU Press, 1997
ISBN 0801855144, 9780801855146
142 pages

Looking back on my previous overseas research experiences, I can see one thing that I really needed to do better: ask questions. I was really young and therefore embarrassed, so I tried to fake my way through the research experience on my own. I did a pretty good job, really, but if I could give my younger self one bit of advice, it would be: ask questions BEFORE you leave. All those professors leading your graduate seminars? They did what you're trying to do at one point in time--ask them about their experiences. They may not be so forthcoming--part of getting a Ph.D. is proving you can figure out your research yourself, I think--but for the most part, I think your professors want you to succeed. If they know something useful, they are probably going to tell you.

As for myself, I've forgotten everything useful I once knew about doing research in the U.K. The British Library has completely changed, of course, and I just don't remember much about getting into use the library at the R.I.B.A. And I know absolutely nothing about doing research in India. But if I learn anything interesting, I'll write it down so I can remember to share it with my fellow graduate students once I return.