Royal Asiatic Society Collections Acquisitions Records

Scope and Content

This archive consists of registers, lists and correspondence concerned with the acquisitions and accessions of the Collections of the Society. The Society has not kept comprehensive records throughout its history. Further information pertaining to the Acquisitions of the Society can be found in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society and in the Minute books for the Council and General Meetings. Accessions continue in the life of the Society. More recent ones are held in the Society's records management system and will be transferred to the archive in due course.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland was founded by the eminent Sanskrit scholar Sir Henry Thomas Colebrooke on the 15th March 1823. It received its Royal Charter from King George IV on the 11th August 1824 'for the investigation of subjects connected with and for the encouragement of science, literature and the arts in relation to Asia'. It continues as a forum for those who are interested in the languages, cultures and history of Asia to meet and exchange ideas.


The archive was arranged chronologically.The early years were arranged according to the dates of the Donation Register created at that time. The series are thus:

  • RAS COLL3/1 - 1823-1831
  • RAS COLL3/2 - 1831-1843
  • RAS COLL3/3 - 1843-1857
  • RAS COLL3/4 - 1858-1875
  • RAS COLL3/5 - 1876-1900
  • RAS COLL3/6 - 1901-1950
  • RAS COLL3/7 - 1951-1990
  • RAS COLL3/8 - 1991-2010
  • RAS COLL3/9 - 2010 -

Access Information

Some material may be closed for confidentiality reasons. Some of this material is held electronically. Access to these can be provided in the Reading Room. Please contact the archivist using the email address given The archive is open on Tuesdays and Fridays 10-5, and Thursdays 2-5. Access is to any researcher without appointment but it will help if an appointment is made via phone or email. Please bring photo ID

Acquisition Information

These are part of the institutional records of the Royal Asiatic Society which have been accumulated throughout its history.

Archivist's Note

These Papers were catalogued by Nancy Charley, RAS Archivist, in 2018.

Custodial History

These records are part of the Royal Asiatic Society's Institutional Records and therefore part of the historical records of the Society.

Related Material

The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society often holds information about the Society's acquisitions either in its Library Section or in the Report of the Anniversary meeting. Likewise the Minutes of the Council and General Meetings may hold information about donations to the Society.