Papers of John Drew Bate

Scope and Content

Papers of John Drew Bate with some allied correspondence of his Daughter, E.E. Bate.

John Drew Bate was not only an active missionary, but also interested in the wider culture of India and, in particular, the Hindi language. These papers reflect his interests, comprising mainly of notes and manuscripts for sermons, articles and books. He is particularly known for authoring the Hindi Dictionary, first published in 1875 with a later edition in 1918. His handwritten notes for this dictionary are included in the papers, along with Manuscript notes for a book on Islamic Studies.

Administrative / Biographical History

John Drew Bate was born in Plymouth in 1836. He trained at Regent’s Park College, London and then in 1865, sailed to India to work for the Baptist Missionary Society, the same year that he married, Beatrice Tagg. After a period in East Bengal (now Bangladesh) he was posted to Allahabad in 1868 where he stayed until his retirement in 1897. He became a member of the Asiatic Society of Bengal in 1873 and the Royal Asiatic Society in 1881.

He authored the Hindi Dictionary published in 1875 , adding 25,000 new words and forms of words. At his death this work was still considered the standard text and by order of the Education Department of the Government of India, copies were placed in all schools and colleges in India where Hindi was spoken. Bate contributed articles to the Missionary Herald, Baptist Magazine and Asiatic Quarterly Review. He also published An Examination of the Claims of Ishmael as viewed by Muhammadans.

He returned to England on his retirement. He had one son who lived to adulthood but was killed in the WWI and was outlived by his wife and their daughters. He died on 26th January, 1923.


The collection has been arranged in sections separating manuscripts, sermon notes and other material, creating three different series with the first further subdivided. This the arrangement is:

  • JDB/1/1 Hindi Dictionary
  • JDB/1/2 Islamic Studies
  • JDB/1/3 The Lord's Prayer
  • JDB/1/4 India as a Field of Mission
  • JDB/1/5 Hindi Music
  • JDB/1/6 Ancient Alphabetical Writing
  • JDB/1/7 Thomas called Didymus
  • JDB/1/8 The Burrisaul Guns
  • JDB/1/9 Páo-roti
  • JDB/1/10 Indian art treasures
  • JDB/1/11 Curiosities in Hindustani
  • JDB/1/12 The Confessions of Saint Augustine
  • JDB/1/13 The Beloved Disciple
  • JDB/1/14 "The Authorized Version"
  • JDB/1/15 The Transfiguration
  • JDB/1/16 Christless Prayer
  • JDB/1/17 "Not by Bread Alone"
  • JDB/1/18 Untitled Manuscripts
  • JDB/2 Sermon notes
  • JDB/3 Correspondence, photographs and packaging

Access Information

Open. 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

Some labels suggest these papers were donated to the Royal Asiatic Society by John Drew Bate's daughter, Miss E.E. Bate, at some point around 1930, though the details of their acquisition are unknown

Archivist's Note

The descriptions were created by Nancy Charley, Archivist at the Royal Asiatic Society, in 2015. The original order of the material was unknown and therefore it was arranged according to the different types of material of which the collection is comprised

Autobiographical information was sourced from

  • Grierson, George A, Obituary of John Drew Bate, JRAS 1923:2 pp.330-332
  • Bennet, Clinton, Victorian Images of Islam, 1992, pp.150-174

Separated Material

The Royal Asiatic Society hold copies of "A dictionary of the Hindee language" (1918, 2nd edition) and "Notes on the Hindi language" (1875) both authored by John Drew Bate

Conditions Governing Use

Digital photography (without flash) for research purposes may be permitted upon completion of a copyright declaration form, and with respect to current UK copyright law.

Related Material

A folder of the papers of John Drew Bate are held by the Angus Library, Regent's Park College, Oxford

Geographical Names