Papers of William Theobald

Scope and Content

These papers consist of "The Symbolism of the Puranas (Part I)", subtitled, "An enumeration of the symbols on the 'Purana' coinage of Hindustan (with four plates) by W. Theobald, formerly Deputy Superintendent of the Geological Survey of India". (The plates are not with these papers). This is a draft manuscript, typed with handwritten corrections, of an article by Theobald subsequent to his two previous articles on the subject published in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1890, Part 1, No. 3, p.181f and Vol. LIX, 1901, Part 1 No. 2, p.38f. The article builds on this work and the earlier work of Walter Elliot and Edward Thomas. It is a systematic review of all the symbols used. It is unknown whether this article was ever published.

Administrative / Biographical History

Theobald arrived in Calcutta on the ship Hindostan in March 1847 and worked as a volunteer in the coal exploration of the upper Damodar and Son valleys under David Williams. During this time Joseph Hooker visited him and they spent time together. Later Theobald became an assistant to John McClelland who took over the exploration from David Williams. He went to Burma in 1855 as a staff of the Geological Survey of India and took over the Pegu survey. He returned to Bengal on completion of the survey in 1873 to be appointed Deputy Superintendent of Bengal in 1876. From 1868 to 1876 he described a dozen new species of reptiles. Theobald is known chiefly as a malacologist and naturalist but also seems to have an interest in the coinage of Hindustan, perhaps after his retirement from service in 1881.

Conditions Governing Access

Open. Please contact the archivist. 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

It is unknown how these Papers came to be part of the Royal Asiatic Society Collections.

Archivist's Note

This material was catalogued by Nancy Charley, RAS Archivist, in 2019.

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.

Custodial History

These papers were the property of William Theobald. He may have submitted them as a potential article for the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society.

Related Material

The Library Collections contain copies of the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal in which Theobald's articles were published.

Geographical Names