Papers of Sir Henry Miers Elliot

Scope and Content

The collection spans Henry Miers Elliot's career working for the Indian Civil Service from 1827 to 1853, and includes:

  • Manuscripts mainly concerned with administration. These are in English and local Indian languages.
  • Correspondence to Henry Miers Elliot
  • Printed Material
  • Visual Material, including copper-plate rubbings, agricultural drawings and a map of Baiswara.

Some of the material had previously been identified by Professor Simon Digby, Honorary Librarian to the Royal Asiatic Society (1970-1984). The information provided by him has been kept with the Henry Miers Elliot Papers.

Administrative / Biographical History

Sir Henry Miers Elliot was a civil servant and historian who worked with the East India Company in India for 26 years. He is most well known for a compilation of his papers, 'The History of India, as Told by its own Historians', which was compiled and published posthumously in eight volumes by John Dowson, between 1867 and 1877.

After being appointed to the position of Assistant to the Magistrate and Collector of Bareilly in May 1828, Elliot advanced to a number of administrative positions within the East India Company, moving largely around Northern and Central India. His papers, which were written and collected during his time spent in India, comprise largely of research towards his various job postings.

The papers of Henry Miers Elliot have been collected by the Royal Asiatic Society since his death in 1853, though for much of the material it is unsure as to their acquisitional status. Notes by Professor Simon Digby from the late-20th century have helped to identify much of the material.

Access Information

Open. Please contact the archivist using the email address given here. 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

The circumstances of the acquisition are unknown. According to Edward Thomas' Preface to "The History of India as Told by its Historians", Elliot's papers were brought to England by his widow after his death in South Africa in 1853. The material for future volumes was placed under the auspices of the East India Company who appointed W.H. Morley to continue the work. Morley was unable to do this and the worked passed to Professor John Dowson, who completed the material in 1867. Therefore it is likely that the Elliot material came to the Royal Asiatic Society at some point after the publication of "The History of India" or after Dowson's death in 1881.

Archivist's Note

This catalogue was prepared by Amy McCaffrey, archival volunteer, under the supervision of Nancy Charley, archivist of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland in 2016. Further material from the Collections that had been identified as associated with Henry Miers Elliot was added to the catalogue in 2020 (HME/8) by Nancy Charley.

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

Within the Royal Asiatic Society Collections there are some artworks donated by Henry Miers Elliot or found with his papers:

  • Jambudvipa, a Jain map of the universe c.1830 (RAS Head catalogue 065.001)
  • Five drawings of standards (alms) by an Indian artist probably from Delhi or Hyderabad, c.1830 (RAS Head Catalogue 092.006-092.010)

Henry Miers Elliot also donated several bound Indian language manuscripts which can be found in the RAS Library catalogue

The Library also contains a copy of 'The History of the India as told by its own Historians: the Muhammadan Period' by Henry Miers Elliot, edited by John Dowson.

Corporate Names

Geographical Names