Epigraphic Papers of Gordon Hannington Luce

Scope and Content

Epigraphic papers of of Gordon Hannington Luce, including transliterations and notes relating to Burmese stone inscriptions reproduced in G. H. Luce and Pe Maung Tin (ed.), 'Inscriptions of Burma' (1934-1956, Oxford University Press). Comprises: loose transliterations of stone inscriptions reproduced in 'Inscriptions of Burma' [PP MS 103/01]; epigraphic notebooks containing transliterations of Burmese Ava Kingdom inscriptions [PP MS 103/02]; and research notes and other transliterations of Burmese stone inscriptions [PP MS 103/03].

Administrative / Biographical History

G. H. (Gordon Hannington) Luce was a scholar of Burma [Myanmar] and Southeast Asia. Luce was born on 20 January 1889 in Gloucester, England, the son of Rev. John James Luce, a vicar. He was educated at Dean Close's School, Cheltenham, later studying Classics and English Literature at Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge. In 1912, Luce was appointed to the Indian Education Service as Lecturer in English Literature at the Government College, Rangoon [Yangon], Burma [Myanmar], which later became a constituent college of the University of Rangoon, following its establishment in December 1920. Whilst lecturing in English Literature, Luce developed a strong interest in Burmese culture and history, especially in the art and architecture of the ancient city of Pagan [Bagan]. In 1921 Luce was appointed Lecturer in Burmese and Far Eastern History at the newly-established University of Rangoon. Later being appointed Chair of History at the University of Rangoon in 1953. His work on Burmese history partly focused on applying the methods of Western epigraphy to the Burmese archaeological record. Luce's publications included: G. H. Luce and Pe Maung Tin (ed.): 'Inscriptions of Burma', Portfolios I-V. 1934-1956, (Oxford University Press), G. H. Luce, 'Old Burma: Early Pagan' (1969–70), and G. H. Luce, 'Phases of Pre-Pagan Burma' (published posthumously in 1985). Luce served as Visiting Professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London from 1951-1953. Following the 1962 Burmese coup d'état and the policies of the Union Revolutionary Council government, Luce was forced to leave Burma in 1964. He retired to his sister's farm in Jersey, where he continued to write on Burmese history, language and art and architecture. In 1915, Luce married Daw Tee Tee, sister of Professor U Pe Maung Tin. He was awarded the CBE (1952) and Gold Medal of the Royal Asiatic Society in 1966. G.H. Luce died on 2 May 1979.


The collection is organised into three series:

PP MS 103/01 - Transliterations relating to 'Inscriptions of Burma'

PP MS 103/02 - Notebooks: transliterations of Ava Kingdom inscriptions

PP MS 103/03 - Research notes and other transliterations

Conditions Governing Access


Acquisition Information

The epigraphic papers of Gordon Hannington Luce were donated to SOAS in May 1979 by the Luce family.

Archivist's Note



Not expected.

Related Material

Gordon Hannington Luce's SOAS personnel file is available in the Visiting Lecturers and Fellows records series within the SOAS Archive [Reference: SOAS]. This file includes correspondence regarding his appointment as Visiting Professor from 1951-1953 and regarding the acquisition by SOAS of his epigraphic papers in 1979. Access is subject to researchers signing a data protection declaration. Please apply to docenquiry@soas.ac.uk for access.

SOAS Library holds a copy of G. H. Luce and Pe Maung Tin (ed.): 'Inscriptions of Burma', Portfolios I-V, 1934-1956, Oxford University Press [Classmark: Ex 51 / 28747]

The Luce Collection is available at the National Library of Australia, comprising the papers and library of Gordon Hannington Luce, including: general correspondence, 1922–1979, diaries, notebooks, personal documents, research notes, lectures, printed material (2000 books, pamphlets and serials), photographs, and maps. The papers and manuscripts are housed in the Manuscripts Collection at MS 6574. The printed materials in the Luce Collection are kept together as a collection within the Asian Collections; the classmarks have the prefix LUCE. The photographs are housed in the Pictures Collection at PIC P516.

Geographical Names