Papers of Richard and Turner Macan

Scope and Content

The main item in these papers is the Letter Book, complied by Richard Macan concerned with the sale of the estate of the late Major Turner Macan. There is also a note written by Richard Macan and some modern research notes on the Letter Book and Turner Macan's biography.

Administrative / Biographical History

Captain Turner Macan (1792-1836) of Carriff, Co. Armagh, was Persian Interpreter to the Commander-in-Chief of the British Army in India. His edition of the Shahnameh was the first ever printed in Europe. The text was prepared from seventeen complete manuscripts and four fragments, most of which were written in Persia, lent to Macan by various British army officers and civil servants as well as local nawabs. One of these mauscripts (Rylands Persian MS 932, University of Machester) was presented to the translator by Nasir-ud-Din Haidar, the King of Oudh.

Richard Macan was with Turner Macan when he died in Calcutta in 1836 and took charge of his affairs.

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

It is unknown how this material came into the possession of the Society.

Archivist's Note

The Papers were 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

The Letter Book was compiled by Richard Macan to document his dealings with the estate of Turner Macan to be presented to the executors of Turner Macan's estate, Major Thomas Macan and Mr Graham Johnston.

Related Material

Within our Library Collections we have copies of Turner Macan's translations of the Shah nameh and the The Alif laila or Book of the thousand nights and one night. We also have Macan's Kitāb-i Shāhnāmah (كتاب شاهنامه) / taṣnīf-i Abū al-Qāsim Ṭūsī mutakhalliṣ bi-Firdawsī kih bi-saʿy va ihtimām-i Tirnir Makān, and a biography of Macan written by Keith Haines. Further details can be found on our online catalogue .