Sanskrit manuscripts collected by Brian Houghton Hodgson, with some correspondence and papers

Scope and Content

Nepalese Buddhist manuscripts, 12th-19th century. There are also some personal papers, including family photographs, diaries and letters.

Administrative / Biographical History

Brian Houghton Hodgson (1800-94) was an Indian civil servant and orientalist. He spent seven years working in India, and was appointed Assistant-Resident in Nepal in 1825, and Resident in 1833, a position he occupied until 1843. Details are given in the Dictionary of National Biography.

Access Information

Entry to read in the Library is permitted only on presentation of a valid reader's card (for admissions procedures see

Acquisition Information

MSS. Hodgson 1-8 were presented to the Library by Hodgson in 1837. MSS. Hodgson 9-17 were acquired later, though the exact date is not known.


MSS. Hodgson 1-7 were at one time wrongly classed as MSS. Walker; this was corrected sometime prior to the publication of Aufrecht's catalogue in 1864. MS. Hodgson 8 did not reach its current position until 1897; it was with Madan's papers from 1837 to c. 1890, when it became MS. Sansk. d. 21.

Collection level description created by Susan Thomas, Department of Special Collections and Western Manuscripts.

Other Finding Aids

Brief descriptions of MSS. Hodgson 1-8 are in Falconer Madan, et al., A summary catalogue of western manuscripts in the Bodleian Library at Oxford which have not hitherto been catalogued in the Quarto series, with references to the oriental and other manuscripts (7 vols. in 8 [vol. II in 2 parts], Oxford, 1895-1953; reprinted, with corrections in vols. I and VII, Munich, 1980), vol. IV, nos. 22072-9.

The manuscripts are also summarily described in the card catalogue, arranged by language, located in the Oriental Reading Room.

Theodor Aufrecht, Moriz Winternitz, A.B. Keith Codices Sanscriticos complectens, 2 vols. (Oxford, 1864-1909). All of the manuscripts are described in the second volume by Winternitz and Keith; MSS. Hodgson 1-7 are also described by Aufrecht in the first volume of the catalogue.

Custodial History

The eight volumes presented to the Bodleian Library were part of a collection of 144 Sanskrit manuscripts discovered by Hodgson in Nepal in 1824. The manuscripts were distributed between London, Calcutta, Paris and Oxford.

Related Material

Some papers of B.H. Hodgson and his wife are held separately by the Department of Special Collections and Western Manuscripts (MSS. Eng. hist. c. 262; Hodgson 9-19).