Royal Asiatic Society: Centenary

Scope and Content

In 1923 the Royal Asiatic Society celebrated its Centenary. This archival material contains a scrapbook with Centenary correspondence and invitations, further congratulatory correspondence, material concerning the Centenary Events, and correspondence concerning the publication of a Centenary Volume.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland was founded by the eminent Sanskrit scholar Sir Henry Thomas Colebrooke on the 15th March 1823. It received its Royal Charter from King George IV on the 11th August 1824 'for the investigation of subjects connected with and for the encouragement of science, literature and the arts in relation to Asia'. It continues as a forum for those who are interested in the languages, cultures and history of Asia to meet and exchange ideas.
In 1923 the Centenary was celebrated with an international gathering of orientalists. The Prince of Wales and the Prime Minister attended the opening reception, the Government gave a lunch at Claridge's over which the Secretary of State presided. The Lord Mayor gave a reception at Mansion House, honorary degrees were conferred by Oxford and Cambridge; and there was a concluding banquet at the Hotel Cecil. A special supplement to the Journal was published containing a selection of the papers that had been presented. A Centenary Volume was also published edited by F.E. Pargiter.


The material was divided into four series:

  • RAS CEN/1 - Commemorative Scrapbook
  • RAS CEN/2 - Centenary Events
  • RAS CEN/3 - Congratulatory Correspondence
  • RAS CEN/4 - Centenary Volume

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

These are part of the institutional records of the Royal Asiatic Society which have been accumulated throughout its history.

Archivist's Note

The 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 records are part of the Royal Asiatic Society's Institutional Records and therefore part of the historical records of the Society.

Related Material

The Minutes of the Council Meetings will give further information regarding the Centenary Celebrations

The chapter, "A History of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1823-1973" by C.F. Beckingham, within "The Royal Asiatic Society: Its History and Treasures", edited by Stuart Simmonds and Simon Digby, published 1979, provides further information regarding the Centenary. Copies of the supplement to the Journal and the Centenary Volume are available in our Library Collections.