Royal Asiatic Society: Sesquicentenary

Scope and Content

In 1973 the Royal Asiatic Society celebrated its Sesquicentenary (150 years). The archival material includes Planning committee administration; material connected with the various events held, exhibitions put on and publications produced in celebration of the occasion; and material concerned with fundraising for the Society.

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 1973 the Society celebrated its Sesquicentenary with various activities including an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, a Symposium on "The Undeciphered Languages", various 'National Days' and School lectures, a Reception, a Dinner, and a further Sherry Reception, and with the publication of "The Royal Asiatic Society: Its History and Treasures".


The material was arranged in series thus:

  • RAS SESQ/1 - Planning Committee and Administration
  • RAS SESQ/2 - Printed Material
  • RAS SESQ/3 - Sesquicentenary Reception
  • RAS SESQ/4 - Sesquicentenary Dinner
  • RAS SESQ/5 -Sherry Reception
  • RAS SESQ/6 - Symposium: The Undeciphered Languages
  • RAS SESQ/7 - Country Days
  • RAS SESQ/8 - Schools' Lectures
  • RAS SESQ/9 - Correspondence with Branch Societies
  • RAS SESQ/10 - Exhibitions
  • RAS SESQ/11 - Publications
  • RAS SESQ/12 - Appeal Brochures
  • RAS SESQ/13 - Standard Appeal Statements and Letters
  • RAS SESQ/14 - Use of Professional Fund-Raisers
  • RAS SESQ/15 - Companies to Approach for Sesquicentenary Appeal
  • RAS SESQ/16 - Donations to Sesquicentenary Appeal
  • RAS SESQ/17 - Administration of the Sesquicentenary Appeal
  • RAS SESQ/18 - Letters of Congratulations

Access Information

Open. Please contact the archivist. 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

This 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 and the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society will give further information regarding the Sesquicentenary Celebrations.

Geographical Names