Royal Asiatic Society Publications: Minutes of the Publications Committee and the Monograph Editorial Board

Scope and Content

The Royal Asiatic Society has a strong history of publications, both of its academic Journal, and of monographs and other literature. During the course of its existence various committees have overseen this work. This collection contains the minutes for the meetings of these committees.

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.

Throughout its history publication has played an important role within the Society. The Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society was first published in 1827. This was replaced by the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society in 1834, an academic journal which is still actively publishing. The Society has also produced monographs and other books, the majority of which have been, and are funded, by established funds. These include the Oriental Translation Fund , the Prize Publication Fund, the Monograph Fund, the James G.R. Forlong Fund, the B.C. Law Trust Fund, and the Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt Fund.

For much of its history these activities were overseen by the Council but committees were also organised for oversight. In 1920 a Finance and Publications Committee was established, which remained active until 1930, the first meeting being held on 5 October 1920. Minutes for the meetings of these committees can be found within the Council Minute Books . The Council Minutes also record that on the 13th December, 1951, Dr Waley had agreed to serve on the Editorial Board. The Minutes for 17 April 1952 state that the report of the Editorial Board was approved. It is from this time that separate minutes were collated.

From December 1951 until November 1968 the committee was known as the Editorial Board. At an Extraordinary Meeting of the Board, on 14 November 1968, it was approved that "The Editorial Board to be known in future as the Publications Committee'. The Publications Committee is still active currently. However in 1999 it was agreed that an Editorial Board should also be established with the appointment of Area Editors, specialists in different parts of Asia. The first meeting of this Editorial Board was held in 24 February 2000. The name Monograph Editorial Board was adopted in 2013, under which it is still active.


The Minutes were created into two series representing the two main committees involved with publications. They are titled under the current name usage:

  • RAS PUB1/1 - Publications Committee
  • RAS PUB1/2 - Monograph Editorial Board

Access Information

Partially open. Recent minutes are closed for confidentiality reasons. Please contact the archivist. Details can be found 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

As part of the institutional records, they have always been part of the Society's possessions.

Archivist's Note

This material was catalogued by Nancy Charley, RAS Archivist, in 2022.

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 form part of the institutional records of the Royal Asiatic Society.

Related Material

The Council Minutes also provide information concerning the Publications of the Society. There are also other institutional archives for publications. Please contact the archivist for further information.

Information concerning the Society's Journal and current publications can be found on the website of the Royal Asiatic Society.