The RSAA archive’s unique and varied collection spans from the mid-19th century to the present day. It includes maps, images and personal papers, notably those of Sir Richmond Shakespear, Lieut Col F M Bailey, Lieut Col R C F Schomberg, Sir Stuart Mitford Fraser, E C M Bowra, and Sir Charles Bell. The watercolours and photographs of General Sir Edward Francis Chapman, made during the Forsyth Mission to Yarkand (1873-4), provided the first extensive visual record of Chinese Turkistan, and are good examples of archive material that reflect the mixture of diplomacy and exploration characteristic of the Society's collection.
Thanks to support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the catalogue of the archival collections of the Society is now accessible via the website of the National Archive Office. The catalogue is also held in paper form in the Society's library. This project ensures that the unique historical resources of the Society will be more widely-known and utilised, and will allow the Society to contribute more actively to the national archival heritage. Its aim is to provide a framework for long-term custody and access for researchers.
The RSAA archive has been divided into three sections:
The RSAA’s photographic collection contains images from the late 19th century to the present, and our glass slide collection begins in the 1920s. Interesting highlights include images of Kashgar, China, as it was in 1873, a portrait of the 13th Dalai Lama and the crown prince of Sikkim taken in Calcutta in 1910, and a slide made in 1926 of Reza Shah Pahlavi.
The photographic and slide collection is slowly being catalogued and negatives and prints are being produced from the originals. The images will be made available in a digital format when time and funding allow. Anyone wishing to consult the archives should apply to the office and make an appointment to come and view them in person so that the relevant materials may be prepared in advance.
The following countries, regions and cities are represented in the Society’s photographic collection:
Contemporary South Asian Youth Cultures and Fashion Symposium 25 and 26 September 2014 more…
The Art and Archaeology of the Indian Sub-Continent A series of 27 lectures over three terms at the Bhavan Centre more…
Soqotra: Life in the Arabian Periphery Thanos has an excellent collection of photographs of Socotra having participated in two expeditions there
Churchill's First War: Young Winston & the Taliban A riveting and revelatory account of Winston Churchill's first campaign, in Afghanistan in the 1890's, offering shocking parallels into today's Afghan war