Each archival collection given below is a cluster of documents with some specific historical unity. Most collections are related to a particular family or lineage; others have been selected to illustrate particular documentary forms. While some of these collections are housed within a single archive or private library, others are scattered across multiple institutions. The collections presented below are ordered from largest to smallest by the number of documents available on this site.
Purshottam Das collection
This was the household archive of a family of landlords from district Dhar
in central India. The archive was scattered and subsequently reconstructed from
3 locations – the National Archives of India, New Delhi; the Dar al-Athar
al-Islamiyyah Museum, Kuwait; and the Choudhary Family Collection, Dhar.
Solapur Deshmukh collection
This collection relates to the household archive of a land-owning mercantile
family in western India, who also served as village officials. The collection
is currently housed at the Bharat Itihasa Samsodhana Mandal, Pune, India.
Ratansi Purshottam collection
This collection principally pertains to the business activities of Ratansi
Purshottam, a Kachhchi businessman in Muscat, Oman, whose family has been doing
business out of the port city since the mid-nineteenth century. Ratansi
Purshottam was engaged in the trade in general merchandise and arms, but also
moneylending, until his death in 1904. More than half of the family’s documents
are currently housed in the National Archives and Records Authority in Muscat;
the rest remain in the family’s possession, and form part of the private
collection of Ratanshi Purshottam great-grandson, Vimal Purecha.
James Tod collection
This collection was assembled by the British East India Company official
Lietenant-Colonel James Tod in the first quarter of the nineteenth century.
While posted in Rajputana (known as Rajasthan today), Tod acquired manuscripts
and commissioned copies of various historical documents from the region, many
of which he used to write a history of the region entitled 'Annals and
Antiquities of Rajasthan.' Tod was a founding member of the Royal Asiatic
Society of Great Britain and Ireland and donated his manuscripts to the
society, mostly after his death. The documents presented on this site are a
small selection of these materials.
Indore Mandloi collection
This is a household archive of the Mandlois, a family of landlords from
Indore in central India. First holding tax-free rights to land in the district
Kampel, they were central to Mughal and Maratha governance of the Malwa region
as well as to the founding of Indore city. This collection is currently housed
in the family's main residence, known the Bada Raola, in Indore.
Arabic Deeds (Zanzibar) collection
This collection refers to the series of Arabic deeds and contracts copied in
registers dating to the nineteenth century that are held in the General Deeds
(AM) collection at the Zanzibar National Archives, Tanzania. Each document copy
is numbered in the register, and below the copied Arabic text there is an
English summary as well as the date the copy was made and the signature of the
British Vice Consul in Zanzibar. Private deeds were registered in this way in
anticipation of legal disputes.
Jodhpur Bahi collection
This collection consists of entries from hundreds of registers known as
bahis maintained by the Kingdom of Marwar and later Jodhpur Princely State in
western Rajasthan. Many of these registers are now held in the Rajasthan State
Archives, Bikaner. The documents from this collection featured on this site are
drawn from a series known as the Jodhpur Sanad Parvana Bahis, which contain
official copies of government orders.
Valota Deshmukh collection
This is a household archive of a landlord family from the village of Valota
in the Deccan.
Gujarati Deeds (Zanzibar) collection
This collection refers to the series of Gujarati deeds and contracts held in
the General Deeds (AM) collection at the Zanzibar National Archives, Tanzania.
Primarily produced in the second half of the nineteenth century, these
documents are copies registered by Gujarati merchants, and their wives and
widows, with the British consulate in anticipation of legal disputes. A
Gujarati clerk copied each deed into the register and assigned it an
identifying number; then, a short English descriptions was added, either by the
clerk or the consul/registrar who signed the copy.
This collection is a household archive of the Hamdanis, a notable family
Kapad Dwara Documents
The documents in this collection are records held by the Jaipur royal
family. A catalogue of these documents was written by Gopalnarayan Bahura and
Chandramani Singh, and the transcriptions and translations included on this
website are based on images published in that catalogue.
This is a lone document housed in the Liverpool museum, encased in a
cardboard tube. There are no further accession details are currently
Richard Eaton collection
This is the research collection of Prof. Richard Eaton, eminent historian of
Mughal India and Persianate South Asia more broadly. These documents were
photographed by Prof. Eaton from several district record rooms in Bangladesh in
the 1980s. These documents formed the basis of his pathbreaking book, The Rise
of Islam and the Bengal Frontier. Prof. Eaton has kindly shared a copy of these
documents – around 600 in number with the Lawforms project – a very small
sample is presented here.