Cook Islander missionaries: recovering hidden histories from missionary archives

By Joanne Ichimura |2nd October 2020|Collections & Research|0 comments

This week’s blog looks ahead to the bicentenary of the arrival of the Christian gospel in the Cook Islands which will take place in October 2021, and the instrumental and largely forgotten role of indigenous Cook Islanders in the evangelisation of the region from the early 19th century. New research is rediscovering the histories of these men and women, highlighting their personal commitment to what began as a foreign mission

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J P Mills

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|11th September 2020|Collections & Research|

James Philip Mills (PP MS 58) was a pioneering anthropologist in the study of tribal communities in north-east India and the borders of Burma. Born in Stockport, Cheshire,in 1890, Mills was educated at Winchester School and Corpus Christi College, Oxford. In 1913 he joined the Indian Civil Service and served in North-East India until 1947. He was Sub-divisional officer at Mokokchung in the Naga Hills of Assam from 1917-1924 and

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Madagascar on SOAS Digital Collections

By Joanne Ichimura |17th June 2020|Collections & Research|2 comments

In this week’s blog we would like to shout about SOAS Library’s Madagascar collections, a fantastically rich regional resource which attracts visitors from Madagascar as well as the international scholarly community. These collections have experienced a burst of activity in recent months in terms of new digital content being added to our Digital Collections. New content has included striking images from the Royal Court, focused on Madagascar’s Queens, some of whom we

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Kaishien gaden, or The Mustard Seed Garden Manual of Painting

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|1st June 2020|Collections & Research, Teaching & Learning|0 comments

What hides behind this poetic title? One of the most popular Chinese painting manuals from the Edo period in Japan, of course! Did you know that SOAS Special Collections held a very rare complete set of the first Japanese edition of this manual? Kaishien gaden 芥子園画伝 is the Japanese rendering of the famous Chinese printed manual for painters Jie zi yuan hua zhuan 芥子園畫傳  (Mustard Seed Garden Manual of Painting)

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Robert Hart, Inspector General of the Chinese Maritime Customs Service

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|22nd May 2020|Collections & Research|

In celebration of Maritime Day, this latest blog post examines one of the central figures in the Imperial Chinese Maritime Customs Service, Sir Robert Hart. Hart became a key figure in the history of China in the 19th century and its foreign relations with the West. Witness to four foreign invasions of China during a time when the country was struggling with the need for modernisation, Hart played a major

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#SOASFromHome – new digital content on SOAS Digital Collections

By Joanne Ichimura |7th May 2020|Behind the scenes, Collections & Research|0 comments

The current lockdown may mean that SOAS Special Collections has closed its doors, but we are still open for virtual business!  Our Digital Collections have been literally on the March (… and April) with lots of work going on behind-the-scenes. Over the next few weeks we will be exploring some of the new digital content on our social media platforms under #SOASFromHome. Follow us on Twitter! Some of the hi-lights from the last few

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Women’s History Month 2020: Pandita Ramabai Sarasvati

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|23rd March 2020|Collections & Research|0 comments

To end our series of blogs to mark Women’s History Month 2020, we focus on Pandita Ramabai Sarasvati (1858-1922), Indian scholar, feminist, educator and social reformer. Published works by Ramabai, accounts of her life and photographs can be found in our collections at SOAS Library. Pandita Ramabai Sarasvati was born Ramabai Dongre, a high-caste Brahmin. Her father was a Sanskrit scholar and taught her Sanskrit at home. Orphaned at the

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Women’s History Month 2020: Semane Setlhoko Khama

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|16th March 2020|Collections & Research|0 comments

To celebrate Women’s History Month 2020, we are looking  at the lives of some of the influential women documented in the archives and special collections held by SOAS. This week we focus on Semane Setlhoko Khama (1881-1937), mohumagadi (queen or queen mother) of the BaNgwato of the Bechuanaland Protectorate, now Botswana, and Christian leader and teacher.  In 1900, Semane became the fourth wife of Khama III (c.1837-1923), kgosi (chief) of

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Women’s History Month 2020 : Sikandar Begum, Nawab of Bhopal

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|8th March 2020|Collections & Research|0 comments

Women, Power and Religion in Bhopal, India تاریخ سفر مکّہ   Tārīkh-i safar-i Makkah (A Journey to Mecca) by Sikandar Begum, Nawab of Bhopal   The discovery in SOAS Special Collections of a manuscript thought lost for the last 150 years allows us to re-introduce an extraordinary figure of 19th century India: Sikandar Begum, Regent and Nawab of Bhopal (1816-1868).                      

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Special Collections Open Day

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|8th November 2019|Behind the scenes, Collections & Research|0 comments

We recently held our annual Open Day which was a great success. A lot of time, planning and effort goes into selecting the items for display and making captions for these, so we were delighted to smash last year’s record for visitors and welcome over 110 SOAS staff, students and alumni.   As always, when selecting items for display, we try to give a taste of the breadth of our

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