Answered By: Kathryn FitzGerald
Last Updated: Nov 19, 2020     Views: 337

Historical Research - India

Which resources should I use for historical research on India?


Online Resources

Newspapers and Other News Media

The Times of India
Check Harvard availability
Harvard has access to this national newspaper out of Bombay back to 1861.

South Asian Newspapers 
South Asian Newspapers is one of the modules of the World Newspaper Archive, providing more than 400,000 fully searchable pages of newspapers published in South Asia dating from the 19th century. Content includes titles published in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in English, Gujarati and Bengali.

Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) 
FBIS is a United States government agency which translates the text of daily radio and television broadcasts, newspapers and periodicals, government statements, books, and other sources of unrestricted information such as databases and gray literature from non-English sources around the world (46679 results for India). Reports with translations are issued for eight world regions daily and cover such topics as military affairs, politics, the environment, societal issues, economics, and science and technology. Readex offers online access to daily reports for 1941-1996.


19th Century UK Periodicals Online, 1800-1900
Part 2 of this collection entitled "Empire" includes journals related to the expansion of the British empire published in Britain, India, Canada, South and East Africa, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Digitized Archives and Manuscripts and Print Resources

Foreign Office Files for India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, 1947-1980, Part I: 1947-1964"
Representing the DO 133, DO 134, FO 371 and FCO 37 files from The National Archives, Kew, this online collection consists of the British Government's files on the countries of South Asia from shortly before Indian partition and independence up to 1980. The collection consists of three sections: 

  • Section I: Independence, Partition and the Nehru Era, 1947-64 
  • Section II: South Asian Conflicts and Independence for Bangladesh, 1965-71 
  • Section III: Afghanistan and the Cold War, Emergency Rule in India, and the Resumption of Civilian Rule in Pakistan, 1972-80

India, Raj and Empire
Diaries, letters, maps, sketches and official and private papers relating to the East India Company's activities in India date from before 1857 (when the area came under direct rule of the British government) and from 1857 to 1947. Topics covered in varying depth include social history, urban history, trade, wars, agriculture, travel and antiquities, and Indian and Imperial politics.

Making of the Modern World, 1450-1800
Facsimile images of 61,000 works of literature on economic and business published from 1450 through 1850. Strongly represented in the collection are works critical to the study of the East India Company. It combines the selected material from two pre-eminent collections -- the Kress Collection of Business and Economics at the Baker Library Historical Collections, Harvard Business School and the Goldsmiths' Library of Economic Literature at the University of London Library. Full-text searching on more than 12 million pages provides researchers unparalleled access to this vast collection of material on commerce, finance, social conditions, politics, trade and transport.

Print Resources

See Baker Library's Special Collections website for more information about the collections below:

Historic Corporate Reports Collection 
The Historic Corporate Reports Collection includes a selection of original company documents of Indian companies the bulk of which are late twentieth century. The collection mainly consists of annual reports but includes other company-related publications. The collection currently documents approximately 83 companies, including the Tata family of companies and Indian Oil.

Baker Old Class Collection 
The Baker Old Class Collection is a valuable resource for tracing the development and growth of Indian business and industry from the late nineteenth century to the 1960s. The collection mainly includes but is not limited to trade publications and government documents. Among the many serials are The Calcutta Overland Prices Current from 1859 to 1864 and Industrial India: official organ of the All-India Manufacturers' Organization beginning in 1957. The unique arrangement of the collection brings together books, periodicals, and pamphlets by industry or topic, allowing researchers to readily browse related research materials.

Business Manuscript Collections 
There are several substantial manuscript collections, dating from the late 18th to the mid-19th centuries, which document foreign trade and commerce with India in addition to other countries. Examples include the records of the Tudor Ice Company, 1752-1902, which exported ice and other merchandise. They owned ice houses in Calcutta, Madras, Bombay, Singapore, Jamaica, Havana, etc. and the trade was primarily with these areas. The Gustavus Tuckerman collection documents Tuckerman's involvement in the import trade in China and India, 1847-1860.

Kress Collection 
The Kress Collection of Business and Economics includes over a thousand titles related to the history, culture and economy of India, with particular strengths in European commerce with and settlement of India and the history of the (English) East India Company from the early 17th century to the late 19th century. Although a majority of the resources concern British involvement and administration of India, commerce with other European countries, including France, Portugal, Denmark and the Netherlands, is also represented. Subjects covered include trade regulations on Indian imports and exports, specifically the textile, dyeing and cotton industries; the introduction of steam navigation, including the Calcutta railroad system and the East India Railway Company; debates on the East India Company's monopoly of the East India trade; general history, description and travel related to the British settlement and colonization of India; and the political and governmental administration of India, including taxation, statistics and public finance. There are also numerous guides to commerce with India for foreign merchants. Recent acquisitions include various titles related to the East India Company, the land tax in India, steam communications with India and a collection of manuscript documents related to the French trading company with India, the Compagnie des Indies and its director Simon Gilly, between 1740 and 1760.