Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York City

Located between West 135th and 136th street in Harlem, the Schomburg Centre is part of the New York Public Library (NYPL). The centre’s history is rooted in the 135th street branch, opened in 1905 as part of the enormous library construction programme funded by Andrew Carnegie. From the start of the 1920s the library became a …

A Princely Archive: The Ganga Singh Memorial Trust records, Bikaner, Rajasthan, India

The nation state monopolises many official archives. These include archives at the level of the nation (the National Archives of India, in New Delhi, or the UK in Kew, London), but also at subsidiary levels (the Scottish National Archives in Ediburgh, the Bengal archives in Kolkata, the Nottinghamshire County archives in Nottingham). Conferencing the International argues that …

The Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi

Undertaking historical research in India presents the researcher with a more broadly familiar set of dilemmas: oral or archival history; popular or elite; published materials, commercial products, popular objects and social movements, or official documents, state repositories and the archive of power? These are, of course, false distinctions; the popular press tells us much about …

The National Archives of India

The National Archives of India in New Delhi, like the British National Archives at Kew in London, turn government into History. Minutes, memoranda, laws, reports, and inter-governmental circulars, designed solely for the purpose of colonial bureaucracy, now become the stuff of history making; a dauntingly huge Imperial Archive. A substantial body of scholarship exists on …

International Institute of Agriculture Archives, Rome

I recently spent ten days at the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Rome, investigating the FAO’s forgotten precursor, the International Institute of Agriculture (IIA). The IIA was established in 1905 by David Lubin (1849-1919), a wealthy American businessman and agrarian philosopher whose name is memorialised in the FAO’s library. The IIA reflected Lubin’s …

British Parliamentary Archives, London

The Parliamentary Archives house the records of the House of Lords, the House of Commons and other collections relating to the running of Parliament. Visits are by appointment only and the staff were kind enough to have ordered in-advance some documents I had located via the online database, Portcullis. These included personal papers (Correspondence between …