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Arthur Berriedale Keith Collection

Collection Details

Arthur Berriedale Keith Collection held at Edinburgh University Library [Institution record]

Description of Collection

Content description

The working papers, correspondence, and books from the private library, of Arthur Berriedale Keith (1879-1944), Clerk in the Colonial Office, Professor of Sanskrit and Lecturer in the Constitution of the British Empire, University of Edinburgh.

History and development

The collection was presented to the Library in 1944, after Keith’s death, by his sister Mrs Nan Dewar.


The constitutional history and law of the British Empire as a whole; includes papers on the Government of India Bill 1931-1935; correspondence with Muriel Blundell and Sylvia Pankhurst on British policy toward Italy after the invasion of Ethiopia, 1941-1942; correspondence with other Sanskrit scholars, including Charles R Lanman (Harvard), A A MacDonell (Oxford), and F W Thomas (India Office and Oxford), 1901-1943.

General arrangement and access regulations

The papers and books are held in separate sequences. The papers are held in boxes in the Library Strong Room (Gen. 140-153) and the books, in subject sequences, on closed access on the Fifth floor of the Library (Keith Coll.). Access is by enquiry in the Special Collections Department.

Subjects of the Collection

Regions of Asia

Near & Middle East and North Africa, South East Asia.


Ethiopia, India.

Languages of material



Agriculture, Arts, Communication and media, Development, Economics, International relations, Language, Law, Literature.

Languages as linguistic focus


Names relevant to the collection:

  • Colonial Office, London
  • Indian Round Table Conferences
  • Blundell, Muriel
  • Pankhurst, (Estelle) Sylvia, 1882-1960
  • Lanman, Charles Rockwell, 1850-1941
  • MacDonell, Arthur Anthony
  • Thomas, Frederick William,1867-

Collection Material and Size of Collection

Material Types

Archival materials (includes non-published & mixed material), Books, Manuscripts, Official publications, Serials.

Total size of collection

4,800 manuscripts, 2,500 printed books

Size of collection - vernacular

Ca 600 volumes on Sanskrit language and literature; almost all are scholarly editions published in the West or secondary works. Of the MSS, Gen 153 consists of nine Sanskrit items including Keith’s notebook for junior Sanskrit.

Collection Management Information

The collection is not being actively developed.

Content date range

1896 to 1944 AD

Collection Catalogue Information


Printed books are listed by author in the Library’s Guard Book Catalogue 1580-1984 (available on microfiche). MSS are listed in Index to manuscripts, 2 vols + supplement (Boston, 1964-1981) and in Shinn, Ridgway F., Guide to Arthur Berriedale Keith papers and correspondence, 1896-1941 (1981).

Collection printed catalogues

Index to manuscripts, 2 vols + supplement.
Boston, 1964-1981.

Guide to Arthur Berriedale Keith papers and correspondence, 1896-1941.
Shinn, Ridgway F.

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