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Marsden Collection

Collection Details

Marsden Collection held at King's College London Library [Institution record]

Description of Collection

Content description

William Marsden (1754-1836), noted orientalist and philologist, worked for the East India Company in Sumatra from 1770 to 1779, achieving the position of secretary. On returning to Britain, he set up an East India agency business with his brother. In 1795 he accepted the post of second secretary to the Admiralty, becoming first secretary in 1804. Retiring in 1807, he pursued his interests in philology, oriental history and numismatics. His major published works include: 'A grammar of the Malayan language' (1812), 'A dictionary of the Malayan language' (1812), 'A history of Sumatra' (1783) and 'Numismata Orientalia' (1823-25). The Marsden Collection reflects Marsden's interests, being particularly strong in travel, the history of the Ottoman Empire, oriental languages and philology in general.

History and development

William Marsden presented his library, comprising some 3,000 printed and manuscript items, to King's College London in 1835. Some of the works in oriental languages were given by King's to the School of Oriental and African Studies in the years 1916-19 and some of those in Slavonic languages were given by King's to the School of Eastern European Studies in 1932. Over 1,800 volumes remain at King's.

Strengths

The history of the Ottoman Empire, Oriental languages, philology, voyages and travel.

General arrangement and access regulations

A closed access collection. It is housed within the library's Special Collections as a separate sequence, shelved according to William Marsden's own shelfmark system.

Subjects of the Collection

Regions of Asia

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

Countries

India, Indonesia, The Philippines, Turkey.

Languages of material

Dutch, English, French, Indonesian, Malay, Tagalog.

Subjects

Geography, History, Language, Religion, Travel.

Collection Material and Size of Collection

Material Types

Books, Manuscripts.

Total size of collection

1,800 volumes

Size of collection - vernacular

Fewer than 100 volumes

Size of collection - western

1,800 volumes

Collection Management Information

The collection is not being actively developed.

Content date range

1100 to 1800 AD

Co-operative agreements

  • Since 1919 the School of Oriental and African Studies has held much of the oriental material from this collection and since 1932 the School of Slavonic and East European Studies has held much of the Slavonic material from this collection.

Collection policy

Retention policy

Collection Catalogue Information

Catalogue

Printed catalogue: Bibliotheca Marsdeniana philologica et orientalis : a catalogue of books and manuscripts collected with a view to the general comparison of languages, and to the study of Oriental literature / by William Marsden. London: printed by J. L. Cox , 1827. OPAC: Online cataloguing of this collection is in progress; records for items in the collection are available at: http://library.kcl.ac.uk/

Collection printed catalogues

Bibliotheca Marsdeniana philologica et orientalis : a catalogue of books and manuscripts collected with a view to the general comparison of languages, and to the study of Oriental literature
Marsden, William, 1754-1836
London : J. L. Cox , 1827.

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