I am delighted to be a contributor to the Legal History Blog this month. This is the first of three posts in praise of sources and institutions that I find particularly valuable and that are sometimes underestimated. In this post, I share my love of small and lesser known archives and libraries.
Those of us who work on colonial South Asia gravitate toward two main archives: the British Library in London and the National Archives of India in Delhi. We know that our limited time and travel funds will be well spent at both places. If you sit in the British Library’s Asian & African Studies reading room in July, in fact, you will see many of the world’s historians of South Asia pass through for the summer research season.
We all know and love the British Library. But what about the smaller, lesser known archives and libraries? Is a three-day research excursion from London to the Scottish Highlands or from Delhi to a small town in the Himalayan foothills worth the time away from your main archives? My answer is often yes. Initially, I kept my expectations in check for these short,