The Ames Library of South Asia is the oldest South Asia library in the United States and the leading holder of a pre-1930 monographs on the topic. The original collection was first established in 1908 through the beneficence of Charles Lesley Ames, a lawyer and heir to the original West Publishing Company. His original donation of 25,000 volumes concentrated primarily on the British presence in India. This distinguishes the Ames Library from other collections which concentrated on "Indological" works, (i.e., religion and language). The Ames Library-particularly the early titles in the collection-focuses on historical subjects which stems partly from the way the collection was amassed. Ames negotiated the right of first refusal with four major British booksellers on all titles relating to the "Indian settlement" question. As a consequence, Ames' original collection trumps even those in the United Kingdom as the finest library of monographs on colonial India.
Most titles within the Ames Library address nineteenth-century India and also contains strong holdings on the British presence in Tibet and Afghanistan. While the nature of British colonial rule continues to be the focus of much debate, its legacy is clear. Through travel accounts, historical works, and polemics, researchers will find firsthand accounts and observer reports of such important events as the missionary presences in India (starting in 1813), the Anglo-Gorkha War (1814-1816), the second Marathas Wars (1803-1805; 1817-1818), imposition of British crown rule (1858), the opening of the Suez Canal (1869), the founding of the Indian National Congress (1885), India and World War I (1914-1918), and the beginnings of Gandhi movement for Indian independence (1920).
Complete Collection: 106 reels in 6 parts