Special Collections

The Scottish Centre for Tagore Studies has partnerships with the University of Edinburgh Library where our ScoTs Tagore collection is housed. Many of these resources are available online via the links below, or researchers can also visit the building directly.


Here are the links to these collections :-


Patrick Geddes Collection

The collection contains original exhibits from Patrick Geddes’ replacement Cities and Town Planning Exhibitions (which was constituted 1914-1924, after the original exhibition was lost at sea during transit to India in October 1914). Also included are items from Geddes’ Survey of Edinburgh (which formed part of the Cities and Town Planning Exhibition as an illustration of Geddes’ city and region survey).

The Survey of Edinburgh includes over 250 glass plate negatives which were commissioned to visually document the City of Edinburgh (c 1890-1910). Also found in the collections are exhibits, teaching and learning materials amassed at Patrick Geddes’ Outlook Tower. Material includes place-based survey material illustrating the geography, geology, culture, history, agriculture, occupations, etc., of cities and regions throughout Scotland, Europe and the World.

Further material relates to Patrick Geddes’ work in India (1914-1924), Palestine and the Middle East (c 1919-1924). The physical formats of the material include but are not exclusive to photographic prints, glass plate and film negatives, plans, maps, illustrations, ink and wash watercolour drawings, prints, diagrams etc.. A full list of formats and their extent can be found under ‘Extent’.


Patrick Geddes Collection

Digitised Images from the collection


Material relating to the Outlook Tower Current Events Club

The collection consists of press cuttings made by the Outlook Tower Current Events Club c. 1895-1914. The subject material ranges from: Africa, agriculture, America, architecture, art, music and literature, astronomy, the Balkans, the British Empire, China, civics, the Congo and the Nile, Dreyfus, Ireland, the Philippines, education, eugenics, Europe, gardens and garden cities, finance, hygiene, industries, labour, medicine, Parliament, polar expeditions, nature and science, meteorology, the Near East, and to Russia, war and peace, and the army and navy. There is a subject list in Box 1 (Gen. 2025/1).


Outlook Tower Current Events Club Collection


Manuscripts of the Islamicate World and South Asia

This collection consists of over 700 manuscripts pertaining to the Islamicate world and South Asia, dating from the 10th to 19th centuries C.E. (the majority being post-1500). Chiefly bound paper codices, it includes sacred texts of importance to the Muslim, Hindu, and Sikh faiths, Qur’anic commentaries, Traditions of the Prophet Muhammad and the Shi’i Imams, works treating Islamic law, world history, the history of India, medicine, mathematics, astronomy, astrology, divination, philosophy, ethics, grammar, rhetoric, dictionaries, poetry, prose, tales and romances, proverbs, travel, music, agriculture and war. It also includes biographies, and correspondence between Indian rulers and dignitaries, and East India Company officials.

Some of the collection’s manuscripts are among the most iconic items found at the University of Edinburgh Library, such as Qur’anic fragments in Kufic script on vellum, dating to around the 10th century (Or Ms 175), Rashīd al-Dīn’s Jāmiʿ al-tawārīkh (Or Ms 20) and al-Bīrūnī’s al-Āthār al-bāqiya (Or Ms 161), both richly illuminated examples of Islamic historiography dating to the 14th century C.E., and an 18th century Sanskrit scroll of the Hindu Mahābhārata featuring miniature illuminations and measuring over 70 metres (Or Ms 510).

The grouping together of these items as one collection is the legacy of the route by which they reached the Library. It includes the vast majority of items formerly known as the “Oriental Collection”; the large donations that formed its basis were from the collections assembled by employees of the East India Company. This resulted in the collection incorporating material relevant to the Islamicate, largely gathered in South Asia, intertwined with items relevant to the Hindu and Sikh faiths, and the culture and history of South Asia more generally. The Turkish component of the collection includes manuscripts acquired in Astrakhan, with several early Ottoman texts. The items retain their “Or Ms” shelf mark to avoid creating a gap in the memory of their history. All catalogue records include the available provenance data. Research in this area is ongoing and such information will be expanded to include all details attesting the route of these items into the University of Edinburgh’s collections.


Manuscripts of the Islamicate World and South Asia

Manuscript images of the Islamicate World and South Asia


School of Scottish Studies Archives

The extensive collections, including ethnological fieldwork undertaken by staff and students over the past seventy years, include a sound archive comprising some 33,000 recordings, a photographic archive containing thousands of images from the 1930s onwards, a small film and video collection and a manuscript archive.

Collecting has focused on Scottish life, folklore and the traditional arts. Material comes from communities throughout Scotland and its diaspora. The main languages of Scotland – Gaelic, Scots and English – are all represented including many dialects that are now extinct.

Donations include related material from other countries, for example, the John Levy Collection, recordings of traditional music from Asia and beyond.


School of Scottish Studies Archives


Ragamala Collections

Ragamala paintings are a form of Indian miniature painting, a set of illustrative paintings of the Ragamala or “Garland of Ragas”, depicting variations of the Indian musical modes called ragas. They stand as a classical example of the amalgamation of art, poetry and classical music in medieval India.

Ragamala paintings were created in most schools of Indian painting, starting in the 16th and 17th centuries, and are today named accordingly as Pahari Ragamala, Rajasthan or Rajput Ragamala, Deccan Ragamala, and Mughal Ragamala.


Ragamala Collection 1

Ragamala Collection 2