Across the curator's desk - People of India

People of India 1868-1875What is this item? 

This book is titled, The People of India: a series of photographic illustrations, with descriptive letterpress, of the races and tribes of Hindustan, originally prepared under the authority of the government of India, by J. Forbes Watson and John William Kaye.  

Why is it important? 

This rare work was produced in eight volumes between 1868 and 1875 all of which were purchased by the Library. The books were produced at the request of Lord Canning, Governor-General of India, to provide a comprehensive photographically illustrated ethnographic study of India from this period. Most significantly they contain 480 original albumen photographic prints each of which has been pasted directly onto a page. The contributing photographers read like a 'who's who' of early photographers in India and includes: J.C.A. Dannenberg; Lieut. R.H. De Montmorency; Rev. E. Godfrey; Lieut. W.W. Hooper; Major Houghton; Capt. H.C. McDonald; J. Mulheran; Capt Oakes; Rev. G. Richter; Shepherd and Robertson; Dr. B. Simpson; Dr. B.W. Switzer; Capt H.C.B. Tanner; Capt. C.C. Taylor; Lieut. J. Waterhouse. 

Why is it on your desk? 

As a part of my research into the published works containing rare photographic prints held by the Library. 

How did it get here?

This book was purchased in March 1886, by the 'Free Public Library of Sydney', a precursor of the State Library of New South Wales. Visit the Library catalogue to view this collection item TQ050350-57.

Geoff Barker,  Senior Curator, Research and Discovery 

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