Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Indian Princely State records, 1890-1960

Summary Information

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#0643
Bib ID 4079904 View CLIO record
Title Indian Princely State records, 1890-1960
Physical Description 8.5 linear feet (18 boxes)
Language(s) English , Gujarati , Persian , Urdu , Rajasthani , Malayalam , Hindi .
Access You will need to make an appointment in advance to use this collection material in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. You can schedule an appointment once you've submitted your request through your Special Collections Research Account.

This collection is located on-site.

This collection has no restrictions.



Materials arranged geographically. by princely state, and then subdivided by denomination and language. Where there are significant variations in the seals, imprints and affixed stamps from a given state, these have been kept apart in separate folders.

Key to the folder numbering system: Each folder gets a unique number consisting of 4 parts: a princely state code prefix, followed by a denomination or "face value" indication, followed by a decimal point, followed by a language/script code, followed by a sequential number. The Princely state code (see container list) identifies the state or entity that issued the documents in the folder. The denomination indicates the value imprinted on the documents and/or the value of the court fee stamps affixed to them. All denominations (except documents from Travancore State) are in numbers of rupees (R) and annas (A). (There were 16 annas to tbe rupee, but the codes reflect the values actually used on the documents: i.e. a document with "8 annas" imprinted and three 4-anna stamps affixed is listed as "20A", while a document with "1 rupee" imprinted and one 8-anna stamp affixed is listed as "1R8A", etc.). Documents from Travancore use a different currency, the chakram. (C). (Some of the Travancore documents use annas as well). Some documents have no denomination and so no denomination code is used. Documents from a given state (and even within a given denomination group) are separated into different folders by language or script. Most folders are in English (E), Devanagari Script (D) or Urdu Script (U). Some are in Gujarati Script (G). Documents from Travancore appear to be Malayalam Script. The Travancore folders are labelled as Malayalam script, but no language code was used in the folder numbers. Within each State/denomination/language grouping, each folder receives a sequential number, when more than one folder exists in the group. Documents are also grouped into separate folders when the stamp or crest or seal or printing color is different. Thus, J6R8A.U5 indicates the fifth consecutive folder of Urdu Script documents denominated at 6 rupees and 8 annas, from Jaipur.



These are manuscripts and typescript documents of 34 different princely states that existed as distinct political entities in pre-independence India. Although the majority of these states were tiny principalities in western India (primarily in what is now Rajasthan), some (e.g., Hyderabad) were located in other regions of India and represented major powers in the region at that time.

The documents date from the 19th century through World War II, and are in English, Hindi, Rajasthani dialects, Urdu, Persian, Gujarati, Malayalam and other languages. The scripts employed include Devanagari, Urdu (Perso-Arabic script), English, Gujarati and Malayalam. The documents themselves appear to cover many aspects of official life of these states: decrees by local government officials, requests and petitions to the court, commercial permits, trade documents, land dispute documents, court affidavits (sometimes bearing thumb-prints and/or signatures), etc. Almost all the documents are one or two pages in length and bear the colorful imprint of the seal of a given princely state government. (most of these imprinted papers were available in various denominations, sometimes referred to as "court fees", and someone submitting documents to the court had to purchase an appropriately-denominated imprinted sheet on which to write out the document. Many of them, in addition to having the denominated seal or imprint on the sheet, also bear one or more printed "court fee" stamps (affixed to the sheet like postage stamps) to make up the required amount. These court fee stamps are philatelically interesting to collectors, and like the imprinted sheets, were issued by individual princely state authorities, usually bearing colorful symbols or portraits of the local rulers.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

You will need to make an appointment in advance to use this collection material in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. You can schedule an appointment once you've submitted your request through your Special Collections Research Account.

This collection is located on-site.

This collection has no restrictions.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Indian Princely State records; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.


Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. Contact rbml@columbia.edu for more information.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Legal documents: Source of acquisition--Embree, Ainslie. Method of acquisition--Gift; Date of acquisition--05/10/1992. Accession number--M-92-05-10.

Legal documents: Source of acquisition--Robbins, Kenneth. Method of acquisition--Gift; Date of acquisition--06/05/1996. Accession number--M-96-06-05.

Gift of Prof. Ainslie Embree, 1992.

Gift of Dr Kenneth Robbins, 1996.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Collection acquired and processed by David Magier, South Asia Librarian, Columbia University Libraries.

Legal documents Processed HR 04/08/1998.

Legal documents Processed HR 04/14/1998.

Revision Description

2009-06-26 File created.

2019-04-16 Box-level inventory and additional dscription added from printed 1-page finding aid. kws

2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Affidavits Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Agreements Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Certificates Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Claims Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Contracts Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Decisions (judicial records) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Decrees Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Depositions Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Legal instruments Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Oaths Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Permits Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Petitions Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Proceedings (reports) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Reports Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Seals (artifacts) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Tax stamps Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Administrative procedure -- India Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Deeds Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Indragarh (India) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Judges Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Land titles -- India Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Lawyers Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Legal documents Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Legal instruments -- India Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Notaries Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Powers of attorney Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Representation in administrative proceedings -- India Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Revenue stamps -- India -- States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Thikana Sathin (India) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

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Indian Princely State Legal Documents, circa 1890 - circa 1960

Box 1 Alwar

Code prefix: A

Box 1 Bundi

Code prefix: Bd

Box 2 Baghat

Code prefix: Bg

Box 2 Bharatpur

Code prefix: Bh

Box 3 Bikaner

Code prefix: Bk

Box 3 Baoni

Code prefix: Bn

Box 3 Chitrakuta

Code prefix: C

Box 4 Dholpur

Code prefix: D

Box 4 Dungarpur

Code prefix: Dg

Box 4 Gondal

Code prefix: G [Gujarati]

Box 4 Hyderabad

Code prefix: H

Box 4 India

Code prefix: I

Box 4 Indragarh

Code prefix: In

Box 5 Jaipur -- 1A.D1 - 6A.U1

Code prefix: J

Box 6 Jaipur -- 8A.D1 - 8A.D4

Code prefix: J

Box 7 Jaipur -- 8A.U5 - 8A.U9

Code prefix: J

Box 8 Jaipur -- 8A.U10 - 8A.U17

Code prefix: J

Box 9 Jaipur -- 10A - 2RU2

Code prefix: J

Box 10 Jaipur -- 2R4A - J4R8A

Code prefix: J

Box 11 Jaipur -- 5R - 60R

Code prefix: J

Box 12 Jodhpur

Code prefix: Jd


Code prefix: Jh

Box 12 Jhalawar

Code prefix: Jhl

Box 12 Jaisalmer

Code prefix: Js

Box 12 Kolhapur

Code prefix: K

Box 12 Kotah

Code prefix: Kt

Box 13 Mewar

Code prefix: M

Box 14 Madras

Code prefix: Md

Box 14 Mohammadgarh

Code prefix: Mh

Box 14 Marwar

Code prefix: Mr

Box 14 Muli

Code prefix: Mu [Gujarati]

Box 14 Mysore

Code prefix: My

Box 14 Narsingarh

Code prefix: N

Box 14 Nagod

Code prefix: Ng

Box 14 Sikar

Code prefix: Sk

Box 14 Sailana

Code prefix: Sl

Box 15 Tonk -- 1A.U12

Code prefix: T

Box 16 Tonk -- 2A - 7A

Code prefix: T

Box 17 Tonk -- 8A

Code prefix: T

Box 18 Tonk -- 12A

Code prefix: T

Box 18 Travancore

Code prefix: Tr [Malyalam]

Box 18 Thikana Sathin

Code prefix: Ts

Box 18 Vankaner

Code prefix: V [Gujarati]