The Asiatic Society
( Founded in 1784 )

1, PARK STREET, KOLKATA : 700 016, INDIA


HISTORY OF PUBLICATIONS

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SIR WILLIAM JONES CONTEMPLATED the publication of a volume of 'Asiatic Miscellany' every year. No attempt was made to bring out such a periodical during the first three years. Most of the papers received in the first year were short and not so significant. Besides the Society had no funds and there was no publisher in Calcutta who could undertake such work. Ultimately one Mr. Manuel Cantopher of the East India Company's printing office undertook the job as a private speculation, on an understanding that every member of the Society would buy a copy of the publication at Rs. 20/-. The name approved for the periodical was "Asiatick Researches" and the first volume appeared in 1788. In 1829, Captain J. D. Herbert, Deputy Surveyor General, started a monthly publication entitled "Gleanings in Science". James Prinsep proposed to change the title as "The Journal of the Asiatic Society." The sanction was given in March, 1832. The publication of proceeding started in 1865. The immediate question before the Council of 1847 was, proper utilisation of the grants. A committee was appointed for the publication of the Vedas. The plan that was finally approved was the one suggested by Mr. Laidley, in his minute of December, 1847. He had suggested the publication of a monthly serial under the name and style of "Bibliotheca Indica" to be edited by a competent scholar aided by a staff of Pundits. The work commenced in early 1848 and Dr. E. Roer was appointed as the Chief Editor on a salary of Rs. 100/- only per mensem.
His principal duty was to supply English translations of the works undertaken.The first work selected was the Samhita of the RigVeda. But before four fasciculi of it could be published, news arrived that the Court of Directors had made arrangements with Max Muller for publication of that work, together with an English translation by H. H. Wilson. The Society's project, had therefore, to be abandoned. Dr. Roer took up the Upanishads and some other works.Almost 325 titles have been published under the Series till now.

In 1905, a new series "Memoirs of the Asiatic Society" was introduced to publish specialised transactions both in the fields of Science and Letters.

The Monograph Series was introduced in 1946. The first publication of the series was entitled "Asvaghosa" authored by Dr. B. C. Law.

Besides the lectures delivered by scholars under the Biman Behari Majumdar Lectures are now being published serially. Proceedings of the Seminars and the Lectures are also being published by the Society serially and regularly.

The other important work of the Society is to publish the Catalogues and Bibliographies.

This is only a gist of the various academic and research activities of the.Society both long and short-term.


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