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School of Oriental and African Studies

Ross, Sir Edward Denison and Lady Ross


Reference code(s): GB 0102 PP MS 8

Held at: School of Oriental and African Studies

Title: Ross, Sir Edward Denison and Lady Ross

Date(s): Created 1890-1957

Level of description: Collection (fonds)

Extent: 35 boxes

Name of creator(s): Ross | Lady | Dora | 1869-1940 | née Robinson
Ross | Sir | Edward Denison | 1871-1940 | Knight | Orientalist


Administrative/Biographical history:

(Edward) Denison Ross was born in London on 6 June 1871. From Marlborough he went to University College London. In 1894 he was awarded a Doctorate in Persian from Strasbourg University and in 1896 was appointed Professor of Persian at University College London.

In 1901 he went to India as Principal of the Madrasah Muslim College (Calcutta) and in 1911 this post was combined with that of Officer in Charge of Records of the Government of India and Assistant Secretary in the Department of Education. As a Fellow of Calcutta University and an active member of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, he did not confine himself to Islamic Studies but gained some knowledge of Sanskrit and Chinese and a more profound knowledge of Tibetan. He married Dora Robinson in 1904. He was made Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire in 1912.

Denison Ross returned to Britain in 1914 to become First Assistant in the British Museum, where he was appointed to catalogue the Stein Collection. On the outbreak of the War he joined the Postal Censorship Department and the Department of Military Intelligence, where he prepared vocabularies in several languages. In 1916 he was made the first Director of the newly founded School of Oriental Studies (later the School of Oriental and African Studies). He was knighted in 1918. He remained as Director of the School until 1937. In 1939 he was sent as Head of the British Information Bureau in Istanbul where he died on 23 September 1940, a few months after his wife.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers, 1890-1957, of Sir Edward Denison Ross and his wife Dora, comprising his correspondence, including that with his wife (1902-1940); personal material including diaries and notebooks of Lady Ross; articles, lecture notes, language material and notes gathered by J. A. Chapman whilst editing Denison Ross's autobiography Both Ends of the Candle published in 1943.


Language/scripts of material: Language materials in Tibetan, Manchu, Chinese, Mono, Kalmuch, Persian, French, Japanese, Luchuan, Amharic, Arabic, Turkish, Syrian, Hebrew.

System of arrangement:

The collection is arranged in six sections: correspondence; personal material; articles and lecture notes; manuscript notes in notebooks; language material; manuscripts of Denison Ross's books. Where possible, material has been arranged in chronological order.

Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:

No publication without written permission. Apply to archivist in the first instance.

Physical characteristics:

Finding aids:

Unpublished handlist.


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Donated in 1968, 1978 and 1990.


Existence and location of originals:

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

Correspondence (1891-1925) of Sir Edward Denison Ross with E. G. Browne (Ref: Add 7605) and correspondence (1910-1913) with Lord Hardinge (Ref: Hardinge) is held at Cambridge University Library, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives.

Publication note:



Date(s) of descriptions: 16 May 2000

Academic teaching personnel | Teachers | Educational personnel | Personnel | People by occupation | People
Arab history | National history
Arab literature | National literatures
Asian history | National history
Asian literature | National literatures
Autobiographies | Prose | Literary forms and genres | Literature
Diaries | Nonfiction | Prose | Literary forms and genres | Literature
Indic languages | Indo-european languages
Iranic languages | Indo-european languages
Linguists | Social scientists
Travel abroad | Travel
Writers | Authors
Asian languages
Primary documents
Semitic languages

Personal names
Chapman | John Alexander | fl 1943 | editor
Ross | Lady | Dora | 1869-1940 | née Robinson x Robinson | Dora
Ross | Sir | Edward Denison | 1871-1940 | Knight | Orientalist x Ross | Denison

Corporate names

Calcutta | West Bengal | India | South Asia
Iran, Islamic Republic | Middle East
Istanbul | Marmara | Turkey | Middle East