Category Archives: Library

Charles Bawden and his Gift to the Trust

It is with great sadness that the trust learned of the death of distinguished Mongolian scholar Professor Charles Bawden on the 11th August. Charles Bawden was Professor of Mongolian at SOAS from 1955 to 1984 and his published works on Mongolian literature and history include a Mongolian-English dictionary, published in 1997, which is considered by many to be the most comprehensive ever written. In 1955, he also translated and annotated the Mongol chronicle Altan tobči or ‘Golden Summary’ from old Mongolian script; a 17th century text of the history of the Mongol dynasties or Khans.

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Charles Bawden, Mongolia 1958. Reproduced with the kind permission of Richard Bawden.

Professor Bawden built his book collection over many years, acquiring books also during his several trips to Mongolia, most notably in the 1950’s and 1960’s. He donated a substantial part of his library to the Ancient India & Iran Trust in March 2001 and the remainder of his collection more recently in 2014, including his working papers, correspondence and an important collection of photographs and slides, many of which were taken by him on his travels to Mongolia.

The collection is an invaluable resource for the study of Mongolian language (there are more than 40 different Mongolian dictionaries), literature, history, religion and culture of Mongolia. The history of modern Mongolia is particularly well represented through a variety of materials, including also books and periodicals (scientific and popular) published in Mongolia which give insight into politics and life in Mongolia during the communist period.

Professor Charles Bawden (1924-2016)

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Charles Bawden, Mongolia 1958. Reproduced with the kind permission of Richard Bawden.