Short Title Catalogue (STC) of Bengali Books of the Pre-Catalogue Era (1801-1867)
by Abhijit Gupta
The year 1867 is considered as a watershed in Indian bibliography as the Press and Registration Act was passed in that year, making it compulsory for all printers and publishers to register every publication in British India. By printing the returns as a catalogue issued four times a year as a supplement to its official gazette, the government of Bengal kept a record of all the books published in the province. As a result, there are more or less complete records of publications in the post-1867 period. The pre-1801 period has been covered comprehensively by Graham Shaw in his magisterial South Asia and Burma retrospective Bibliographies (1987).
There have been several notable attempts to compile a bibliography for the pre-1867 period. The first such attempt was made in the 1850s by the ethnographer and bookman, Rev. James Long. He compiled several lists during this period, of which the most important was A Descriptive Catalogue of Bengali Works, published in 1855, and containing nearly 1,400 entries of books and pamphlets. I have supplemented the present bibliography with information from Long’s lists wherever possible [under the heading NOTE. The user should however be cautious about the information provided by Long, since they have proved to be erroneous in many instances. The other bibliography to which I have referred is the Mudrita Bangla Granther Panji (‘Bibliography of printed Bengali books’), compiled by Jatindramohan Bhattacharya in two parts: 1743-1852 (pbd. 1990), and 1853-67 (pbd. 1993). While both the Long and Bhattacharya bibliographies are extremely valuable sources of information, one must remember that many of the books listed in them have passed beyond the reach of any archaeological tool. There is also a small number whose provenance is doubtful.
Along with providing full bibliographical descriptions and title-page transcriptions, the bibliography is also a location register of Bengali holdings in the following libraries (the library abbreviations are indicated in the parentheses):
Asiatic Society Library, Kolkata (CAas)
Bangiya Sahitya Parisha, Kolkata (CAbsp)
British Library, London (LObl)
India Office Collections, British Library, London (LOio)
Joykrishna Public Library, Uttarapara (UTjkpl)
National Council of Education, Kolkata (CAnce)
National Library, Kolkata (CAnl)
School of Oriental and African Studies, London (LOsoas)
University Library, Cambridge (CAMul)
William Carey Historical Library, Serampore (SEwchl)
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