Ames Library of South Asia

The Ames Library, in the sub-basement of Wilson Library, has information, collections, and services to support research and instruction for the countries of South Asia.

About the collection

The Ames Library covers the countries of South Asia, featuring current and historic books and journals from and about the region. The Ames Library also includes the Ames Rare collection, a rich special collection of historic rare books, journals, and manuscripts and archival materials dating back to 1597.   

Geographic coverage includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka / Ceylon, and some materials related to Burma / Myanmar and Tibet.

The majority of the collection is in English, but it also has materials in the languages of South Asia, particularly in Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Marathi, Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu.

The Ames Library began as a gift from Charles Lesley Ames (1884-1969).

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Topic guides

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History of the Collection

In 1961, after more than 50 years of dedicated collecting materials on the British-Indian colonial interaction, Charles Lesley Ames, a Saint Paul publisher, gave his library to the University of Minnesota.  This gift of over 25,000 titles, included manuscripts, photographs, maps, prints and drawings from the period 1590-1960.

Strengths of the Ames gift were: Military and regimental histories, Administration of India (including many manuscripts of Viceroys and Governors-General), Travel and description, Histories and accounts of wars and battles, and Official publications.

Several others followed Mr. Ames' example and gave their libraries to enrich the Ames Library: The Abdus Salam Collection of Persian and Urdu materials, The Long Beach Collection of Bengali materials, The Trois Johnson Collection of Portuguese materials on Goa.

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Hours and location

8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sat, Jan 22
noon to 6 p.m.
Sun, Jan 23
noon to 10 p.m.
Mon, Jan 24
8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Tue, Jan 25
8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
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Ames Library staff

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