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Archives & Manuscripts

Mohandas K. Gandhi Collected Papers

 Collection
Identifier: SCPC-CDG-B-India-Gandhi, Mahatma

Scope and Contents

The manuscript portion of this collection consists primarily of 33 letters written by Mohandas K. Gandhi, including twenty letters written to Reginald Reynolds between 1929 and 1946, six letters to Richard B. Gregg between 1927 and 1953, and single letters to Jane Addams, Horace Alexander, C.Y. Chintamani, John H. Holmes, Hannah C. Hull, Dorothy Newman, and one unknown recipient. Letters concerning the collection from Richard B. Gregg to the Swarthmore College Peace Collection and from Reginald Reynolds to Charles F. Jenkins are also included.

Most of the letters were donated by two men, Richard Gregg (whom Gandhi nicknamed "Govind") and Reginald Reynolds (whom Gandhi nicknamed "Aganda"), who were his friends and who wrote extensively about him and about India. Other letters were later added to the collection. Original Gandhi letters owned by the Peace Collection have been digitized and may be viewed online via Triptych, the Tri-College Digital Library (http://triptych.brynmawr.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/SC_Gandhi). Photocopies of the letters are available in the collection. The original letters are restricted: permission from the Curator is required to view them. The centerpiece of this collection is the twenty letters written by Gandhi to and about Reginald Reynolds (an English Quaker active in the Indian independence movement), during a crucial period in Gandhi's life and in modern Indian history: the Salt March and the beginning of the 1930 Indian civil disobedience campaign against the British empire. An online essay, Gandhi-Reynolds Correspondence in the Swarthmore College Peace Collection (http://www.swarthmore.edu/library/peace/Exhibits/GandhiWebSite/GandhiReynoldsCorrespondence.html) gives context and interpretation to the letters, and includes transcriptions and images of each letter and links to archival photographic, sound and newsreel resources. The collection also includes a 1948 typescript by Reginald Reynolds about Gandhi's letters to him: "Letters from Bapu" (8 pages); a folder of printed images of Gandhi from various sources; and photocopies of typewritten copies of correspondence between M.K. Gandhi and Vladimir G. Tchertkoff (Chertkov) primarily regarding nonviolence and vegetarianism.

Other materials include: books, pamphlets, articles, news clippings and miscellaneous writings by and about M.K. Gandhi, and information about the Gandhi Centenary in 1969 and the Gandhi Memorial Museum and Library.

Dates

  • Majority of material found within 1919-

Creator

Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Limitations on Accessing the Collection

Access is provided through digitized images or photocopies. Original letters and drawing are kept in FHL Cage.

Copyright and Rights Information

None.

Biographical note

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on 2 October 1869 in Porbandar in Gujarat, India. After university, he went to London to train as a barrister. He returned to India in 1891 and in 1893 accepted a job at an Indian law firm in Durban, South Africa. Gandhi was appalled by the treatment of Indian immigrants there, and joined the struggle to obtain basic rights for them. During his 20 years in South Africa he was sent to prison many times. Influenced primarily by Hinduism, but also by elements of Jainism and Christianity as well as writers including Tolstoy and Thoreau, Gandhi developed the satyagraha ('devotion to truth'), a new nonviolent way to redress wrongs. In 1914, the South African government conceded to many of Gandhi's demands.

Gandhi returned to India shortly afterwards. In 1919, British plans to intern people suspected of sedition - the Rowlatt Acts - prompted Gandhi to announce a new satyagraha which attracted millions of followers. A demonstration against the acts resulted in the Amritsar Massacre by British troops. By 1920, Gandhi was a dominant figure in Indian politics. He transformed the Indian National Congress, and his program of peaceful non-cooperation with the British included boycotts of British goods and institutions, leading to arrests of thousands.

In 1922, Gandhi himself was sentenced to six years' imprisonment. He was released after two years and withdrew from politics, devoting himself to trying to improve Hindu-Muslim relations, which had worsened. In 1930, Gandhi proclaimed a new campaign of civil disobedience in protest of a tax on salt, leading thousands on a 'March to the Sea' to symbolically make their own salt from seawater. In 1931, Gandhi attended the Round Table Conference in London, as the sole representative of the Indian National Congress, but resigned from the party in 1934 in protest of its use of nonviolence as a political expedient. He was replaced as leader by Jawaharlal Nehru.

In 1945, the British government began negotiations which culminated in the Mountbatten Plan of June 1947, and the formation of the two new independent states of India and Pakistan, divided along religious lines. Massive inter-communal violence March the months before and after independence. Gandhi was opposed to partition, and now fasted in an attempt to bring calm in Calcutta and Delhi. On 30 January 1948, he was assassinated in Delhi by a Hindu fanatic. (Credit: BBC History, Historic Figures)

Extent

0.25 Linear Feet (3 inches)

Overview

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born in 1869 in Porbandar in Gujarat, India. He trained as a barrister and worked in Durban, South Africa. Influenced primarily by Hinduism, but also by elements of Jainism and Christianity as well as writers including Tolstoy and Thoreau, Gandhi developed the satyagraha ('devotion to truth'), a new nonviolent way to redress wrongs. Gandhi returned to India and in 1919, he announced a new satyagraha which attracted millions of followers. By 1920, Gandhi was a dominant figure in Indian politics. He transformed the Indian National Congress, and his program of peaceful non-cooperation with the British included boycotts of British goods and institutions, leading to arrests of thousands. For the next 20 years he led nonviolent protests against British policies and colonial power in India. In 1945, the British government began negotiations which culminated in the Mountbatten Plan of June 1947, and the formation of the two new independent states of India and Pakistan, divided along religious lines. Gandhi was opposed to partition, and fasted in an attempt to bring calm in Calcutta and Delhi. On 30 January 1948, he was assassinated in Delhi by a Hindu fanatic. (Credit: BBC History, Historic Figures)

Other Finding Aids

For related materials, search the library's online catalog.

Custodial History

The Swarthmore College Peace Collection is not the official repository for these papers.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Reginald Reynolds, Richard Gregg, Charles Jenkins and others.

Existence and Location of Copies

Yes, digitized images of the M.K. Gandhi correspondence owned by the Swarthmore College Peace Collection are available online: http://triptych.brynmawr.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/SC_Gandhi

Separated Materials

Items removed: Photographs.

Legal Status

Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendents, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

General Note

Images of Gandhi correspondence in the Swarthmore College Peace Collection: http://triptych.brynmawr.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/SC_Gandhi

General Note

Essay on the Gandhi-Reynolds correspondence in the Swarthmore College Peace Collection: http://www.swarthmore.edu/library/peace/Exhibits/GandhiWebSite/GandhiReynoldsCorrespondence.html

Subject

Collection consists of 33 letters written by Mohandas K. Gandhi including twenty letters written to Reginald Reynolds between 1929 and 1946; six letters to Richard B. Gregg between 1927 and 1953; single letters to Jane Addams, Horace Alexander, C.Y. Chintamani, John H. Holmes, Hannah C. Hull, Dorothy Newman, and one unknown recipient; copy of letter from Gandhi to Reynolds, copy of letter to A.J. Muste; letters concerning the collection from Richard B. Gregg to the Swarthmore College Peace Collection and from Reginald Reynolds to Charles F. Jenkins; and a letter from Syed Mahmud to Reginald Reynolds. Correspondence may be viewed online at Triptych, the Tri-College Digital Library. Also included is one disc containing scanned images of the letters in TIFF format. An online essay"Gandhi-Reynolds correspondence in the Swarthmore College Peace Collection" by Barbara Addison interprets the Mahatma Gandhi/Reginald Reynolds correspondence. The collection also includes: a 1948 typescript by Reginald Reynolds about Gandhi's letters to him: "Letters from Bapu" (8 pages); a folder of printed images of Gandhi from various sources.; photocopies of typewritten copies of correspondence between M.K. Gandhi and Vladimir G. Tchertkoff (Chertkov) primarily regarding nonviolence and vegetarianism.

Processing Information

Processed by SCPC staff; this finding aid revised by Barbara Addison, July 2010.

Creator

Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
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