Ref NoLDGSL/793
TitleCOOMARASWAMY - 'Geology of Ceylon'
Extent2 large volumes
DescriptionOffprints, reports, letters and manuscripts compiled by Ananda Kentish COOMARASWAMY as Director of the Mineral Survey of Ceylon, bound together in two volumes as the 'Geology of Ceylon', 1847-1908. Many of the letters and a number of the offprints notably concern the identification of the mineral Thorianite.
Administrative HistoryAnanda Kentish Coomarswamy was born in Colombo, Ceylon [now Sri Lanka] on 22 August 1877. His Tamil father, Sir Mutu Coomaraswamy (1834-1879), was a barrister, politician and religous scholar who had received his legal training in England. Aged two, Ananda was taken to England by his English mother Elizabeth [née Beeby] but his father, who was due to follow shortly after, died suddenly on the day he was due to depart.

Ananda was educated at Wycliffe College, Stonehouse, Gloucestershire, then later University College of London where he graduated with a first class honours degree in mineralogy and botany in 1900. He was headhunted by Wyndham Dunstan, the head of the Imperial Institute, Kensington to become the director of the mineralogical survey of Ceylon, a post Coomaraswamy held until 1906. He notably discovered the mineral thorianite in 1906 for which he was awarded an honorary DSc by the University of London.

During his time in the country, he had gradually become interested in the arts of Ceylon and India, resulting in his resignation from the survey to devote himself to private study. By 1917 he abanded geology entirely when he was invited to become a research fellow in Indian, Persian and Muhammadan art for the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts. Coomaraswamy is better known today for his work as an Indologist, art historian and his championing of Ceylonese culture. He died in Needham, Massachusetts, on 9 September 1947.
ProvenanceThe offprints have a Library accession stamp of 12 June 1919, however the material may have been the donation from Coomaraswamy which came in 1916/1917. [see: Proceedings, page xvii, QJGS vol 73 (1917)] Coomaraswamy is known to have given up geology in 1917.
Access ConditionsAccess is by appointment only. Please contact the Archivist for further information.
Related MaterialLDGSL/1088 contains 186 lantern slides of geological subjects and Ceylonese art and culture photographed by Coomaraswamy, [1890-1905].

Material on his post-geological career is held by Princeton University Library and Cambridge University Library.
ArchNoteDescription by John Thackray, revised by Caroline Lam
CreatorNameCOOMARASWAMY | Ananda Kentish | 1877-1947 | art historian
DS/UK/119COOMARASWAMY; Ananda Kentish (1877-1947); art historian1877-1947
NA316Sri Lanka
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