SOAS Library has a treasure of early Malay publications in Arabic script (known as Jawi script), most of them dated 19th century and some early 20th century. These were originally on the open shelves in the main library at classmark IBA although some might have been classified at IBC.

In 1993 Ian Proudfoot published Early Malay printed books: a provisional account of materials published in the Singapore-Malaysia area up to 1920, noting holdings in major public collections. A copy of this work is held in the South East Asia reference section at Ref. HG015/687711. It lists SOAS Library holdings, giving the IBA classmark for each publication. When Proudfoot’s work was published, it alerted people to some of our rare holdings. A decision was then made to withdraw this material from the open shelves and transfer the material to the rare book collection (although a few of them can still be found on the open shelves). Those items transferred have ‘EA’, ‘EB’, ‘EC’ or ‘ER’ classmarks. For more information, contact or

Jotika Khur-Yearn