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Telugu language collections

The British Library’s Telugu collections include manuscripts, early and modern printed books, periodicals, newspapers, and audiovisual materials. The collections include material  from the late 18th century to the present, and are an important resource for the study of South Asia. They are particularly strong in Puranas in Telugu, history and literature and Hindu philosophy. Contemporary publications are also well represented.

The Telegu collections include material from the British Museum Library’s Oriental Collections and the holdings of the India Office Library and Records, as well as items acquired subsequently by the British Library.


We hold approximately 80 manuscripts, including palm leaf and paper manuscripts. These include 25 items belonging to the Hugh Nevill collection of manuscripts. The manuscript collection also includes five items of charters in copper plates.

Printed books and periodicals

The British Library holds, and continues to acquire, books and journals in the humanities and social sciences in Telugu. Books are acquired mainly by purchase from India and elsewhere, and through donations and exchange. 

The collection of early printed books from the 19th to the mid-20th century is particularly strong because books were acquired by legal requisition between 1867 and 1948 under the (Indian) Press and Registration of Books Act (Act XXV of 1867). The Library’s Telugu holdings have historic value and are generally unavailable elsewhere.


A very large and increasing number of old and new Telugu printed books are included in Explore the British Library.

Telugu books not yet included in Explore the British Library are listed in printed catalogues, which are available in the Asian and African Studies Reading Room.

Hard copy catalogues

  • A catalogue of the Telugu books in the Library of the British Museum, compiled by L. D. Barnett, 1912.
  • India Office Library and Records Catalogue of Telugu Books, in 5 vols.
  • India Office Library and Records / Oriental Collections Telugu catalogue 1972-1983, edited by Nalini Persad.
  • India Office Library and Records catalogue 1972-1983 in microfiche.

Proscribed publications

These were books banned by the pre-1947 government of India, and include thirteen Telugu publications. These are listed in:

Publications proscribed by the Government of India: A catalogue of the collections in the India Office Library and Records and the Department of Oriental Manuscripts and Printed Books by Graham Shaw and Mary Lloyd (London: British Library Reference Division, 1985)  


Mrs Nalini Persad, Curator of South Indian Language Collection
Asian and African Studies
The British Library
96 Euston Road
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7659
Fax: +44 (0)20 7412 7850