Rare Materials Collection

The Rare Materials Collection features some of the most valuable and significant materials on Singapore and Southeast Asia, including publications which were issued by the earliest printing presses in Singapore. The wide range of historical research materials in the collection offers invaluable insights on the early sociocultural, economic and political development of Singapore and Southeast Asia.

About


Rare Materials Collection

The Rare Materials Collection features some of the most valuable and significant materials on Singapore and Southeast Asia, including publications which were issued by the earliest printing presses in Singapore. The wide range of historical research materials in the collection offers invaluable insights on the early sociocultural, economic and political development of Singapore and Southeast Asia.

The collection is primarily composed of titles published in Singapore, Malaya or the Straits Settlements before 1946, as well as titles about Singapore and the region published elsewhere before 1900. Highlights from the collection include Jawi manuscripts, Malay and Southeast Asian dictionaries, travel accounts of the Malay Archipelago and Southeast Asia, Chinese classics and romances translated into Baba Malaya, directories, almanacs, academic journals and maps. The oldest title in the collection is Tabula Asiae XI, which is a map of Southeast Asia printed in 1478 by Arnoldus Buckinck.




Due to preservation considerations, the rare materials are kept under controlled temperature, humidity and light settings at the National Library, Singapore. Researchers are encouraged to use the surrogate copies (microfilms or digital copies) of the rare materials.

The microfilms are available for viewing on level 11 of the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library while the digital copies are accessible from our digital library page.

If access to the physical copy is required for research, permission may be granted on a as-needed basis. Please use this form to submit your request.




Featured Collection
Featured Collection

Learn about early Singapore and the region through some of our holdings:

Letter written by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles to his business agent John Taylor of London, dated 9 June 1819.

This letter was written during Raffles's second brief sojourn in Singapore in June 1819. In this letter to his business agent John Tayler of London, Raffles displays his optimism and pride in the settlement he founded.





Featured Collection

Abdullah Abdul Kadir, Munshi, 1796-1854. Hikayat Abdullah. Lithographed ed. Singapore : Mission Press, 1849.

This autobiography of Munshi Abdullah Abdul Kadir gives an account of the early years of the East India Company's settlement of Singapore. Written in Jawi, it is a valuable Asian account of the founding of colonial Singapore.


Abdullah Abdul Kadir