The project is based on the analysis of three IOR source series:
- G Series: Factory Records
These include the reports of the daily activities which were kept by the Chiefs of the factories and were returned to the factory that they were subordinated to or to the Court in London. Most of the records up to 1655 have been transcribed and published in 9 volumes edited by William Foster between 1906 and 1915. Further selected materials were published in an additional 8 volumes edited by Foster between 1921 and 1955. Most of the minor factories did not send their proceedings to England, neither did they, as a rule, communicate directly with the EEIC, but only through the principal factories to which they were subordinate. Materials include ‘Diaries’ (daily entries on the activities at the factory, signed at various points by the managers) and ‘Consultations’ (summaries of the regular meetings between the Chief of the factory and the other named senior factors). The G Series provides the backbone source material for the project.
- E/3 Series. Home correspondence
This includes the letters sent to and from the Court in London relating to the activities in Asia. These are well catalogued by sender and receiver up to 1712. The cataloguing of a further 21 vols. would allow arrival at the mid-eighteenth century cut point. The Letters received by the Court in London between 1602 and 1617 are published in six volumes edited by Danvers and Forster between 1896 and 1902. The E/3 series is particularly suitable for the analysis of individual factories and the networks of factories. Specifically on Surat, a catalogue is available in G/36/102 which details the correspondence with the factory of Surat.
- B Series: Court minutes
These are more difficult to use as they are indexed only by date. However, 12 vols. were published for the period 1635 to 1679 by Ethel Sainsbury between 1907 and 1938 and include good indexes. The B Series is particularly useful in the analysis of the exchange of knowledge between individual factories and London. We will focus in particular on the cases of Surat and Madras.