Guide to the David Brainerd Spooner Papers , 1899-1925 M0011

Department of Special Collections and University Archives
Stanford University Libraries
557 Escondido Mall
Stanford, California, 94305-6064
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Title: David Brainerd Spooner Papers ,
Identifier/Call Number: M0011
Contributing Institution: Department of Special Collections and University Archives
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 5.5 Linear feet
Date (inclusive): 1899-1925
creator: Spooner, David Brainerd, 1879-1925.

Biographical Note

David Brainard Spooner was born at South Vernon, Vermont, February 7, 1879. Educated at Stanford University, AB 1899, then taught in Japan at the Prefectural College of Omi at Oatsu. Later he taught at the School of Foreign languages, Tokyo, and then at the Imperial University. He was the first foreigner to graduate from the Imperial University with an Lit.D. Attended the British Government College at Benares, 1901-02 and the Sanskrit College in Benares, 1902-03. He was attached to the Siamese Legation at one time. Granted a fellowship by Harvard and was awarded a Ph.D. from King Frederick William University in Berlin, 1906.
Spooner went to India prior to 1908 as a member of the British Archaeological Survey. In 1910 he is credited with discovering the remains of Buddha near Peshawar, India. In 1915 Spooner married Elizabeth Colton of Easthampton, Mass. He became head of the British Archaeological Survey and did considerable work and writing in archaeology, Indian religion, Indian History, languages, and linguistics. Spooner died at Agra, India, Jan. 30, 1925, and is buried there.
(For a more complete biography see Spooner Correspondence File)

Scope and Content

The Spooner Papers contain D. B. Spooner's correspondence from 1899 to 1922. The bulk of the correspondence was written between 1915 and 1918. The collection also includes manuscript, typescript, and printed copies of articles by D. B. Spooner. There are many manuscript and typescript language notebooks and studies. Also included are booklets in foreign languages and a large section of personal memorabilia.
Spooner's primary work was concerned with Indian Archaeology and Indian Religion. Of secondary importance are his works concerning Indian History and various language studies.

Preferred Citation:

[Identification of item] David Brainerd Spooner Papers , M0011, Dept. of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.


Gift of Mrs. Lawrence E. Norem, 1959.

Publication Rights

Property rights reside with the repository. Literary rights reside with the creators of the documents or their heirs. To obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Public Services Librarian of the Dept. of Special Collections.

Access Restrictions



Series 1. Correspondence


Subseries : Letters of D. B. Spooner; February, 1899 - January, 1922.

Arrangement note

arranged chronologically
Box 1

Correspondence Out-going, February, 1899 - December, 1916.

Physical Description: 27 Folders
Box 2, Folder 28 - 44

Correspondence Out-going, Jan., 1917 - Jan., 1922.


Subseries : Letters concerning D. B. Spooner, letter notes, letter fragments.

Box 2, Folder 45

outgoing letter fragments.

Box 2, Folder 46

miscellaneous letter notes.

Box 2, Folder 47

letters concerning D. B. Spooner, but not from him nor to him.

Box 2, Folder 48-52

Subseries : Letters to D. B. Spooner:

Arrangement note

arranged alphabetically by signer of letter and chronologically under each signer.

Series 2. Articles and Poems

Box 3, Folder 53

Distribution List for Spooner Articles

Box 3, Folder 54-93

Subseries : Articles arranged alphabetically by titles, or suggested titles within an alphabetical subject arrangement.


The American Boarding School


Analytical Index to the Legends and Devices on Indian Seals


A Critical Study of Mallinatha's Commentary on the Meghadula


The Bodh Gaya Plaque


Bricks in India


The Buddha Relics in Japan


Buddhism and Parseeism


The Charbinda


The Dasyavah of Behar


The Dedarganu Image now in Patna Museum


The Discovery of Kanishka's Vihara


The Field of Indian Archaeology


The Fravashi of Gautama


The Hindu Saturnalia


Indian Archaeology


Indian Linguistics


The Indian Reform Scheme in


Its Relations


The Indira of Bankim Chandra


The Iranian Element in Ancient India


The Iranian Element in Early India


The Kiratarjuniya of Bharavi Magh Mela


Merv and Meru


Mauna, Mauni and Maunindra


The Mrigadava at Sarnath


On a Houseboat in Kashmir


Origin of Indian Art


A Plea for the Bandit


Quaint Stories from the Japanese


Reply to Professor Keith


Review of the Household Troops


Short Discription of work in India


Short Guide to the Archaeological Galleries in the Indian Museum, Calcutta


Some English Speaking Birds in India


Stanford University


Mr. Tatan Tata's Excavations at Pataliputra


The Triarchic Faith


Varieties of the Visnu Image


Vedic Notes


Who Were the Prasioi?


Subseries : Fragments of articles, notes on books, poems.

Box 4-5, Folder 94 - 107

Fragments and single pages of articles by D. B. Spooner

Box 4-5, Folder 108

Gazatteer Appendix to the Index

Box 4-5, Folder 109 - 111

Notes on Books

Box 4-5, Folder 112 - 123



Series 3. Research Material


Subseries : Notebooks and typescript copies of Spooner's works on Buddhism and Indian Religion.

Box 5

Four notebooks with typescript annotatedy by hand on “Gautama the Archi-Magus.”

Box 5

Two sheafs of typescript on “Gautama the Archi-Magus”

Box 6

Selections from the Poet Hali, Pearls and Cowrie Shells (poems by D. B. Spooner), Kiratarjuniya of Bharavi (prose translation and blank verse) manuscript, Manuscript Register of Dated Indian Images, Dr. Lee's Career by Miles Chapin

Box 7

Three notebooks typescript and manuscript entitled “The Gods of Hindustan”


Subseries : Notebooks, also typescript copies of Zoroastrian Period of Indian History.

Box 7, Folder 124

Manuscript on Zoroastrian Period of Indian History

Box 7, Folder 125

Manuscript on Zoroastrian Period of Indian History

Box 7, Folder 126

Temple Types in Tirhut


Subseries : Research materials in Notebooks

Box 8

Manuscript copies of a chronological history of India


Subseries : Notebooks and studies of Asian Languages. Booklets in various languages.

Box 9

Language Notebooks

Scope and Contents note

Six notebooks and two folders containing smaller notebooks on Asian, especially Indian languages
Box 10

Language Study Notes

Box 10, Folder 129-133

Studies of Asian languages

Box 10, Folder 134

Booklets in Japanese

Box 10, Folder 135-137

Booklets and Documents in Indian Languages

Box 10, Folder 138

Register of Chinese Characters as Used by the Japanese


Series 4. Newspaper Clippings

Scope and Contents note

Large scrapbook filled with clippings. Also loose clippings in the front of the scrapbook.
Box 10


Scope and Contents note

Scrapbook filled with newspaper clippings. Most clippings pertain to the discovery of the remains of Buddha

Series 5. Memorabilia

Box 11

Subseries : Personal papers and documents of D. B. Spooner and Mrs. D. B. Spooner. Memorabilia.

Scope and Contents note

Personal Papers and documents of D. B. Spooner and Mrs. Spooner. Diaries of Spooner which were kept while he was at Stanford and while he was in Japan. Container consists of folders 139-155

Subseries : Buddhist Sermon, Chinese Scroll

Box 11, Folder 156

Satipatthana Buddha's Sermon on Meditation written on wooden strips


Framed picture of D. B. Spooner. Framed picture of Ronald Shay?

Box 11, Folder 157

Buddhist Scripture written on wooden sheets

Box , Folder 158

Chinese scroll, rolled, contains writing in Chinese


Subseries : Photographs of Japan and India


Photographs of Japan and Japanese students


Photographs of Indian archaeological remains, religious edifices, D. B. Spooner, Mrs. Spooner, and various collegues of D. B. Spooner


Oversized photos of Japan and India. One photo of the Dali Lama holding the casket containing the remains of Buddha

Location note: (This container is stored in file case for oversized material.)

Subseries : Chinese Scroll


Chinese Scroll

Location note: (This scroll is filed in the case for oversized material.)

1. Printed materials in the Spooner Collection, removed to acquisition department.


Book of Mark in Sankrit Calcutta 1899,


Overland Monthly, Contains article by Spooner, “Welcoming the Buddha's Most Holy Bones.” January 1901.

Physical Description: 2 Copies.

Handbook to the Sculptures in the Preshawar Museum by D. Brainerd Spooner, Bombay. 1910,

Physical Description: 2 copies.

The Empress, Has article on Spooner and the excavations at Pataliputra. May, 1914.


Temple Types in Tirhut” by D.B. Spooner. reprint from “ The Journal of the Bihar & Orissa Research Society. June 1916

Physical Description: 2 copies

The Janibigna Inscription” and “Dates of Skanda-Gupta and his Successors” by H. Panday. Both reprints from The Journal of the Bihar & Orissa Research Society. 1918


“Importance of the Janibigna Inscription of the Year 83 of the Lakshmana-Sena Era” by K. P. Jayaswal. reprint from The Journal of the Bihar & Orissa Research Society. 1918


“Note on Prehistoric Antiquities Including Antiquities from Mohen-jo-Darn” by Ramaprasad Chanda. December, 1924.


Yearly Archeological reports, printed.


Excavations at Shah-Ji-Ki-Dheri. 1908-9.

Physical Description: 3 copies.

An inscribed Sculpture in the Preshawar Museum. 1908-9.

Physical Description: 2 copies

Archeological Survey of India. 1908-9.

Physical Description: 1 copy.

Excavations at Sahri Bahlol. 1909-10.

Physical Description: 5 copies.

The Kanishka Casket Inscriptions. 1909-10.

Physical Description: 7 copies.

The Vishnu Images From Rangpur. 1911-12.

Physical Description: 12 copies.

Mr. Ratan Tata's Excavations at Pataliputra.

Physical Description: 15 copies

Excavations at Takht-I-BahII. no date.

Physical Description: 6 copies.

A new Find of Punchmarked Coins. no date.

Physical Description: 1 copy

Excavations at Sahribahlol. no date.

Physical Description: 1 copy.

“The Chief Function of the Hebrew University” by Sol Rosenbloom. Reprinted from The Menorah Journal, February, 1921.

Physical Description: 1 copy.

“The Survey of Cities” by P. Geddes. Reprinted from the Sociological Review, Vol. I, No. 1, Jan., 1908.

Physical Description: 1 Copy.

Bookreview of Interpretations and Forecasts: a Study of Survivals and Tendencies in Contemporary Society. By Victor Branford. Review by A. E. Crawley. Reprinted from Nature, June 18, 1914.

Physical Description: 1 copy.

“Women, the Census, and the Possibilities of the Future” Notes of Lectures by Prof. Patrick Geddes. Summer 1921.

Physical Description: 1 copy.

“The Classification of Statistics and its Results.” By Patrick Geddes. From the Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, vol. XI. Read March 21, April 4, and May 2, 1881.

Physical Description: 1 copy.

“Public Health in the Industrial Age” Number 6 of Papers for the Present. By Patrick Geddes. Reprinted from The Sociological Review, Vol. XI, No. 1, Spring 1919.

Physical Description: 1 copy.

“A Gardener of Paradise” Number X of Papers for the Present. By George Sandeman.

Physical Description: 1 copy.

“Mythology and Life: An Interpretation of Olympus; with Applications to Eugenics and Civics.” Abstract of a paper read by Professor Geddes before the Sociological Society, October 15, 1912.

Physical Description: 1 copy.

“The Worlds First Sociological Laboratory.” By Charles Zueblin. Reprinted from The American Journal of Sociology, Vol. IV, No. 5, 1899.

Physical Description: 1 copy.

“Beginnings of a Survey of Edinburgh.” By Prof. P. Geddes. Reprinted from The Scottish Geographical Magazine, Vol. XXXV, August-September-October 1919.

Physical Description: 1 copy.

The World-Story of 3000,000,000 (?) Years by J. Reeves. 1922.

Physical Description: 1 copy.

The Nature and Attributes of God According to the Shastras. By Babu Chhajju Singh. Meerut, 1903.

Physical Description: 1 copy.

The Aim and Scope and A Synopsis of the Plot of Diamond Jubilee Maharani Tilotama, by Kunwar Bihari Lal Ajiz. Zemindar, Lucknow District. No date.

Physical Description: 1 copy.

[Testimonial] by G. Thibaut. Benares, 24 May, 1899.

Physical Description: 1 copy.

“Atharva-Veda: Critical Notes; with Some Account of Whitney's Commentary,” by Charles R. Lanman. Reprint from Album--Kern, May, 1903.

Physical Description: 1 copy.

Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, Vol. XXXI, March, 1904,

Physical Description: 1 copy.

Asiatic Society of Japan. List of Transactions Constitution and By-Laws. Tokyo, 1903.

Physical Description: 1 copy.

“Preliminary Notes on Coeloplana,” by James Francis Abbott. Reprinted from the Annotationes Zoologicae Japonenses, vol IV, Part 4, 1902.

Physical Description: 2 Copies.

2. Eight early photographs of Stanford, removed to the Stanford Collection.