In 1868, the Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) was established in London to promote knowledge about the British empire’s colonies abroad. Many of its members were civil servants, doctors, soldiers, and even missionaries who worked in India. Over the years, they donated to its library their diaries, letters, and artifacts, which revealed much about what it was like to live on the other side of the world.
This collection also accumulated hundreds of photographs of India, dating back to the mid-1850s. These images were acquired by the University of Cambridge when it purchased the RCS’s library in 1993. In recent years, the Cambridge University Library began digitising some of these historic images, making them available online for everyone to see.
Source: Maria Thomas, "Incredible images of colonial India have been digitised for the first time," Quartz India, March 8, 2018, https://qz.com/1200827/images-of-colonial-india-are-digitised-for-the-first-time-by-cambri...
The Royal Commonwealth Society Library collections are available online at https://cudl.lib.cam.ac.uk/collections/rcs/1