Alexander Johnston Papers

A series of 148 files relating to the life, work and family of Sir Alexander Johnston (1775–1849), the third Chief Justice of Ceylon and a famous orientalist. Johnston was known for pursuing a number of administrative reforms within the British government including the introduction of trial by jury, the incorportion of local legal systems into British law in Ceylon, and steps toward the abolition of slavery on the island. The Alexander Johnston papers, which range from the eighteenth to the twentieth century, were collected by James T. Rutnam (1905-1988), a Jaffna Tamil Protestant historian and businessman who was preparing a manuscript on Johnston's life and work. The documents found in these folders are eclectic, and include Johnston's own writings (bought by Rutnam abroad or in Ceylon), correspondance between Rutnam and Johnston's family members, newspaper clippings, Rutnam's manuscript notes, and more. The Evelyn Rutnam Institute contains the largest repository of materials on Alexandar Johnston in the world.