Balai Pustaka collection (1908-1970)

Location: Asian Studies Research Collection

Background: In 1908 the Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies set up a Commissie voor de Volkslectuur, a Committee of Popular Literature. This Committee was responsible for providing suitable reading material for the students emerging from the new approach to education instituted by the Dutch after 1906. Included in the range of materials subsequently published was traditional literature, such as popular folk tales, and classical tales, such as the Mahabharata. Translations of Western books, such as, Pinokio, the Count of Monte Cristo, and informational publications on health and hygiene in a range of local languages, Malay, Javanese, Sundanese, and Madurese, were also considered suitable publications. However, most important of all, a primary aim of the Committee was to publish original works by Indonesian authors. Balai Pustaka has been credited with playing a vital role in the development of modern Indonesian literature.

The Monash Balai Pustaka collection, while not complete, has especially good holdings for the 1920’s and 1930’s. The books are arranged in boxes according to the Balai Pustaka number given to each publication. Brief records can be found in the library catalogue. An inventory listing is available.

Monash University Library also holds Pandji Poestaka, the Malay illustrated weekly published by Balai Pustaka

Another source of Balai Pustaka publications available at Monash is Indonesian Monographs 1945 – 1968
This collection contains some microfilmed copies of Balai Pustaka items published between 1945 and 1968.

NOTE: Balai Pustaka publications received by the Library since 1970 have been fully catalogued and placed on the shelves in the Indonesian monograph collection.

Contact the Southeast Asian Studies Librarian for further information.

Need help? Library frequently asked questions and online enquiries: current students/staff | public users, online chat, or phone +61 3 9905 5054

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