CROOKE, William. Macroom, co. Cork 6.8.1848 — Cheltenham 25.10.1923. British (Irish) Civil Servant and Anthropologist in India. Eldest son of Warren Cr., M.D., of an originally English family long resident in Ireland. Educated at the grammar school in Tipperary, studied at Trinity College in Dublin (B.A.). Joined the I.C.S. in 1871, served as magistrate and collector in North-Western Provinces and Oudh (Saharanpur, Gorakhpur and Mirzapur districts). In 1895 he retired relatively early because of clashes with his superiors after an uneventful career. Then living in Cheltenham. C.I.E. 1919, Hon. D.Sc. 1919 Oxford, Litt.D. 1920 Dublin. Married 1884 Alice Carr, five sons.
During his career Crooke keenly studied local customs, religious beliefs and languages and soon started writing on them, and continued this in retirement. He was one of the first to study and present popular religion. In India he was often assisted by Ram Gharib Chaube. His interests also comprised history and archaeology. Fellow of British Academy 1923.
Publications: A number of articles in IA, Punjab Notes and Queries (editor 1887/90-95), JRAS, E.R.E., Journal of the R. Anthropol. Inst., Folk-lore (editor 1915-23).
– Materials for a rural and agricultural glossary of the North-Western Provinces and Oudh. 123 p. Allahabad 1879, rev. ed. as A glossary of North Indian peasant life. Ed. by Shahid Amin. 290 p. Delhi 1989; A Rural and Agricultural Glossary for the North-West Provinces and Oudh. Calcutta 1888; An ethnographical handbook for the North-Western Provinces and Oudh. Allahabad 1890; The N. W. P. of India, their History, Ethnology, and Administration. 361 p. L. 1897.
– An Introduction to the popular religion and folklore of northern India. 420 p. Allahabad 1894, 2nd rev. ed. as The popular rel. and folklore of n. India. 1-2. 300+360 p. L. 1896, new ed. by R. E. Enthoven as Rel. & folklore of n. India. 471 p. Oxford 1926.
– Tribes and Castes of the N.W.P. and Oudh. 1-4. 216+294, 499+500+516 p. 6+11+8+5 pl. Calcutta 1896.
– “The Hill Tribes of the Central Indian Hills”, JRAnthrInst 28, 1899, 220-248; “Primitive Rites of Disposal of the Dead, with Special Reference to India”, JRAnthrInst 29, 1899, 271-294; “Nudity in India in Custom and Ritual”, JRAnthrInst 49, 1919, 237-251.
– H. Yule & A. C. Burnell: Hobson-Jobson. A Glossary of colloquial Anglo-Indian words and phrases, and of kindred terms, etymological, historical, geographical and discursive. (L. 1886) New ed. [rev.] by W. Crooke. 1021 p. 1903.
– “The Rude Stone Monuments of India”, Proceedings of the Cotteswold Naturalists’ Field Club 15:2, 1905, 117-145.
– Things Indian. 546 p. L. 1906.
– Natives of Northern India. 14+270 p. Native Races of the British Empire. L. 1907.
– Edited: J. Fryer: A new account of East-India and Persia in eight letters. Being nine years’ travels 1672–1681. Edited with notes and introd. 1-3. Hakluyt Soc. 2nd Series 19, 20, 19. L. 1909-15.
– Edited: J. Tod: Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan or the Central and Western Rajput States of India. Edited with introd. and notes. 1-3. 119+1862 p. L. 1920; G. A. Herklots, Qanoon-e-Islam, or the Customs of the Moosulmans of India … by Jaffar Shurreef. 40+374 p. 27 pl. Oxford 1921.
Sources: Who Was Who 1916-1928; Buckland, Dictionary; *G.A.G[rierson], JRAS 1924, 147f.; *H.A. Rose, Folk-lore 34, 1923, 382-385; R.C. Temple, IA 53, 1924, 21f. and Man 24, 1924, 6f. with photo; not in D.I.B.; Wikipedia, rather long article with further references, also a separate bibliographical entry.
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