Seven Roads Junction, PO Box 25, Kodaikanal 624 101, Tamil Nadu, India tel: (91) 4542 247 500 fax: (91) 4542 241 109 email: email@example.com
KIS has been successful in attracting financial support through Annual fund, class and private donations to restore an Edwardian architectural jewel, the original building of the Kodaikanal Mission Union, in order to provide permanent archive storage for KIS archives along with private museum and exhibition areas to make a home for this unique collection.
The KIS Archives houses a unique collection of documentary and photographic material that pertains to the development of the school. The Archives tracks the history and evolution of Kodaikanal, the hill station, and KIS from its origins as Kodaikanal School. The Archives also houses information of the American Missions of South India, their influence on education, medicine, health and the social history of the eclectic population who settled in this Palani Hills region from the mid-1800.
Kodaikanal School was founded in 1901 as a school for the children of mainly American missionaries serving in South India and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). A high school was added between 1924 and 1932 whose curriculum allowed students to enter schools in the United States and Canada. The outbreak of World War II impacted the recruitment of teachers from the United States and soon European teachers and students became a part of the growing school community. In 1972, the school became Kodaikanal International School (KIS) adopting an international curriculum in 1975 (International Baccalaureate Diploma Program), reaffirming, its Christian tradition. The growth of the school was almost synchronous with the growth of the town.
Both Kodaikanal and KIS are unique in that they were the outcome of American interests and needs, unlike other hill stations in India which were the outcome of British colonial needs. A significant collection of the history of this school and its environs is to be found in the KIS Archives.
A large amount of books dating back to 1899, old maps (including hand-drawn ones), students - work on local and global issues, and newspaper cuttings bear evocative testimony to the life of American missionaries and their influence on the development of education and medicine to which the schools and hospitals in the region bear witness.
The archival materials document the history of a unique subculture of pre-industrial India - that of the American missionary in South India and the world of evangelism, education and medicine. This subculture lived in relative isolation, developed its own norms and practices and became an ntegral, sometimes central, part of the life of the school and the town.
The lives of these early missionaries were set against the backdrop of the growing town, the disappearing tiger and bison, the arduous climb up to Kodaikanal, the sinking of the Titanic, (one of the school's students numbers among its survivors), the internment of Germans during World War II, the visit of Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first Prime Minister in 1962, and in 2003, the death (in Kodaikanal) of Adam Osborne, the inventor of the world's first portable computer. These vignettes of local / social history, if available to scholars, will become foundation stones for research or provide the missing links of their work.
The KIS student, staff and alumni communities use the KIS Archives for obtaining general information, project research data or just to explore.
The KIS Archives is situated in the KMU and is open from 8 am to 5 pm, Monday thru Friday.