Scope and arrangement
The collection consists entirely of papers concerned with Fischer's biography of Mahatma Gandhi. The two series are Sources for the Gandhi Biography (ca 1909-1949) and Drafts of the Gandhi Biography (1948-1950). The first series consists of material collected by Fischer. There are clippings, press releases, articles, completed questionnaires, original correspondence, and transcripts and facsimiles of correspondence.
One group of folders, which presumably follows Fischer's arrangement, is loosely organized around chronological periods in the life of Gandhi and Indian affairs. Another group is. loosely organized by subject matter or type of material. Most of the folders contain clippings with press releases, articles, and correspondence interspersed throughout; all of the material is concerned with Gandhi, India, or Fischer as biographer. The clippings date from various times of Gandhi's life and career, and from the time of his death and after. Included are clippings of articles by Fischer himself. There are accounts of Gandhi's habits and activities by Indians who knew him well. Many of these, including one separate file, are responses to a written interview or questionnaire prepared by Fischer. There are three photographs of Fischer with Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964) and Mohammed Ali Jinnah (1876-1948) along with another photograph of a group of people including Rajkumari Amrit Kaur; at least one photograph of Gandhi is in the collection.
A final group of folders contains correspondence with other material interspersed. There is correspondence, 1948-1949, between Fischer and Kishorial G. Mashruwala, the editor of Harijan, Gandhi's weekly newspaper. Other Fischer letters include letters with close friends of Gandhi and members of his family, as well as specialists on India. Some printed matter accompanies the letters. The rest of the correspondence includes original letters (1914-1948) and transcripts (ca. 1909-1947) of Gandhi letters. The original letters include six (1937-1948) addressed to Sister Kurshed Naoroji, a member of Gandhi's ashram at Sabarmati, and one 1948 letter to Fischer. There are transcripts of letters in both English and Gujarati, an Indian script used frequently by Gandhi. Separate files of letters, 1921-1928, with C. F. Andrews (1871-1940), 1919-1944 with Rabindranath Tagore (1918-1941), and (1934-1947) with Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, Gandhi's English language Secretary. Several letters between Fischer and Indian friends of Gandhi, including the industrialist Shantikumar Narottam Morarjee, offer commentary on some of the Gandhi letters.
The second series, Drafts of Gandhi Biography, is Fischer's first and final drafts of The Life of Mahatma Gandhi with his emendations.
Two series: I. Sources for the Gandhi Biography, ca. 1909-1949; II. Drafts of the Gandhi Biography, 1948-1950