Dr. Thaw Kaung Collection

Dr. Thaw Kaung 2  Dr. Thaw Kaung

Brief Biography

1937 Born on 17 Dec. 1937 in Yangon (Rangoon), Myanmar   (Burma). Eldest son of Sithu UKaung, Director of Education and first Chairman of the Burma Historical Commission, and Daw Thane ( B.A. Judson College, Rangoon University).
1947-50 In London with father SithuU Kaung and family. U Kaung was Special Education Officer in U.K. for the Interim Burmese government led by Bogyoke Aung San, established the Burmese Embassy in London and from Jan. 1948 became Counsellor for Education at the Embassy. The first bank notes issued in Burma after Independence bore his signature.
1954 Matriculated from the Methodist English High School (now Dagon High School no.1) Yangon, in 1st Division with distinctions in English and Geography.
1954-59 Studied at Rangoon (Yangon) University, English, Burmese (Myanmar), History, Geography and Anthropology.
1959 Obtained B.A. Honours (First Class in English) from Rangoon University. Joined the University of Rangoon Library as Deputy to the University Librarian (1959-69)   U Thein Han (SayaZawGyi).
1960-61 Studied Librarianship at University College, University of London, taking a special course on Oriental Bibliography at the School of Oriental and African Studies of the same University.
1962 Obtained the Postgraduate Diploma in Librarianship from University of London. Elected as a Chartered Librarian and as an Associate of the Library Association (ALA), UK.
1964 Worked closely with the Education Ministry to draw up plans to establish the Universities Central Library, under the guidance of U Thein Han.
1964 Married DawKhin Than, Chief Accountant, Ministry of Industry, Foodstuffs Corporation (Cigarette).(3) sons: Min Thaw Kaung (b. 1966), Thant Thaw Kaung (b.1969), Myat Thaw Kaung (b.1974).
1965-80 Honorary Librarian and Publisher of the Burma Research Society, printing old Myanmar texts mainly from palm-leaf and parabike manuscripts. B.R.S. Headquarters were in the University Library.
1966-84 Secretary, Editorial and Management Board of the Universities Academic Journal, TetkathoePyin-nyaPadethaSarsaung, with Deputy Minister for Education, Dr. NyiNyi as Chairman.
1968-76 Spectrum, monthly magazine, published by the Directorate of Information. Member of the Board of Appraisal for Selection of Material.
1969-97 Chief Librarian, Universities Central Library. Established a Special Section for Palm-leaf and paper Parabike Manuscripts, collecting over 16,000 bundles.
1971-97 Established Department of Library Studies and appointed Part-time Professor and Head of Department, University of Yangon (at the time known as Rangoon Arts and Science University). Lectured on Cataloguing.
1971-76 Secretary, Myanmar Language Commission. First Chairman of Committee to compile Myanmar-English Dictionary(1980).
1976 Certificate in Teaching Library Studies, Western Australian Institute of Technology (later Curtin University). Became an Associate of the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA).
1980 Leader of first Myanmar Library Delegation to Japan.
1984-85 Consultant to the British Library, Oriental and India Office Collections.
1984 Elected Honorary Fellow of the Library Association (FLA) of U.K. for outstanding service to librarianship which included the establishment of the Department of Library Studies at University of Rangoon, and Rare Manuscripts Section at the Universities’ Central Library.
1984 (July) to 2014 (Apr) Member of the Management Board of the monthly Basic Education magazine, PyinnyaTasaung.
1985 Leader of Delegation of University Librarians to Australia and Singapore.
1985 Awarded the Medal for Prevalence of Law & Order by the Myanmar Government.
1988 Sept to Oct. Leader of Library Academic Delegation to UK (two weeks) and USA(four weeks).
1989 Awarded the Medal for Contribution to State Peace & Tranquility by the Myanmar Government.
1989-90 Visiting Librarian, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore.
1990 Awarded the Public Good Service Medal by the Myanmar Government.
1991-92 Leverhulme Fellow, British Library, UK. Compiled Bibliography of Early Printed Books of Burma, to 1885. (Unpublished).
1992 to present Founder and Patron of the Myanmar Library Association (MLA).
1993 to present Elected Corresponding Member of the Siam Society, Bangkok.
1993 to present Vice-Chairman, Myanmar National Literary Awards Selection Committee.Later Chairman from 2012.
1995 Secretary, Committee of Yangon University History and Commemorative Publications for the Diamond Jubilee of the Yangon University (1920-1995).
1995 to 2012 Member, Pakkoku U OhnPe Literary Awards Selection Committee.
1997 (Dec. 17) Retired from Universities’ Central Library at compulsory retirement age of 60. Retired also as Head of the Department of Library and Information Studies, University of Yangon, but continued teaching.
1998 (Jan) to present Member, Myanmar Historical Commission, Ministry of Education. In 2008the Commission was transferred to the Ministry of Culture. (From 2009 Part-time Member).
1998 to present Vice-Chairman, National Commission for Preservation of Traditional Manuscripts.
1998 to 2007 Part-time Professor, Department of Library and Information Studies, University of Yangon.
1998 Founded the Mingala-byuhaParahita Association to help the poor and disabled together with prominent Myanmar writers Paragu and Min Yu Wai; served as Vice-President and later as Patron of this Association.
1996 to 2004 Member of the Editorial Board of the Myanmar Perspectives, English language magazine (monthly on the Internet, and quarterly printed version).
1999 Harold White Fellow at the National Library of Australia. Awarded Doctor of Letters (D. Litt.) Honoris Causa, by the University of Western Sydney, Australia.
2000 Appointed Executive Committee Member of CONSAL (Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians).
2001 Elected National Coordinator for SEACAP (Southeast Asian Consortium for Access and Preservation) of rare manuscripts.
2001 Patron of the Biodiversity and Nature Conservation Association (BANCA)
2001 Founded “U Thaw Kaung Prize” awarded each year to the most outstanding student from the M.A. Course in Library and Information Studies, University of Yangon.
2002 to present Member Sayawun Tin Shwe Literary Awards Selection Committee.
2002 Visiting Professor, National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, Japan.
2003 Chairman of Myanmar Reference Books Compilation Committee of SarpayBeikman from 2003 after being a member of this Committee since 1985. Headed the Compilation and publication of the annual Myanmar Encyclopaedia Yearbook.
2004 Independence Day Honours; received Outstanding Award in Arts (2nd Grade) by Myanmar Government.
2004 Lecture Tour of USA. Keynote Address at Burma Studies Conference and Panel in Memory of May Kyi Win, University of Northern Illinois, Dekalb.
2005 Jan. Member of Main Committee headed by the Minister for Education for celebrating the Golden Jubilee of the Myanmar Historical Commission (1955-2005).Secretary to the Editorial Board headed by Dr. Than Tun, formed to publish about 50 special monographs and Commemorative Essays in Myanmar and English for MHC Golden Jubilee.Member of Publications Committee and also Committee for holding aspecial commemorative International Conference (Jan.12-14) for MHC Golden Jubilee.
2005 Feb. Became a delegate to the National Convention as a Member of theIntelligentsias and Technicians Group.
2005 (Aug/Sep) Awarded the Academic Prize for 2005, by the 16th   Fukuoka Asian Cultural Prizes Committee of Fukuoka, Japan, and became the first librarian to receive this prestigious Fukuoka Asian Cultural Prize.Celebrations held at the International Business Centre in Yangon on 2nd August and at Fukuoka on 15thSeptember 2005. Gave a Public Forum on “Unearthed Story of Myanmar History: Preserve Palm-leaves in Digital Format” on 17th September at ACROS Fukuoka Event Hall.
2005 Founded “U Thaw Kaung Prize” awarded each year to the most outstanding student from the M.A. Course in Library and Information Studies, Eastern Yangon University.
2006 to present Appointed Member of the nearly established ThutaSwei-zon Literary Prize funded by Dr. Tin TunOo. Later became Chairman of the Selection Committee.
2006 to present Appointed Member of the Tun Foundation Literary Prize funded by the Selection Committee. Later selected as Chairman.
2006 Feb. Appointed Chairman of the Editorial Board for Myanmar Historical Commission Publication Committee (to succeed Dr. Than Tun who passed away on 30 Nov. 2005)
2007 to present Appointed Member of the Academic Advisory Council of the newly re-established Nalanda International University, India, by the Foreign AffairsMinistry of India.
2008 Awarded Life Achievement Literary Award by thePakokku U OhnPe Literary Awards Selection Committee.
2009 Won the Reference (English) book literary prize of the TunFoundation Literary Awards, for his book From the Librarian’s Window.
2010 to 2012 Appointed a member of the Advisory Board of Asian Festival of Children’s Content, Singapore. In 2013 replaced by his son Dr. Thant Thaw Kaung.
2011 Awarded the Lifetime Achievement in Literature prestigious prize by the National Literary Awards Selection Committee.
2011 Won the Tun Foundation Literary Prize for his book Aspects of Myanmar History and Culture (published by the Myanmar Knowledge Society, 2010).
2012 (Jan. 4) Awarded the Sithu title by the Myanmar President: for Independence Day Honours. (Sithu Order of Honours for Life-Time Service to the Nation and People).

Residence:    52A Than Lwin Road, Bahan, University PO 11041, Yangon, Myanmar
Tel. 95-1-526529       Email: [email protected]



1. Aspects of Myanmar History and Culture. Yangon: Lawka Ahlinn, 2010.

I. Myanmar History

(1)    Ayedawbon Kyan, an Important Myanmar Literary Genre Recording Historical Events


(2)    Two Compilers of Myanmar History and their Chronicles


(3)    Letwe Nawrahta (1723-1791), Recorder of Myanmar History


(4)    Accounts of King Bayinnaung’s Life and Hanthawaddy Hsinbyumya-shin Ayedawbon, a Record of his Campaigns


(5)    Bayinnaung in the Hanthawaddy Hsinbyumya-shin Ayedawbon Chronicle


(6)    Palm-leaf Manuscript Record of a Mission Sent by the Myanmar King to the Chinese Emperor in mid-18th Century


(7)    Preliminary Survey of Penang-Myanmar Relations for mid-19th to mid-20th centuries


II. Myanmar Culture

(8)    The Ramayana Drama in Myanmar


(9)    Ramayana in Myanmar Literature and Performing Arts


(10)    In Search of Rama: a Visit to Tha-khyut-ta-ni


(11)    Myanmar Dramatic Literature, its Rise and Decline


(12)    Myanmar Historic Earthernware


(13)    Lagunbyee Old Town and the Discovery of the First Ceramic Kiln


(14)    The Mahamuni