In the third quarter of the 20th century when I was studying history at Peradeniya Campus University of Ceylon, it was fashionable for budding historians to select political topics, such as the periods of British Governors, for their dissertation work. I opted otherwise and chose agrarian history for my D. Phil. Work at Oxford. This leaning had been generated by my 4th year Honours course under W.J. F. Labrooy where we had to cut our teeth in documentary explorations through the two volume ‘monument’ edited by Dr. G. C. Mendis, namely The Colebrooke Cameron Papers, two vols. Oxford University Press, 1956.
Dr. Mendis had retired from university service by the time I entered Peradeniya, but, building on the work of S. A. Pakeman at University College in Colombo, he had been the founding architect of the Department of History at the University of Ceylon, with the able assistance of his younger colleague, W. J. F. Labrooy, over many a year.
So the opportunity is taken here to introduce The Colebrooke Cameron Papers to all those readers interested in Ceyloniana and Sri Lankan history as one facet in the elaboration of Dr. G. C. Mendis’ vital role in the development of the discipline in Sri Lanka with the aid of a bibliography of his works. Michael Roberts