The IIS holds one of the most significant repositories in the world of materials related to Ismaili communities.  The beginnings of this collection can be traced back to the 1930s and 1940s when the Russian scholar and pioneer of modern Ismaili studies, Vladimir Ivanow (1886-1970), together with Mr Chotu Lakhani and other Ismaili scholars, gathered a large number of manuscripts for The Ismaili Society in Bombay. These acquisitions have provided the basis for the Institute’s own collection.