Shri Harivallabhadas Kalidas Commerce College is the offspring of Gujarat Vidhyasabha and a late one at that. Established in 1968, it was supposed to cater to the rising need for commerce education in a changing society. Gujarat Vidhyasabha was the brain child of a British officer by the name of Sir Alexander Kinlock Forbes who embarked on the mission of enriching the vernacular (the Gujarati) language. His efforts led him to form the Gujarati Vernacular Society with the help and the co-operation of the then existing literati of Gujarati. The altruistic efforts came from the grand old first citizens, among them the well-known poet Dalpatram. The efforts were fortified by likes of the foremost citizens of the state, the late Shri Dadasaheb Mavlankar, Shri Rasiklal Parikh, Lt. Balwantbhai Bhatt, late Shri Yashwant Shukla and of course the unforgettable, late Dr. Chinubhai Nayak.
The history of the college dates back to the mid-nineteenth century. The parent Institution of the college named Gujarat Vernacular Society was established on 26 December, 1848. The history of the society has been recorded in three volumes of the "History of Gujarat Vernacular Society" published in part 1, 2 & 3, by the learned scholar Shri Hiralal Parekh. These volumes can be accessed in the library of Shri B. J. Institute of Learning and Research.
The history notes that the Society was set up for the development of Gujarati language and literature, dispersal of knowledge and enhancement in education. The Society's name was changed to Gujarat Vidyasabha in 1946. The Society's six-point program was the publication of periodicals, library services, classification and arrangement of manuscripts, the upliftment of i women through education, compilation of lexicons and publication of books.The publication of the monthly "Buddhiprakash" continuously for 154 years makes it one of the oldest magazines of the state.
The publications of Vidyasabha on a variety of subjects have crossed the 1000 mark. Vidyasabha's research wing, B. J. Institute of Learning and Research (named after the donor Bholabhai Jeshingbhai) continues to make a sound contribution to research and learning. The Harkunvarbai Kanya Shala, one of the earliest schools for girls founded in 1850, is known today as Rao Bahadur Ranchhodlal Chhotalal Primary, Secondary and Higher Secondary Girls School. Himabhai Library, situated in the heart of the old walled city, is one of the earliest libraries set up by Vidyasabha in 1857.
Renowned academicians and prominent personalities have helped theVidhyasabha in converting the blue print of the early dreams into a physical reality. Anandshankar Dhruv, a former Vice-Chancellor of Banaras Hindu University; Ganesh Vasudev Mavlankar, the first Speaker of the Lok Sabha; his son and noted parliamentarian Purushottam Mavlankar; Rasiklal Parikh, a scholar of Indian arts and aesthetics; IndulalYajnik, a popular political leader of Gujarat till mid-seventies; the Jnanapith-honored Gujarati poet Umashankar Joshi, each made their distinctive contribution. Vidhyasabha started its first arts college, Ramanand Vidhyalaya, later named Shri H. K. Arts College in 1955. In order to cater to the growing need of commerce education in the city, the trustees decided to lay the foundation stone of a commerce college again to be named as Shri Harivallabhdas Kalidas Commerce College, after the father of late Shri Jaykrishnabhai Harivallabhdas and his brothers.