Case One: Early Travelers
A Faithful Account of the Religion and Manners of the Mahometans. In which is a particular Relation of their Pilgrimage to Mecca, the Place of Mahomet’s Birth; and a Description of Medina, and of his Tomb there… London: T. Longman, 1738. Fourth edition.
Pitts (1663-1731?) was captured at sea at the age of 15 by corsairs in 1678 and enslaved at Algiers. He was finally purchased by a kind elderly master who took him on the Haj to Mecca. Eventually Pitts escaped back to England where he lived in his hometown of Exeter for the next forty years. This work was originally printed at Exeter in 1704, thus making it the first authentic account by an Englishman of the pilgrimage to Mecca.
Travels through Arabia, and Other Countries in the East. Belfast: Printed for William Macghie, 1792. Two volumes, in contemporary full calf. Early edition: first published at Edinburgh in the same year.
Niebuhr, a mapmaker and surveyor, was part of a scientific expedition to Arabia organized by the Danish Foreign Minister. He left in 1761; it would be seven years before he would return to Denmark, the sole survivor of the expedition. When he returned to Europe he brought with him the first news of the Wahhabi movement: “the new religion of a part of Nejd”.
With the bookplate of Gary Owen, a gift from Jennifer Owen Murphy. Gary Grant Owen, the Vice President for Government Relations of the Arab American Oil Company (Aramco), served in Saudi Arabia from 1934 until 1958. One of his important duties during that time was the supervising of the visits to the United States by King Saud and King Faisal.
Burckhardt, John Lewis
Travels to Arabia. London: Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley, 1829. First edition. From the library of Ambassador Parker T. Hart, a gift of Jane Hart.
Burckhardt (1784-1817) was educated at Leipzig and came to England in 1806. He studied Arabic at Cambridge and Malta and spent two years in Aleppo learning Islamic law and perfecting his Arabic. The Arab disguise he used on his travels was that of a physician in search of medical herbs. He journeyed through Palestine and Arabia to Egypt in 1812; traveled along the Nile above Assuan in 1813; and went in the train of the viceroy of Egypt to Mecca and Medina in 1815.
Burckhardt, John Lewis
Notes on the Bedouins and Wahabys. London: Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley, 1830. First edition, rebound in later ¾ black roan and cloth boards.
From the library of Robert L. Headley, a gift of Hope Headley. Robert L. Headley worked in Saudi Arabia for the Arabian research department of Aramco (he edited H. St. John Philby’s Arabian Oil Ventures) from 1951 until 1964 when he joined the CIA, serving in other countries abroad including Muscat and Oman.
Brydges, Sir Harford Jones
An Account of the Transactions of His Majesty’s Mission to the Court of Persia … to which is appended, A Brief History of the Wahauby. London: Printed for James Bohn, 1834. Two volumes, in slightly later ¾ calf and boards. Holland House bookplate in each volume. From the library of Gary Owen, a gift of Jennifer Owen Murphy.
The second volume is important for an early discussion of the Wahhabi movement. In 1745 Mohammed Ibn Saud gave political asylum to a holy man, Mohammed Ibn Wahhab. The latter was born in the Nejd in 1696 and educated in theology at Basra and Damascus, and was a rigid fundamentalist. He opposed every pleasure and belief not specified in the Koran. He quickly gathered followers from Bedouin clans. These were formed into military communities, and called themselves the Ikhwan, or Brotherhood. Shown is a portrait of Abdallah Ibn Saud who was captured, taken to Constantinople and executed in 1819.
Wellsted, J. R.
Travels in Arabia. London: John Murray, 1838. 2 volumes. First edition, original cloth, damage to all hinges. With Philby’s signature (dated 1920) on front pastedown of volume 1, and some pencil markings in his characteristic style throughout the text. From the library of Robert L. Headley, a gift of Hope Headley.
Wellsted was an officer on an East India Company’s surveying ship in the Red Sea, 1830-1833. He traveled in Oman in 1835 and 1837, but retired from service in shattered health in 1839. In the grip of a delirious fever, he shot himself twice in the mouth and lingered on for three more years before dying in India at the age of 37.
Case Two: 19th Century Agents and Explorers
Wellsted, J. R.
Travels to the City of Caliphs … including a Voyage to the Coast of Arabia… London: Henry Colburn, 1840. Two volumes in original cloth. First edition of an exceedingly rare volume of exploration in Arabia conducted by Wellsted’s friend, Lt. Ormsby of the Indian Navy. From the library of Ambassador Parker T. Hart, a gift of Jane Hart.
Osgood, Joseph B. F.
Notes of Travel or Recollections of Majunga, Zanzibar, Muscat, Aden, Mocha, and Other Eastern Ports. Salem: George Creamer, 1854. First edition with a presentation inscription to the noted American chemist James Robinson Nichols.
Wallin, George Augustus
Narrative of a Journey from Cairo to Medina and Mecca, by Suez, Araba, Tawila, al-Jauf, Jubbe, Hail, and Nejd, in 1845. Pp. 115-207. Separately bound extract from the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, 1854. With Philby’s ownership stamp in several places, and his extensive penciled notes throughout the text. From the library of Robert L. Headley, a gift of Hope Headley.
Wallin, who had attended the Oriental Institute in St. Petersburg, was hired by the Egyptian Foreign Office to journey into the Arabian interior. He was to report back to them on political developments. For cover, he would adopt the role of a horse dealer. Though he reached Hail, he never made it to Riyadh, although he was the first European to go on to Taima at the edge of Wahhabi territory.
Burton, Sir Richard Francis
Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to El-Medinah and Meccah. London: Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans, 1855-56. Three volumes, in contemporary full Russia. From the library of Gary Owen, the gift of Jennifer Owen Murphy.
Palgrave, William Gifford
Narrative of a Year’s Journey Through Central and Eastern Arabia (1862-63). London and Cambridge: Macmillan and Co., 1865. First edition.
Formerly a soldier, Palgrave joined the Society of Jesus and spent four years at the Jesuit college in Madras and three years in Rome before being sent to Lebanon as a missionary. In 1862 he became an agent for Napoleon III to report on the Arabian kingdoms of Hail and Riyadh. Hail had only been visited once by a European, Wallin, and Riyadh never. For this trip he assumed the disguise of a Syrian doctor. He became the first man to cross Arabia diagonally, and the first to visit both Hail and Riyadh.
Shown is Palgrave’s plan of Hofhoof, a town of some twenty thousand in Palgrave’s time. At the top left is the citadel with its thirty towers and moat, which could be filled with water from the town’s springs during trouble.
Guarmani, Carlo; Lady Capel-Cure, translator
Northern Najd: A Journey from Jerusalem to Anaiza in Qasim. New York: De Capo Press, 1971. A reprint of the 1938 edition by the Argonaut Press.
Guarmani, an Italian, was another spy for Napoleon III. He was sent to Arabia to buy Arabian stallions and to confirm or deny Palgrave’s reports.
Pelly, Lt. Col. Lewis
Report on a Journey to the Wahabee Capital of Riyadh in Central Arabia. New York, Cambridge and Naples: Oleander and Falcon, 1978. A reprint of Pelly’s 1866 edition published in Bombay.
Sir Lewis Pelly (1825-1892) was the first European since Captain George Sadlier in 1819 to visit Riyadh from the Gulf. He was also the first traveler to make the solo ride from Persia via Kandahar to India.
Maughan, William Charles
The Alps of Arabia: Travels in Egypt, Sinai, Arabia and the Holy Land. London: Henry S. King, 1873. First edition, in the original cloth.
With the armorial bookplate of soldier and diplomat Sir Percy Cox, who as political resident in the Persian Gulf strengthened British ties with the ruler of Kuwait, and through him with Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud, who had regained his ancestral throne in Nejd. Cox was the first British diplomat to foresee the importance of securing the confidence and friendship of the Saudi ruler. Also with the bookplate of Gary Owen, a gift from Jennifer Owen Murphy.
Case Three: Wanderers and Romantics
Doughty, Charles M.
Wanderings in Arabia. New York: Thomas Seltzer, 1924. First American edition thus. An abridgement by Edward Garnett of Doughty’s classic but massive Travels in Arabia Deserta. When the volume first appeared in 1888, ten years after Doughty’s two-year stay in Arabia, it was reviewed by Richard F. Burton, who called it: “a twice-told tale writ large … which despite its affectations and eccentricities, its prejudices and misjudgments, is right well told.”
A Pilgrimage to Nejd, the Cradle of the Arab Race. London: John Murray, 1881. Two volumes, in plain binder’s cloth. With the bookplate of Gary Owen, a gift of Jennifer Owen Murphy.
A year after Doughty’s departure from Arabia, two very different British travelers arrived: the English politician and poet Wilfrid Scawen Blunt and his wife, Lady Anne Isabella Blunt, the granddaughter of Lord Byron. The two had traveled extensively in parts of the Arab world: Algeria, Egypt, Syria and Turkey. But in December of 1878 they set out from Damascus for Arabia along the Haj road. This is an account of their remarkable adventures. T. E. Lawrence considered Blunt, along with Doughty, the “master Arabians”.
Blunt, Wilfrid Scawen
In Vinculis. London: Kegan Paul, Trench & Co., 1889. First edition with a presentation inscription, dated 29 May 1911, from Blunt to Sir Shane Leslie. Tipped in the volume are letters to Leslie from Sir Sydney Cockerell (Blunt’s literary executor), and Blunt’s daughter Judith, as well as from Lady Anne Blunt. Exhibited is an autograph letter from the latter, 9 June 1912, discussing in part the early history of Arabia. From the Sir Shane Leslie Papers.
Cockerell, Sir Sydney
Autograph letter signed, 21 October 1948, to Sir Shane Leslie about Leslie’s recent newspaper defense of Blunt’s character, also shown. From the Sir Shane Leslie Papers.
Keane, John F.
Six Months in Meccah. London: Tinsley Brothers, 1881. First edition, in the original cloth. With the bookplate of Gary Owen, a gift from Jennifer Owen Murphy.
Keane, John F.
My Journey to Medinah. London: Tinsley Brothers, 1881. First edition, in the original cloth. With the bookplate of Gary Owen, a gift from Jennifer Owen Murphy.
Wavell, A. J. B.
A Modern Pilgrim in Mecca and a Siege in Sanna. London: Constable, 1912. First edition, in the original cloth. From the library of Gary Owen, a gift of Jennifer Owen Murphy.
Begam, Nawab Sultan Jahan
The Story of a Pilgrimage to the Hijaz. Calcutta: Thacker, Spink & Co., 1913. Second edition. Original cloth. From the library of Gary Owen, a gift of Jennifer Owen Murphy.
Two 18th-Century Swords with Saudi Markings
Made in Damascus, Syria, for a prominent Saudi figure, most likely from the Najd area where King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud came from. On loan from Hope Headley.
Winstone, H. V. F.
Captain Shakespear. New York: Quartet Books, 1978. First American edition.
William Henry Shakespear (1878-1915) arrived in Arabia in 1908 in the first motor car to be seen there, as the assistant to the British Political Resident in Kuwait, where he first met Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud. Ibn Saud invited him to visit Riyadh and Shakespear jumped at the chance. No one since Pelly half a century earlier had traveled to Riyadh. He left Kuwait in January 1914 and reached Riyadh in early March, then pushed on to the Sinai. When war broke out he returned to fight with Ibn Saud and his forces, but was killed in battle against the army of Rashid, Ibn Saud’s traditional enemy.
Case Four: World War One and 20th Century Travelers
The Arab War. [London] Golden Cockerel Press  #63 of 470 copies in quarter niger, but with the facsimile of an essay (limited to 30 copies) by the author inserted, as well as an autograph letter from Owen Rutter, one of the printers of the Golden Cockerel Press, to Lady Richmond, the author’s sister. With the bookplate of Gary Owen, a gift from Jennifer Owen Murphy.
Bell (1868-1926) was a renowned alpinist, traveler, archeologist, and British government official. In 1905 she journeyed from Jerusalem to Konia in Asia Minor, and in 1913-1914 she made an unsuccessful attempt to penetrate Central Arabia. She was appointed in 1915 to the Arab intelligence bureau in Cairo and later became the oriental secretary to the British high commissioner in Iraq. In this collection of dispatches she recounts her “visit to Basrah of Ibn Saud on November 27” .
Autograph letter signed, 1 August (1921), to American diplomat Cornelius Van H. Engert, discussing the current political situation especially as it relates to Iraq, mentioning that the newly crowned King Faisal “and Sir Percy [Cox, the British high commissioner in Iraq] are the best of friends.” From the papers of Ambassador Cornelius Van H. Engert, a gift of Roderick M. Engert.
Photograph of Churchill's Cairo Conference of 1921
Churchill was then Colonial Minister. To Churchill’s left, front row, is Sir Percy Cox, and on his right Sir Herbert Samuel; in the second row Gertrude Bell is second from the left and T.E. Lawrence is fourth from the right. Presented to Cornelius Van H. Engert from Bell. From the papers of Ambassador Cornelius Van H. Engert, a gift of Roderick M. Engert.
Lawrence, T. E.
Seven Pillars of Wisdom - a triumph. Garden City: Doubleday, Doran & Company, 1935. First American trade edition.
"Lawrence of Arabia" served in the Arab Bureau, 1914-1916, and later became adviser to Faisal (third son of the Grand Sharif of Mecca). He brought the Hejaz south of Aqaba, except Medina, under Arab-British control, and with money provided by Lord Allenby raised Arab forces which broke the Turkish Fourth Army and reached Damascus on October 1, 1918. This is his classic account of his Arabian exploits.
In it Lawrence has a good deal to say about Sir Ronald Storrs, from 1920 with the beginning of the mandate the “urbane and artful Governor” of Jerusalem and Judaea. In the abridgement of the book, Revolt in the Desert, the first chapter is entitled “Storrs goes to Jiddah”. The exhibited portrait of him is by Eric Kennington. The library has significant material about Storrs, to be found in the Christopher Sykes Papers.
Storrs, Sir Ronald
Typed manuscript (carbon) signed, “Doughty and Lawrence," 1 January 1948. This was written for a BBC series entitled “The Spell of Arabia." Storrs inscribes this copy to his friend, the writer and biographer Christopher Sykes. Sykes had a deep interest in the Arab world, being the son of the politician Sir Mark Sykes (1879-1919). Sir Mark Sykes was largely responsible for the “Sykes-Picot Agreement” of 1916, which assigned spheres of influence in the Near East to Russia, France and Great Britain. From the Christopher Sykes Papers.
Alarms and Excursions in Arabia. Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Company (1931). First American edition.
Thomas, the assistant to the British representative (H. St. John Philby) in Trans-Jordan 1922-1924, was the first European to make the crossing of Arabia’s Empty Quarter from south to north, leaving Salalah on the southern coast and arriving at Doha on the Arabian Gulf.
The Holy Cities of Arabia. London and New York: Putnam . Two volumes. First edition, original cloth. With H. St. John Philby’s ownership stamp on front pastedown and title pages. From the library of Robert L. Headley, a gift of Hope Headley.
From Drury Lane to Mecca. London: Sampson Low . First edition, original cloth. With H. St. John Philby’s ownership stamp on front pastedown and penciled notes in his hand in the text. From the library of Robert L. Headley, a gift of Hope Headley.
Facey, William and Gillian Grant
Saudi Arabia by the first photographers. London: Stacey International, 1996. Shown are photographs taken by Max Steinecke in 1937. Steinecke was a geologist of importance in the early days of Standard Oil and Aramco.
East is West. London: John Murray . First edition, original cloth and dust jacket. With Philby's signature (dated October, 1945) on front pastedown. From the library of Robert L. Headley, a gift of Hope Headley.
The Coast of Incense. London: John Murray . First edition, original cloth and dust jacket. Inscribed in Philby's hand on front free endpaper: "From Dora [his wife]/Xmas 1953." From the library of Robert L. Headley, a gift of Hope Headley.
Case Seven: World War Two Diplomacy
McIntosh, Clarence J.
Typed letter signed (carbon), 10 December 1942, to his family, describing the arrival of King Ibn Saud in Jidda: "After the King was settled in his Palace and the cannons had ceased booming, a messenger left a note informing us that the King would grant the representatives of the United States a ten-minute audience that same morning...The first impression one gets on seeing Ibn Saud is his large size and immediately after that you are impressed by his personality and humor." In 1942 McIntosh was appointed to the newly established American legation in Jidda, the first permanent diplomatic presence in Saudi Arabia. He served as a clerk there until receiving the rank of vice-consul and transferred to the American consulate in Dhahran in 1944. The some 120 letters from McIntosh (dating between 1942 and 1945) to his family give a rare insight into the early years of Saudi-U.S. relations. From the Clarence J. McIntosh Papers, gift of Mr. McIntosh.
McIntosh, Clarence J.
Photographic album, 1942-1945, of scenes of Saudi Arabia and the diplomatic personalities involved there. From the Clarence J. McIntosh Papers, a gift of Mr. McIntosh.
McIntosh, Clarence J.
Typed letter signed (carbon), 23 December 1943, recounting the return of Princes Faisal and Khalid from America and the welcome given them by King Ibn Saud. "I've no doubt but what the King hustled Feisal and Khalid into private audience as soon as possible to get all the dope." From the Clarence J. McIntosh Papers, a gift of Mr. McIntosh.
Curated by Nicholas B. Scheetz, Manuscripts Librarian