SPECIAL COLLECTIONS HOME PAGE
GO TO FOLDER LISTING
GO TO INDEX

H. ST. J. B. PHILBY COLLECTION

Harry St. John Bridger Philby (1885-1960), explorer and Arabist, graduated from Westminster and Oxford before joining the Indian Civil Service in 1907. As a talented linguist he was assigned as assistant political officer to the Mesopotamia Expeditionary Force in Basra and Bagdad from 1915 to 1917. Philby met Abdul Aziz ibn Saud when on a mission to Riyadh in 1917. Upon completion of the mission Philby made the first east-west sea to sea crossing of Arabia with ibn Saud's escorts. His subsequent crossing of the Rub' al-Khali in 1932 formed the material for The Empty Quarter, of which 74 pages are contained in this collection.

In 1925 Philby resigned from the Indian Civil service and spent the duration of the next 30 years in Arabia as unofficial advisor to King ibn Saud. He set up a business, Sharquieh Ltd., in Jedda. Philby spent much time exploring Arabia with the support of the king. A talented cartographer, botanist and archeologist, his numerous publications contributed significantly to the English speaking world's understanding of the geography, history and people of Arabia. In 1930, the same year he converted to Islam, his modern history (1703-1924) of the Wahabi movement and empires, Arabia, was published. Exiled by the new king, Saud ibn Abdul Aziz, in 1955 due to his sharp criticism of ruling policy, he moved to Beirut for the last 5 years of his life, completing his memoirs. In addition to the Arabia and The Empty Quarter materials, this collection contains two annotated carbon manuscripts of The Background of Islam: Being a Sketch of Arabian History in pre-Islamic Times.

For further biographical information, consult the Dictionary of National Biography (1951-1960), Elizabeth Monroe's Philby of Arabia (1973) and Anthony Cave Brown's Treason in the Blood: H. St. John Philby, Kim Philby and the Spy Case of the Century (1994).

ACCESSION DATA:

Provenance: Gift of Harlene C. Morrow

Status: Open

Processed by: Jodie Roussell, January 2003

BULK DATES: 1928 - 1933
SPAN DATES: 1925 - 1947

EXTENT: 2 boxes

SERIES


SERIES: 1. philby


SERIES: 2. The Background of Islam


SERIES DESCRIPTION: Two typed carbon manuscripts of The Background of Islam: Being a Sketch of Arabian history in pre-Islamic Times.

GO TO FOLDER LISTING
GO TO INDEX SPECIAL COLLECTIONS HOME PAGE