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Detail from a page in the Farnsworth Hours; illumination attributed to Flemish artist Willem Vrelant, ca. 1465, Booth Family Center for Special Collections

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Travelers to Arabia from Pitts to Philby

Howard W. Gunlocke Rare Book and Special Collections Room
November 1, 1999
January 14, 2000

Case One: Early Travelers

Pitts, Joseph

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.

Niebuhr, Carsten

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, Carolo; 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.”

Blunt, Anne

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

Bell, Gertrude

The Arab War. [London] Golden Cockerel Press [1940] #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” [1916].

Bell, Gertrude

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.

Bertram, Thomas

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.

Rutter, Eldon

The Holy Cities of Arabia. London and New York: Putnam [1928]. 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.

Rosenthal, Eric

From Drury Lane to Mecca. London: Sampson Low [1931]. 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.

Stark, Freya

East is West. London: John Murray [1945]. 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.

Stark, Freya

The Coast of Incense. London: John Murray [1953]. 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 Five: H. St. John Philby

Philby, H. St. John

Southern Nejd. Cairo: Government Press, 1919. First edition, original cloth. "Printed and issued by the Arab Bureau, Cairo,for official use only" on title page. One of 100 copies printed. With Philby's ownership stamp on front and rear pastedowns. No copy recorded in the OCLC database, no copy recorded in NUC. From the library of Robert L. Headley, a gift of Hope Headley.

Philby (1885-1960), explorer, Arabist, cartographer and naturalist, attended Westminster and Oxford before joining the Indian Civil Service. In 1915 he was transferred to the Gulf region and in 1917, as part of a Brtiish mission to Riyadh, Philby first met Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud, to whom he would become loyally devoted. At the conclusion of the mission Philby left for Jedda, achieving in 44 days the first east-west crossing of Arabia from sea to sea. In 1924 he resigned from the Indian Civil Service and became an unofficial counsellor to the king. A great portion of his time was devoted to exploration and writing. His numerous books give detailed and valuable accounts of his many journeys and it is in large measure due to him that so much became known about Central Arabia. His son, the British spy Kim Philby, called him "the greatest explorer of them all."

Philby, J. St. John

Arabia of the Wahhabis. London: Constable, 1928. First edition, original cloth. With Philby's ownership stamp on front and rear pastedowns, his signature (dated Jiddah, November 19, 1928) on front pastedown, and with the publisher's slip noting this as a complimentary copy. From the library of Robert L. Headley, a gift of Hope Headley.

Philby, H. St. John

Arabia. London: Ernest Benn, 1930. FIrst edition, original cloth. With Philby's ownership stamp on front pastedown. From the library of Robert L. Headley, a gift of Hope Headley.

Philby, H. St. John

Rub' al Khali. [London] Royal Central Asian Society [1932]. First separate edition, original paper wrappers. Reprinted from the Journal of the Royal Central Asian Society, vol. 19, October, 1932. Inscribed "For Pattie / H. St. J. Philby / 18/10/32." No copy recorded in the OCLC database, no copy recorded in NUC. From the library of Robert L. Headley, a gift of Hope Headley.

Philby, H. St. John

The Empty Quarter. London: Constable, 1933. First edition, original cloth. With Philby's ownership stamp on front pastedown. From the library of Robert L. Headley, a gift of Hope Headley.

Philby, H. St. John

The Empty Quarter. London, Constable, 1933. Bound galley proofs heavily corrected by Philby. From the William E. Mulligan Papers.

A Pilgrim in Arabia

[London] Golden Cockerel Press [1943]. First edition, original half morocco and cloth boards. Copy #336 of 350. With a printed dedication "to my frined Sir Granville Bantock." From the library of Robert L. Headley, a gift of Hope Headley.

Kay, Henry Cassels, trans.

Yaman: Its Early Medieval History. London: Edward Arnold, 1892. First edition, original cloth. With Philby's ownership stamp on front pastedown, and a presentation inscription to him from his friend Granville Bantock. Pencil notes throughout in Philby's hand, principally coverting Arabic dates to the Christian alternatives. From the library of Robert L. Headley, a gift of Hope Headley.

Philby, H. St. John

Arabian Days: an Autobiography. London: Robert Hale, 1948. First edition, original cloth. From the library of Robert L. Headley, a gift of Hope Headley.

Philby, H. St. John

The Background of Islam. Alexandria: Whitehead Morris Egypt, 1947. First edition, original cloth and boards. Unnumbered copy from the limited edition of 500. With Philby's signature (dated July, 1947) on front free endpaper. From the library of Robert L. Headley, a gift of Hope Headley.

Philby, H. St. John

Typed letter signed, 7 October 1953, to William E. Mulligan discussing corrigenda for the next edition of his Arabian Highlands. Bill Mulligan had a long and important career in government relations and the Arabian Affairs Division of Aramco (Arabian American Oil Company). Born in 1918, Mulligan spent much of World War II in a U.S. Air Force communications squadron based in the British crown colony at Aden. At the end of the war he joined Aramco, which sent him to study under the famed Arabist and Islamicist, Dr. Edwin Calverley, at Hartford Seminary Foundation in Connecticut. He later joined Aramco's government relations in Saudi Arabia, working closely with George Rentz, Aramco's principal Arabist. (Philby makes reference to Rentz in the closing of this letter.) Mulligan's extensive archives in the Special Collections Division constitute an important source for the history of Aramco and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Brown, Anthony Cave

Treason in the Blood: H. St. John Philby, Kim Philby, and the Spy Case of the Century. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1994. First edition. This work tells the extraordinary story of both father and son, recounting H. St. John Philby's role in the United States acquisition of the Saudi oil concession.

Case Six: Americans and ARAMCO

Musil, Alois

The Northern Hegaz: a Topographical Itinerary. New York [i.e., Prague] 1926. First edition, original cloth. No. 1 of the Oriental Exploration and Studies series of the American Geographical Society. Together with: nos. 2-6 of the same series, all authored by Musil, and with a cased portfolio of folding maps. 1927-1928. OCLC records only five complete sets in reporting libraries. With the bookplate of Gary Owen, a gift from Jennifer Owen Murphy.

Published under the patronage of the Czech Academy of Sciences and Arts, and Charles R. Crane. Crane, a noted traveler, philanthropist, and a member of the King-Crane Commission of 1919, had visited Jidda in 1926. He had tried to see the Saudi king that year, and in 1928, but it wasn't until 1931 he received a royal invitation through the agency of H. St. John Philby. At this important meeting it was agreed that Karl S. Twitchell, a mining engineer under contract to Crane, would visit Saudi Arabia. It was Twitchell who interested the Standard Oil Company in oil exploration in the kingdom, leading to the subsequent founding of the Arabian American Oil Company (Aramco). At the Georgetown University Library are the papers of Crane's son, Richard T. Crane, with considerable material about the remarkable Charles R. Crane.

Crane, Charles R.

Autograph letter signed. 17 February 1927, to his son Richard T. Crane about his travels in Arabia Felix: "Just as we were about to leave Sana'a Johnson came down with a sharp attack of malaria...I had to be very sharp with him because I knew how dangerous malaria was up there. In 1763 the whole Niebuhr expedition died of it, excepting Niebuhr himself.

After three days the doctor thought we could proceed, so we started the long hike toward Aden. It was a wonderful and beautiful journey and I am glad I ventured it. I was the first American to make it and only two or three other Europeans have gone across. The scenery was almost equal to the Grand Canyon in places, especially between Yerem and Ibb..." From the Richard T. Crane papers, a gift of Bruce Crane Fisher.

The Saudi Arab Government and Arabian American Oil Company: Basic Agreements and Selected Documents Pertaining Thereto

Printed facsimiles of important documents, done perhaps in 1952, relating to the history of Aramco. Shown is the first page of the Saudi Arab Concession of 29 May 1933. From the library of Robert Headley, a gift of Hope Headley.

Barger, Thomas C.

Out in the Blue: Letters from Arabia 1937-1940. A typescript of unpublished letters written from Saudi Arabia by Barger to his wife Kathleen back in the States. In a letter of 15 December 1937, he describes the staff in Jebal Dhahran: "Floyd Ohliger is superintendent of the Arabian operations. Harry Rector is his assistant and Max Steineke is my immediate boss; they are all good eggs. The camp itself is fine. There are about sixty men here, drillers, geologists, mechanics, engineers, a lot of Indian clerks and a young army of Arabs. The food is fine, there is plenty of fresh vegetables, ice, and distilled drinking water. As a geologist, I will spend most of my time out in the blue." In 1960 Barger would become President of Aramco. A gift of Tim Barger.

Photograph, 1930s

With the identifying caption of William E. Mulligan: "an exploration vehicle crossing a sabkhah (salt flat) in Aramco's pioneering days." From the William E. Mulligan Papers.

Photograph, 1930s

The above Aramco "exploration vehicle" is pictured with the Aramco driver, on extreme left, consulting with the local population. From the William E. Mulligan Papers.

Photograph, circa 1939

Left to right: Clark Gester, Chief Geologist; Floyd Ohliger, Resident Manager; Ajab Khan, Interpreter for Aramco, Yusuf Yasim, Advisor to the king, King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud; Harry Rector, Assistant Resident Manager; Max Steineke, Chief Geologist (who discovered in Saudi Arabia the largest oil field in the world); and A. S. Russell. From the William E. Mulligan Papers.

 

Arnold, Jose

Typed manuscript signed, "December Report of His Majesty's Culinary Operations in Riyadh (1955)." Arnold was an Aramco employee, a Swiss-American dining hall superintendent, who was faced one day in 1954 with an unexpected visit by King Saud and 24 guests in the deep desert. The King was so impressed with Arnold's impromptu chicken cacciatore that he became the supervisor of the food arrangements for the King's ten palaces. For five years he was in Saud's service and accompanied him on all his travels in the kingdom. He wrote in 1963 a memoir of his experience, Golden Swords and Pots and Pans. There is a large file of Arnold's very amusing reports and letters in the William E. Mulligan Papers.

Mulligan, William E.

Autograph manuscript, 1960-1961. Between 1956 and 1978 Mulligan kept diary accounts of his life in Saudi Arabia, documenting the working life of a government relations Aramco employee. Showin is a typical passage. From the William E. Mulligan Papers.

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.

Case Eight: Ambassadors, A King and a President

U.S. Army Signal Corps

Photograph, February 1945, of two of King Abn Saud's personal bodyguards aboard the U.S. cruiser Quincy dressed in intricately brocaded jackets. From the William E. Mulligan Papers.

Hopkins, Robert

Color photograph, February 1945, of King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud and President Franklin D. Roosevelt aboard the U.S. cruiser Quincy on the Great Bitter Lake of the Suez Canal. Colonel William A. Eddy, then American Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, wears his World War Two uniform to resolve a diplomatic intricacy and translates alone for the two leaders. From the Harry L. Hopkins Papers, a gift of Robert Hopkins and June Hopkins.

Richie, Robert

Photograph of King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud, circa 1950. From the Robert L. Headley Papers, a gift of Hope Headley.

Eddy, William A.

Typed letter signed, 16 June 1961, to Parker T. Hart, congratulating him on his appointment as American Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and recounting earlier times there together during World War Two, mentioning in part James S. Moose, Jr., once Minister Resident and Consul. Eddy had been Ambassador from September 1944 to May 1946. From the Ambassador Parker T. Hart Papers, a gift of Jane Hart.

Eddy, William A.

Autograph letter signed, 18 February 1962, to Parker T. and Jane Hart, written from Dhahran saying he values the Harts' friendship very highly and is sorry he won't have the chance to see them. "Perhaps it is lucky for you our trip was cancelled. Last time we were under your roof, in Damascus, July 15, 1958, there was a revulation and a blood bath!" One of the great Arab hands at the State Department writing to another. Ambassador Eddy died later that year. From the Ambassador Parker T. Hart Papers, a gift of Jane Hart.

Ziegler, Nancy, ed.

Foreign Affairs Oral History Program:  Saudi Arabia Country Collection. Arlington: Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training, 1997. The Special Collections Division contains the archives of the Foreign Affairs Oral History Program with transcripts of over 700 interviews with leading American diplomats. This "country collection" focuses on those interviews dealing with postings in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Among the histories are those of such Arab hands as Parker T. Hart, Dayton Mak, Raymond Hare, and Herman Eilts, among others.

Case Nine: Parker T. Hart

Johnson, Lyndon B.

Typed letter signed, 24 November 1961, to Parker T. Hart. The Vice President thanks the Ambassador for news of a friend's "successful mission to Mecca." From the Ambassador Parker T. Hart Papers, a gift of Jane Hart.

Photographs of Ambassador Hart, 16 February 1964

Photographs, 16 February 1964, of Ambassador Hart in the middle of a local Arab delegation to see the visitors off from Medayin Saleh. Hart and friends flew in to look at archaeological sites in the vicinity. From the Ambassador Parker T. Hart Papers, a gift of Jane Hart.

Camel Bags

Two Saudi Arabian woven camel bags, circa 1950. On loan from Hope Headley.

Barger, Thomas C.

Typed letter signed, 16 June 1965, to Parker T. Hart. Barger, one of the greatest presidents of Aramco, writes on the occasion of Hart's departure as American Ambassador in Jiddah. He also makes mention that his son, Mike, "is due back day after tomorrow after his first year at Georgetown." From the Ambassador Parker T. Hart Papers, a gift of Jane Hart.

Hart, Parker T.

Transcript of an oral history, 27 January 1989, conducted by William R. Crawford for the Foreign Affairs Oral History Program, Georgetown University Library. Parker T. Hart (1910-1997) had an important diplomatic career. A wonderful linguist, he had been Ambassador to Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Kuwait, Turkey, and finally was appointed Assistant Secretary of State for Near East and South Asian Affairs. On the right hand page exhibited, he refers to his friendship with the legendary geologist in Saudi Arabia, Glen F. Brown of the U.S. Geological Survey. From the archives of the Foreign Affairs Oral History Program.

Acknowledgments: 

Curated by Nicholas B. Scheetz, Manuscripts Librarian