Papers of Sir Arnold Talbot Wilson

Scope and Content

"Bibliography of Persia", Small notebook containing correspondence and newspaper cuttings regarding the publication of "A Bibliography of Persia" by Arnold Wilson in 1930. The items within this notebook are:

  • Letter from Arnold Wilson to the Librarian, Royal Asiatic Society, to donate the notebook to the Library, dated 11 September 1938
  • Review of Wilson's "A Bibliography of Persia", by Wolseley Haig from Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Jan 1935, p.195
  • Newspaper cutting from The Times for a review of "A Bibliography of Persia", dated 11 September 1930
  • Cutting from Nature for a review of "A Bibliography of Persia", dated 4 October 1930
  • Review for "A Bibliography of Persia" from the Journal of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, September 1930
  • Review for "A Bibliography of Persia" from the Geographical Journal, dated September 1930
  • Review for "A Bibliography of Persia" from the Journal of the Central Asian Society, dated September 1930
  • Newspaper cutting from Near East and India with a review for "A Bibliography of Persia", dated 24 July 1930
  • Letter from [H B Hzalso Erds] to Wilson to thank him for sending a copy of "A Bibliography of Persia", dated 7 August 1930
  • Letter from H.R. Hall to Wilson to send his apologies for not being able to the attend the Mesopotamian Force dinner and to thank him for sending a copy of "A Bibliography of Persia", dated 28 June 1930
  • Newspaper cutting from The Times with a review for "A Bibliography of Persia", dated 27 June 1930
  • Letter from Hamilton Gibb to Wilson to thank him for sending a copy of "A Bibliography of Persia", dated 23 June 1930
  • Letter from David Lorimer to thank him for sending a copy of "A Bibliography of Persia" and to give his opinion on the book, dated 26 June 1930
  • Letter from Vladimir Minorsky to Wilson to thank him for sending a copy of "A Bibliography of Persia" and to congratulate him on its publication, dated 20 June 1930
  • Postcard from W. [Northold] to Wilson to acknowledge, with thanks, receipt of a copy of "A Bibliography of Persia", dated 15 August 1930
  • Letter from Henry W. Mardon to Wilson to thank him for a copy of "A Bibliography of Persia", dated 16 June 1930
  • Letter from D.S. Margoliouth to Wilson to thank him for a copy of "A Bibliography of Persia", dated 14 June 1930
  • Newspaper cutting from The Times with a review for "A Bibliography of Persia", dated 11 September 1930
  • Review for Wilson's "A Bibliography of Persia" by Hamilton A.R. Gibb, un-named and undated publication
  • Letter to Wilson to thank him for a copy of "A Bibliography of Persia" and to enclose lists of references that might also be included in a future copy. The signature of the writer is illegible. The 2 sheets are pasted into the notebook on previous pages to the letter
  • Letter from [E Ekunter] to Wilson concerning an entry in "A Bibliography of Persia", dated 27 November 1930
  • Copy of a letter from Mirza Mohammed Khan Nabavi, the Persian Chargé d'Affaires to thank him for a copy of "A Bibliography of Persia", dated 28 July 1930
  • Letter from [Namey] to Wilson to thank him for a copy of "A Bibliography of Persia", dated 26 July 1930
This notebook is in poor condition and has evidence of previous mould problem. Therefore care must be taken in handling it.

Administrative / Biographical History

Arnold Talbot Wilson was born in 1884 and educated at Clifton College. He started his military career in 1903 and went to serve in India. From there he was posted to Iran. In 1907, Wilson was transferred to the Indian Political Department and sent to the Persian Gulf, where he served as a political officer. Wilson oversaw the discovery of the first oil site in the Middle East, Masjid-i-Suleiman, in 1908. He became Consul-General of Muhammerah (1909–11) and was put in charge of the Turko-Persian Frontier Commission. In January 1915 as the British were moving troops from India into Mesopotamia through the Persian Gulf and Basra, Wilson was designated as the assistant, and then deputy, to Sir Percy Cox, the British Political Officer for the region. Based in Baghdad, he then became the acting Civil Commissioner for Mesopotamia. He continued to serve in this role until 1920. He retired from service in 1921.

In 1933, Wilson was elected in a by-election as the Conservative MP for Hitchin. However, in October 1939 after the outbreak of the war, he joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, serving as a pilot officer (air gunner) in 37 Squadron of RAF Bomber Command. Still an MP, he was killed in northern France, near Dunkirk, on 31 May 1940 when his bomber aircraft crashed. He is buried at Eringhem churchyard, half-way between Dunkirk and Saint-Omer.

Conditions Governing Access

Open. Please contact the archivist. nc@royalasiaticsociety.org The archive is open on Tuesdays and Fridays 10-5, and Thursdays 2-5. Access is to any researcher without appointment but it will help if an appointment is made via phone or email. Please bring photo ID

Acquisition Information

Sir Arnold Wilson presented the book on 11 September 1938. It receipt was acknowledged on 12 November 1938.

Archivist's Note

This material was catalogued by Nancy Charley, RAS Archivist, in 2019.

Conditions Governing Use

Digital photography (without flash) for research purposes may be permitted upon completion of a copyright declaration form, and with respect to current UK copyright law.

Custodial History

The notebook was compiled by Sir Arnold Wilson and presented to the Royal Asiatic Society on 11 September 1938. In a letter affixed to the book, Wilson writes that it is for the RAS Library so that it may perhaps be of purpose if an attempt is made to update his Persian Bibliography.

Related Material

We have several of Wilson's published books within our Library Collections. Details can be found on our Library Catalogue.

Wilson was a recipient of the Royal Asiatic Society's Burton Memorial Medal in 1937. The catalogue for these records is also available on the Archives Hub.

Geographical Names