Holt, Peter Malcolm (Holt Collection of the Mahdi)

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The collection chiefly comprises notes, facsimiles and microfilms of manuscripts relating to Muhammed Ahmad ibn 'Abd Allah, the Mahdi (1848-1885), collected by Professor Peter Malcolm Holt. The papers relate to his major works The Mahdist State in the Sudan 1881-1898, and The Cambridge History of Islam.

Administrative / Biographical History

Peter Malcolm Holt was born on 28 November 1918. He was educated at Lord William's Grammar School and later at Oxford University, where he obtained Master of Arts and D. Litt degrees. He joined the Sudan Civil Service, Ministry of Education in 1941, where he served until 1953. He was appointed Government Archivist from 1954-1955. In 1955 he returned to the United Kingdom and joined the School of Oriental and African Studies. In 1964 he was made Professor of Arabic History. From 1975-1982 he was Professor of History of the Near and Middle East at the University of London. In 1980 the Republic of Sudan awarded him the Gold Medal of Science, Letters and Art.

His publications include The Mahdist State in the Sudan 1881- 1898 (1958); The Modern History of Sudan (1961); Historians of the Middle East (co-ed. with B. Lewis, 1962); Political and Social Change in Modern Egypt (1968); The Cambridge History of Islam (co-ed. with A. K. S. Lambton & B. Lewis, 1970), and Studies in the History of the Near East (1973).


The papers have been arranged in the following sections: notes, photocopies and microfilms of manuscript material relating to the Mahdi and Sudan; photocopies of Arabic manuscripts; microfilms; maps, and correspondence relating to The Cambridge History of Islam.

Conditions Governing Access


Acquisition Information

Donated in 1977 and 1987

Other Finding Aids

Unpublished handlist

Conditions Governing Use

No publication without written permission. Apply to archivist in the first instance

Geographical Names