Holt Collection of the Mahdi

Scope and Content

Research papers of Professor Peter Malcolm Holt on the Mahdi and Islamic eschatology, includes notes, facsimiles and microfilms of Arabic manuscripts.

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'.

Access Information

Due to conservation issues, seek Archivist permission prior to ordering microfilm.

Restrictions Apply

Acquisition Information

Donated in 1977 and 1987. Two further items added in 2009.

Other Finding Aids

Unpublished handlist

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Some microfilm requires conservation prior to access.