`Abbas Hilmi II Papers

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 33 hil[1]
  • Dates of Creation
  • Language of Material
      French ; Arabic ; Turkish ; Ottoman Turkish ; German ; Greek ; Italian ; English
  • Physical Description
      20 metres

Scope and Content

The `Abbas Hilmi II Papers consist mainly of the official and personal correspondence of the last Khedive of Egypt, from the period of his khedivate, 1892-1914 as well as his life in exile from 1914 to 1944. The official letters cover political,social and economic affairs in Egypt, the British in Egypt and, to a lesser extent, the Sudan, Egypt's relations with Britain, Turkey and the rest of Europe, the Khedive's relations with other royalty and his conflicts with the Britishadministrators. After his deposition, the papers reflect his involvement with the Egyptian nationalist movement and his continued interest in Egyptian and European affairs.

Files relating to `Abbas Hilmi II's estates, property, palaces, business interests and investments illustrate his endeavours to improve his estates and, during his exile, his attempts to recover his sequestered property. His personal filescontain letters from a wide circle of family and friends, from those in diplomatic circles, representatives of the churches, and authors. In addition to personal matters, they cover khedival patronage and his European travels.

The collection also includes negatives of photographs still in the possession of the Mohamed Ali Foundation, several albums of photographs, approximately 223 pamphlets, 2 maps, and 199 printed volumes.

Appended to the collection are copies of the letters of Ibrahim Pasha (1789-1848), eldest son of Muhammad Ali Pasha, viceroy of Egypt. The letters relate to his military campaigns in Syria in the 1830s and 1840s.

Administrative / Biographical History

`Abbas Hilmi II (1874-1944), the great-great-grandson of Muhammad `Ali, Khedive of Egypt, was born on 14th July 1874 and succeeded his father, Muhammad Tawfiq Pasha, as Khedive in 1892. The papers cover the period of `Abbas Hilmi II's Khedivate1892-1914 and extend after his deposition in December 1914 until his death on 21st December 1944 at Geneva.


The `Abbas Hilmi II papers are arranged in five sections:

  • A. Official, Political and Diplomatic
  • B. Estates, Business Interests, Finances and Property
  • C. Personal
  • D. Photographs
  • E. Objects
The collection comprises some 538 files, albums and other items. Each file consists mainly of correspondence written to `Abbas Hilmi II from one individual or a number of individuals, or on a particular subject. Within each section the filesare arranged and listed chronologically as far as possible.

The printed volumes and pamphlets that also form part of this collection are listed in the online library catalogue, with the shelf marks Abbas Hilmi and HIL/PAM.

A further section is appended, containing:

  • F. Letters of Mısırlı Ibrahim Pasha to Menlikli Ahmed Pasha, Governor of Adana, 1834-1836

Access Information

The originals of the `Abbas Hilmi II Papers are not available for consultation. Digital surrogates of the papers, including photographs not deposited, are in the process of being made available online, linked from the catalogue. Where material isnot yet accessible online then digital copies of such material will be made accessible in our Search Room at Durham to bona fide researchers who should make advance application stating the nature of their research, the use to which it will be put,and enclosing a letter of recommendation (if appropriate) from their supervisor. Before granting access, the University must be satisfied that the documents are needed as a serious and necessary source of information, and researchers must sign awritten agreement. All requests for photocopies must be approved by the Mohamed Ali Foundation.

The pamphlets have not been digitised and researchers may consult the originals of these.

Acquisition Information

Deposited on loan to the University of Durham by the Mohamed Ali Foundation, 1980. Several accessions have been deposited by the Foundation since 1980, catalogue entries for which are added at appropriate sections of the catalogue.

Other Finding Aids

Published list of the `Abbas Hilmi II Papers and list of the Ibrahim Pasha letters. Online catalogue

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Sub-Librarian, Special Collections (e-mail PG.Library@durham.ac.uk) and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. The Library will assistwhere possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

The Mohamed Ali Foundation offers an anual prize scheme for theses making substantial use of material in the collection.

Related Material

Letters between `Abbas Hilmi II and General Sir Reginald Wingate, Governor-General of the Sudan, written during the khedivate, are available in the Wingate Papers in the Sudan Archive.


The last Khedive of Egypt: memoirs of Abbas Hilmi II translated and edited by Sonbol, A. (Reading: Ithaca, 1997)

Additional Information

The originals of the Ibrahim Pasha letters are held in Damascus.