1938 – Professor R.A. Nicholson

Scope and Content

This series contains correspondence regarding the making and purchase of the Medal, correspondence regarding the Presentation of the Medal, and two press cuttings.

Administrative / Biographical History

Reynold Alleyne Nicholson was born in Yorkshire in 1868. He was educated at Aberdeen and Cambridge Universities before becoming Professor of Persian at University College, London, from 1901-1902. He then became lecturer in Persian at the University of Cambridge from 1902 to 1926, and Sir Thomas Adams's Professor of Arabic at the University of Cambridge from 1926 to 1933. He was a scholar in Islamic literature and Islamic mysticism. He he studied and translated major Sufi texts in Arabic, Persian, and Ottoman Turkish to English. Nicholson wrote two influential books: Literary History of The Arabs (1907) and The Mystics of Islam (1914).


The material was divided into sub-series thus:

  • RAS TGM/15/1 - Correspondence regarding making and purchase of the Medal
  • RAS TGM/15/2 - Correspondence regarding Presentation of the Medal
  • RAS TGM/15/3 - Press Cuttings

Related Material

In the Council Minutes for 9th December 1937, it was noted that owing to the President's illness, Professor Margoliouth, Director of the Society, should take the necessary action concerning the award of the Gold Medal in 1938. In the Minutes for 10th February 1938, it was noted that the Committee appointed by Professor Margoliouth of Sir E. Denison Ross, Sir George Grierson and Mr A.J. Arberry, was approved. And in the Minutes for 10 March 1938, it was approved that the Medal should be given to Professor R.A. Nicholson.

In the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 1938 (3), p. 470, it was reported that the Gold Medal was presented to Professor R.A. Nicholson, for his outstanding services to Islamic literature, by Sir E. Denison Ross, preceding the Society's Anniversary General Meeting.