Arthur Arberry: Correspondence and papers

Scope and Content

The largest part of the collection is comprised of correspondence, including photocopies, and notes. There is also a scrapbook of oriental newscuttings, reproductions of oriental manuscripts and typescripts of works by other writers. The collection includes two catalogues relating to A. Chester Beatty: of English and Arabic manuscripts (box 2); and of Arabic rare texts (box 3).

Administrative / Biographical History

Arthur John Arberry (1905-1969), orientalist, was born at Buckland, Portsmouth, on 12 May 1905. He attended Portsmouth Grammar School, and entered Pembroke College, Cambridge, in 1924, where he studied classics and oriental languages. He was head of the Classics Department, Cairo University, 1932-1934, and assistant librarian, India Office, London, 1934-1939. He worked in the Ministry of Information, 1939-1944, and thereafter became Professor of Persian (1944) and of Arabic (1946) at London University. In 1947 he was appointed Professor of Arabic at Cambridge University. Arberry published over sixty works, as well as a translation of the Koran (1935). He died in Cambridge on 2 October 1969.

Access Information

Open for consultation by holders of a Reader's Ticket valid for the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Acquisition Information

Purchased with the library of Professor A.J. Arberry, 1970.

Other Finding Aids


Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Robert Steiner, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives. The biographical history was compiled with reference to the entry on Arthur Arberry in E.T. Williams and C.S. Nicholls, eds, Dictionary of national biography, 1961-1970 (Oxford University Press, 1981), pp. 35-36.