1981 - Professor Robert Bertram Serjeant

Scope and Content

Correspondence and a newspaper cutting concerned with the conferment of the Burton Memorial Award on Robert Bertram Serjeant.

Administrative / Biographical History

Robert Bertram Serjeant was born and raised in Edinburgh studying at Edinburgh University before completing his PhD at Trinity College, Cambridge, on Islamic textiles under the supervision of Professor C.A. Storey. He won a scholarship to work at SOAS with Professor A. S. Tritton. In 1940, while working in Aden, he was commissioned into the Aden Government Guards, spending his time in the Subayhi country of southern Arabia. He returned to the UK in 1941, where he edited the "Arabic Listener" at the BBC.
When the war ended, he restarted his academic career at SOAS, and in 1947 went to research the language and society of the Hadhramawt region in Arabia. In 1955, he became the chair of Modern Arabic at SOAS. In 1964, he returned to Cambridge where he was appointed Lecturer in Islamic History. He was also director of the Middle East Centre at Pembroke College, Cambridge, remaining in this post until his retirement in 1981. On retirement he returned to Scotland. His books and papers were donated to Edinburgh University by his widow.


Two sub-series were created for correspondence and printed material.

Related Material

The Minutes of the Council Meeting may provide additional details of the award to Professor Serjeant. The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 1982, p.236 records the presentation of the Burton Memorial Medal to Professor R.B. Serjeant as part of the Anniversary Report.