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Robert Bertram Serjeant

Islam and the Yemen.

Robert Serjeant (1915-1993) was educated at the University of Edinburgh, where he graduated with an MA in Semitic Languages, and at Trinity College Cambridge, where he gained his PhD in 1936. He was the Tweedie Fellow at the University of Edinburgh in 1939; during his fellowship he catalogued the Oriental manuscripts in New College Library, publishing his 'Handlist of the Arabic, Persian and Hindustani MSS of New College, Edinburgh' (London, 1942), before moving to the School of Oriental and African Studies to engage in research on South Arabia. He saw war service in Aden before returning to England to teach at SOAS. He moved to the Middle East Centre, University of Cambridge in 1964, eventually retiring as Director, and as Professor of Arabic, in 1982. He was a prolific author and editor of publications on a wide range of Middle Eastern subjects.

In 1995 Mrs Marion Serjeant gifted his library of some 5,000 volumes on Islam and the Yemen, together with his manuscripts, to the University. Most of the book collection is kept together as a specialist collection; it is catalogued online and available on open access. It complements and is located beside other Middle Eastern collections such as the Watt and Smith collections.

There are also 11 boxes of manuscript material, mostly received in 2005, containing notebooks, typescripts and copies of Arabic documents.