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Albertus Paulus Hermanus Hotz archive and collection

Identifier: ubl063

Scope and Contents

The private collection of a well-educated and well-travelled entrepreneur with mainly Middle Eastern business interests. Hotz, who knew no Oriental languages, collected Oriental literature in translation and works on Oriental art and history. His collection of travelogues and itineraries of European travellers from the mid-17th until the first quarter of the 20th century deserves special mention. In addition to this, Hotz possessed an average collection of European belles lettres, history and religion. The photographs are partly of his own making, the remainder hailing from the studios of professional photographers in the Middle East such as Bonfils, Sevruguin, Sébah and Berggren.

Printed books

The printed books in the Hotz collection are described in the Catalogus A. Hotz (Leiden 1935-1936).


The Hotz collection contains twenty-three albums and portfolios with c. 1,300 photographs. About half of these photographs were made by A.P.H. Hotz himself during his voyage to Persia and the Caucasus in 1890-1891. Others were acquired from local European or Armenian commercial photographers. The contents of the albums are as follows:

  1. Hotz Albums 1-10: 657 platinotypes made by Hotz during his travels in Iran and the Caucasus (1890-1891), developed and printed by John Thompson, London.
  2. Hotz Albums 11-12: 141 photos by Ernst Hoeltzer, a German photographer in Isfahan.
  3. Hotz Albums 13, 15-16: 176 photos by Antoin Sevruguin, a photographer based in Tehran.
  4. Hotz Album 14: 41 photographs by Hotz.
  5. Hotz Albums 17-20: 97 photos of the Middle East by Sébah, Bonfils, Lind, Sarrafian and others; also 76 photos of Western Europe and Russia and twelve photos of the Netherlands East Indies (Indonesia).
  6. Hotz Album 21: 67 albumen prints of Istanbul and surroundings and Bursa by the Swedish photographer Guillaume (Per Wilhelm) Berggren (1835-1920).
  7. Hotz Album 22-23: two identical albums with photographs of Japan by Felice Beato (c.1825-c. 1886), c.1870.
  8. Hotz Album 24: Views & Costumes of Japan: large, partly hand-coloured photographs by Raimund von Stillfried (1839-1911) and Herman Andersen (1875 fl.), published Yokohama, c.1880.
  9. Hotz Album 25: Views & Costumes of Japan: small, partly hand-coloured photographs, possibly by Stillfried & Andersen, but not identical with Hotz Album 24.
  10. Collection Prints & Drawings, PK-F-73.151: 37 platinotypes by John Thompson (1837-1921) of photographs of Iran originally taken by Albert Hotz, with dedication: Aangeboden ter gedachtenis aan mijne reis in 1891 (Offered as a souvenir of my journey in 1891).
  11. Collection Prints & Drawings, PK-F-73.152: c.100 photographs of Iran by Ernst Hoeltzer (1835-1911).

Archival materials

The Hotz collection contains 94 boxes with maps, brochures, offprints and newspaper cuttings, mostly on the history, language and economy of Iran and other Middle-Eastern countries. Several manuscripts acquired by Hotz are now kept as part of the Western Manuscripts: BPL 2365, 2637, 2639, 2699, 2701, 2751, 2780; two letters have been added to BPL 885, four letters to BPL 1886. The diaries of Hotz covering 1913, 1915-1917, 1919, en 1925 (kept under shelfmark BPL 2736-2741) were bought from Antiquariaat Max Israel, Amsterdam.


  • Creation: 1650-1930
  • Creation: Bulk 1850-1930

Language of Materials

Multiple Western European languages

Conditions Governing Use

In general, photographs are fragile and their use may be restricted at the discretion of the Special Collections Department.

Regulations that apply during the use of these materials can be found on the website of Leiden University Library.

Biographical / Historical

Albertus P.H. Hotz was born in Rotterdam in 1855. At the age of 19 he went to Iran to engage in commercial activities like oil prospecting, coal mining, banking and the carpet-weaving industry. In 1884 he moved the seat of his company to London. In 1895 his business failed, but he remained in London until 1902, when his political stance in the Boer War forced him to leave. In 1909 Hotz accepted the post of consul of the Netherlands in Beirut, which he held intermittently until his retirement in 1921. He died in Cologny, Switzerland, in 1930. For further information consult the biography by Engelberts (1995, English version 2000).


5397 books; Photographs: c. 1,300; Archival materials: 94 boxes (Books: 227 metres; Photographs: 6 metres; Archival materials: 9 metres)

Abstract in Dutch

Collectie van gedrukte boeken, foto’s en archivalia van A.P.H. Hotz (1855-1930), Nederlands zakenman in Iran, later consul in Beiroet. Naast een gemiddelde collectie op het gebied van de Westerse literatuur bevat de collectie voornamelijk gedrukte werken op het gebied van de Midden-Oostenstudies met de nadruk op reisliteratuur, geschiedenis en geografie. Het fotografisch materiaal betreft voornamelijk Iran. De collectie werd in 1935 geschonken door Hotz’ weduwe, Lucy Helen Woods.

Abstract in English

Collection of printed books, photographs and archival materials of A.P.H. Hotz (1855-1930), Dutch businessman in Iran, afterwards consul in Beirut. Apart from an average collection of Western literature, the collection comprises mainly printed books on Middle East studies with an emphasis on travel literature, history and geography. The photographic material is predominantly from Iran. The collection was donated in 1935 by Hotz's widow Lucy Helen Woods.

Physical Location

Leiden University Library, Special Collections

Custodial History

Leiden University Library received A.P.H. Hotz’s private library as it was at the moment of his death in 1930. Five years previously, in 1925, Hotz had donated part of his private collection, consisting mainly of atlases and other geographical works, to the Royal Geographical Society of London, of which he was a fellow.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Hotz collection was donated to the Leiden University Library in 1935 by his widow Lucy Helen Woods (1875-1954), the daughter of Sir Henry Woods Pasha, an officer in the Imperial Ottoman Navy. The couple married in Istanbul in 1893.


No future additions are to be expected

Related Materials

Some letters sent or received by Hotz are now part of the Western Manuscripts collection of Leiden University Library (BPL 1886, 2398, 2404), accessible through the online catalogue.

Separated Materials

Part of the private collection of Albertus Hotz is preserved in the collections and archives of the Royal Geographical Society, London.

A.P.H. Hotz’s private papers are currently kept by his grandson Charles A. Haccius, Barrister-at-Law, Dublin (Ireland).

Photographs made or ordered by Hotz can be found in the following public collections:

Wereldmuseum, Rotterdam; National Museum of Ethnography, Leiden; Royal Institute for the Tropics (KIT), Amsterdam; Edinburgh University Library.


  • Catalogus A. Hotz. 2 vols. Leiden 1935-36. Vol. 1, Uitheemsche landen, in het bijzonder Perzië en het Oosten. Aardrijkskunde, Geschiedenis, Letterkunde, Kunst. Leiden 1935. Vol 2, Tweede (laatste) gedeelte. Leiden 1936. (Bibliotheca Academiae Lugduno-Batavae. Catalogus, 27, 34)
  • Engelberts, Th.H.E., Een Pers uit een vreemd land. Den Haag 1995. [Biography]
  • Engelberts, Th. H.E. A Persian from a distant land. The Hague 2000.
  • Vuurman, C. & Th. Martens, Perzië en Hotz. Beelden uit de fotocollectie-Hotz in de Leidse Universiteitsbibliotheek. Leiden 1995. (Kleine publicaties van de Leidse Universiteitsbibliotheek, 19). [Exhibition catalogue].
  • Witkam, J.J., Albert Hotz and his photographs of Iran. An introduction to the Leiden Collection, in K. Eslami, Iran and Iranian Studies. Essays in Honor of Iraj Afshar. Princeton 1998, pp. 267-287


The printed books can be found and requested in the online catalogue by searching on shelfmark HOTZ?.

The photographs and archival matierials can be requested via the online catalogue, tab Special Collections, Request materials in the Reading Room. All material can be consulted in the Special Collections Reading Room.

Processing Information

The printed books were first described in a 2-volume printed catalogue, Catalogus A. Hotz, published 1935-36. This collection is now searchable in the online catalogue of Leiden University Library by searching on shelfmark HOTZ?.

The photographs were originally shelved with the printed books. Between 1990-2006 they were gradually traced and removed to the Special Collections stacks.

The photographs were the object of an exhibition at the Leiden University Library in 1995 (exhibition catalogue by Vuurman & Martens, 1995).

In the early 1990s a provisional DOS database of the Hotz photographs was prepared by trainees Dorothée Tutuarima and Guido van Dongen. It is at present inaccessible.

The archival materials are mostly unexplored and no inventory is available.

Collection guide of the Albertus Paulus Hermanus Hotz archive and collection (1650-1930)
Archief en collectie Albertus Paulus Hermanus Hotz
Dr. Arnoud Vrolijk, 2006
Language of description
Script of description
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Language of description note
This finding aid has been written in English.

Revision Statements

  • 6 February 2017: latest update

Repository Details

Part of the Leiden University Libraries Archives & Collections Repository

Witte Singel 27
Leiden 2311 BG Netherlands
+31 71 527 2857