Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje archive and collections
Scope and Contents
- Bulk 1880-1936
Language of Materials
Miscellaneous European and Oriental languages
Conditions Governing Use
A number of manuscripts, mainly from Indonesia, have suffered heavily from ink corrosion and cannot be consulted.
Original documents of the digitised parts of the collection can only be consulted at special request.
Regulations that apply during the use of these materials can be found on the website of Leiden University Library.
Biographical / Historical
Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje (Oosterhout, 8 February 1857 – Leiden, 26 June 1936) was the Netherlands’ most prominent Orientalist of the late 19th and early 20th century. He studied Arabic with Michael Jan de Goeje and took his doctorate in 1883 with his thesis on the Hajj, Het Mekkaansche Feest. In the autumn of 1884 he travelled to Arabia, first settling at Jeddah. He converted to Islam and early 1885 went to Mecca to perform the pilgrimage, but was extradicted from Arabia a few days before the actual pilgrimage season began, after having been accused of the illegal export of antiquities. Snouck Hurgronje was the first European to take photographs of Mecca and its sanctuary.
After his return to the Netherlands in 1885 he published his magnum opus Mekka, a detailed historical and ethnographical study of Mecca in two volumes with a portfolio of plates (1888-1889).
In 1889 he accepted a post in the Netherlands East Indies as government advisor on indigenous and Islamic affairs, which he held until 1906. Snouck Hurgronje played a role of significance in the so-called Aceh wars, supplying vital intelligence to general J.B. van Heutsz. During his 17 years of government service he wrote two major works on Indonesian studies: De Atjehers (1893-1894) and Het Gajoland en zijne bewoners (1903). Although Snouck Hurgronje firmly believed in the Dutch colonial role in Indonesia, he advocated a liberal education policy towards the native population and a large degree of self-government, which gradually made him a controversial figure in the eyes of the Dutch Government.
In 1906 Snouck Hurgronje returned to the Netherlands and succeeded M.J. de Goeje in the Leiden Chair of Arabic, but continued advising the Government on colonial and Islamic affairs. His academic career was crowned by his term as Chancellor of the University (1922). In his inaugural speech De Islâm en het rassenprobleem he denounced racism and racial segregation in South Africa and the USA. He retired in 1927 and died in 1936.
During his entire career Snouck Hurgronje contributed widely to the Dutch press, both in the Netherlands East Indies and in the Netherlands.
His collected works, Verspreide Geschriften (1923-1927), were published during his lifetime. Vol. 6 (1927), pp. 587-597, contains a bibliography of his works by A.J. Wensinck. His collected advices to the Government, Ambtelijke adviezen, were published posthumously (1957-1963).
10.000 printed books (circa), c. 1100 Oriental manuscripts, unknown number of letters, private papers and photographs
Verzameling van gedrukten, oosterse handschriften, ego-documenten, foto’s en vroege geluidsopnamen van Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje (1857-1936), Nederlands meest prominente oriëntalist uit de late 19e eeuw en vroege 20e eeuw. Hij is vooral bekend vanwege zijn reis naar Mekka in 1884-1885 en de daaruit volgende publicatie Mekka (1888-1889). Van 1889 tot 1906 diende hij als adviseur voor inlandse zaken van het Gouvernement van Nederlandsch-Indië. Bij zijn terugkeer in Nederland in 1906 volgde hij M.J. de Goeje op als hoogleraar Arabisch in Leiden.
Collection of printed books, Oriental manuscripts, private papers, photographs and early sound recordings of Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje (1857-1936), the Netherlands’ most prominent Orientalist of the late 19th and early 20th century. He is mostly known for his journey to Mecca in 1884-1885 and his ensuing publication Mekka (1888-1889). From 1889 to 1906 he served as advisor on indigenous affairs to the Government of the Netherlands East Indies. Upon his return to the Netherlands in 1906 he succeeded M.J. de Goeje as professor of Arabic at Leiden University.
Books and manuscripts
- Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje left his entire collection of 10,000 books and c. 1,100 manuscripts to the Leiden University Library at his death in 1936. See also the ubl289 Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje Arabic Manuscripts Collection.
Papers and photographs
- ubl165 Collection Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje - Correspondence Cod. Or. 8952 A-B , donated in 1956 by his daughter Mrs C. Liefrinck-Snouck Hurgronje, is registered as Cod. Or. 8952 A (letters to Snouck Hurgronje) and Or. 8952 B (letters from Snouck Hurgronje to others).
- In 1969 the photographs donated in 1956 were registered separately as Cod. Or. 12.288. See ubl215 Collection Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje - Archive Cod. Or. 12.288, Or. 18.097, Or. 18.098 .
- In 1979 a collection of papers and photographs belonging to Snouck Hurgronje was transferred from his former home at Rapenburg 61 (the so-called Snouck Hurgronjehuis) to the Library and registered as Or. 18.097 (S 1-65) and Or. 18.098 (Diversen 1-12), see Collection Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje - Archive Cod. Or. 12.288, Or. 18.097, Or. 18.098.
- In 1980 more Snouck Hurgronje archival materials were removed to the University Library and added to Or. 8952, currently ubl167 Collection Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje - Archive Cod. Or. 8952 C-L .
- Another collection of photographs and documents was discovered when the University Library moved to a new location in the summer of 1983, and was added to Or. 18.097 (S 66-70). The documents accessioned since 1979 have never been subjected to an embargo. See Collection Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje - Archive Cod. Or. 12.288, Or. 18.097, Or. 18.098.
- Furthermore, a collection of photographs was donated by the Stichting het Oosters (or Oostersch) Instituut in 1996 and registered as Or. 26.362–26.407. Although nearly all photographs were made by various photographers at the request of Snouck Hurgronje, some items are directly concerned with Snouck Hurgronje and his stay in Arabia or Indonesia, most notably Or. 26.367, 26.369–26.370. 26.402–26.404.
- Between 1906 and 1909 sound recordings were made by the staff of the Dutch consulate at Jeddah at the request of Snouck Hurgronje and with equipment provided by him. In 1985 the wax cylinders were recorded on tape by Phonogrammarchiv, the institute for the history of sound recordings of the Austrian Academy of Sciences at Vienna. They have since been digitised. In 1996, Snouck Hurgronje’s Edison phonograph and a collection of more than 350 Edison wax cylinders were donated to the Library by Stichting het Oosters Instituut.
Leiden University Library, Special Collections
Other Finding Aids
The printed books are catalogued in the online catalogue.
Descriptions of the Snouck Hurgronje manuscripts can be found in various catalogues:
- Arabic manuscripts: Voorhoeve (1957/19802).
- Malay manuscripts: Iskandar (1999).
- Javanese manuscripts: Pigeaud, 1967-1980.
- Sundanese manuscripts: Kern, 1983.
- Acehnese manuscripts: Voorhoeve, 1994.
The correspondence in Or. 8952 A-B is accessible through the online catalogue and through the collection guide.
An inventory of the papers and photographs in Or. 8952, Or. 12.288, Or. 18.097 and Or. 18.098 is provided with their collection guides.
See also the inventory.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
After having given his collection of Oriental manuscripts in permanent loan to the Leiden University Library as early as 1907, Snouck Hurgronje left his collection of printed books and Oriental manuscripts to the Library at his death in 1936.
The papers of Snouck Hurgronje were partly destroyed by his heirs during the Second World War.
In 1956 the correspondence of Snouck Hurgronje was donated to the Leiden University Library by his daughter Christien Liefrinck-Snouck Hurgronje. They were placed under an embargo of 40 years which expired on 1 January 1997. The donation also comprised a collection of photographs. The documents accessioned since 1979 have only partly been subjected to an embargo.
In 1979 a collection of papers and photographs belonging to Snouck Hurgronje was transferred from his former home at Rapenburg 61 (the so-called Snouck-Hurgronjehuis), Leiden. This collection, previously kept at the home of Snouck Hurgronje’s widow at Wassenaar, had been removed to Rapenburg 61 during the Second World War.
In 1980 additional materials were transferred.
In 1983 another collection of papers and photographs was discovered when the Leiden University Library moved to a new location.
In 1996 some Snouck Hurgronje materials, most notably his sound recordings, were donated by Stichting het Oostersch Instituut, Leiden.
No future additions are expected.
The Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV) at Leiden has a collection of Snouck Hurgronje papers.
In 1919 Snouck Hurgronje donated his collection of c. 200 ethnographical artifacts from Arabia to the National Museum of Ethnology at Leiden.
The Nationaal Archief at the Hague has a collection of letters from Snouck Hurgronje to C. Adriaanse, editor of his collected works.
The Stichting Het Oosters Instituut, Leiden, still holds an unknown quantity of Snouck Hurgronje materials (uncatalogued).
- Calcar, R.P. van, De meester. Herinnering aan Prof. Dr. C. Snouck Hurgronje (1857-1936). Amsterdam 1936.
- Damsté, H.T.,
In memoriam Dr. Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje, in: Koloniaal tijdschrift 1936, pp. 449-455.
- Drewes, G.W.J.
Snouck Hurgronje, Christiaan, in: Biografisch woordenboek van Nederland, vol. 2 (1985), pp. 523-526.
- Iskandar, T., Catalogue of Malay, Minangkabau, and South Sumatran manuscripts in the Netherlands. 2 vols. Leiden 1999.
- Juynboll, Th.W., Dr. C. Snouck Hurgronje. Haarlem 1901. (Mannen en vrouwen van beteekenis in onze dagen, 32/2).
- Kern, R.A. & J. Noorduyn, Catalogus van de verzameling Soendase handschriften van Snouck Hurgronje in de Leidse Universiteitsbibliotheek. Leiden 1983.
- Koningsveld, P.S. van, Snouck Hurgronje alias Abdoel-Ghaffar. Enige historisch-kritische kanttekeningen. Leiden 1982.
- Koningsveld, P.S. van, Snouck Hurgronje en de islam. Acht artikelen over leven en werk van een oriëntalist uit het koloniale tijdperk. Leiden 1988.
- Oostdam, D. & J.J. Witkam, West Arabian encounters. Fifty years of Dutch-Arabian relations in images (1885-1935). Leiden 2004. (Kleine publicaties van de Leidse Universiteitsbibliotheek, 63).
- Pedersen, J., The scientific work of Snouck Hurgronje. Leiden 1957.
- Pigeaud, Th.G.Th., Literature of Java. Catalogue raisonné of Javanese manuscripts in the Library of the University of Leiden. 4 vols. The Hague 1967-1980.
- Snouck Hurgronje, C., Verspreide geschriften, ed. A.J. Wensinck. 6 vols. In 7. Bonn [etc.] 1923-1927.
- Trouwborst, A.,
Snouck Hurgronje (1857-1936), in: FACTA 4 (1996), pp. 6-9.
- Voorhoeve, P., Handlist of Arabic manuscripts in the Library of the University of Leiden […]. 2nd enl. ed. Leiden 1980. (Codices manuscripti, 7).
- Voorhoeve, P., T. Iskandar & M. Durie, Catalogue of Acehnese manuscripts in the Library of Leiden University […]. Leiden 1994. (Codices manuscripti, 24).
- Vrolijk, A., H. van de Velde & J.J. Witkam, Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje (1857-1936). Orientalist. Leiden 2007. (Kleine publicaties der Leidse Universiteitsbibliotheek, 74).
- Witkam, J.J., Honderd jaar Mekka in Leiden. 1885-1985. Leiden 1985.
The materials can be requested through the online catalogue and can be studied in the Special Collections Reading Room. See also Restrictions on use.
Large-scale digitisation from 2007 onwards has necessitated a restructuring of the collection guides. Where applicable, the user is referred to separate collection guides covering specific parts of the Snouck Hurgronje collection.
The printed books donated by Snouck Hurgronje were merged with the general collection of printed works. Most of them are placed in the 890-905 stacks and and are recognisable by a note 'Legaat C. Snouck Hurgronje – 1936'.
Between 1967 and 1999, most manuscripts from the Snouck Hurgronje collection were described in scholarly catalogues by Voorhoeve, Pigeaud, Iskandar, R.A. Kern and Noorduyn.
The correspondence donated by the heirs in 1956 was made accessible between 1975-1979 by a card index kept in the Special Collections Reading Room.
Of the documents and photographs transferred from the Snouck Hurgronjehuis in 1979, the part preserved in Or. 18.097 (S 1-65) was described in a typescript inventory by F.G.P. Jaquet.
In 1985, at the centennial of Snouck Hurgronje’s journey to Mecca, curator Jan Just Witkam organised an exhibition of the Snouck Hurgronje collection: Honderd jaar Mekka in Leiden, 1885-1985 (Catalogue available).
In 2004 Dirry Oostdam and curator Jan Just Witkam organised an exhibition on the early history of photography in Saudi Arabia, with an accompanying catalogue West Arabian encounters. Fifty years of Dutch-Arabian relations in images (1885-1935).
In 2007, on the sesquicentenary of Snouck Hurgronje’s birth, curator Arnoud Vrolijk, Hans van de Velde and Jan Just Witkam prepared an exhibition and a catalogue, Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje (1857-1936). Orientalist.
Since 2007 the Snouck Hurgronje collection is in the process of being repacked and digitised with funds provided by Metamorfoze, a national project for the conservation and digitisation of fragile 19th-century archival collections, co-ordinated by the Royal Library in The Hague, with supplementary donations from the Familiefonds Hurgronje of Middelburg and private persons related to Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje.
- Aceh Subject Source: Tgn
- Arabic language Subject Source: Fast
- Arabic literature Subject Source: Fast
- Asia Subject Source: Tgn
- Books Subject Source: Aat
- History Subject Source: Fast
- Indonesia Subject Source: Tgn
- Islam Subject Source: Fast
- Islam Subject Source: Aat
- Islam Subject Source: Fast
- Letters (correspondence) Subject Source: Aat
- Manuscripts Subject Source: Aat
- Manuscripts, Oriental Subject Source: Fast
- Mecca Subject Source: Tgn
- Orientalism Subject Source: Fast
- Snouck Hurgronje, C. (Christiaan), 1857-1936
- Snouck Hurgronje, C. (Christiaan), 1857-1936 (Person)
- Oostersch Instituut (Leiden, Netherlands) (Organization)
- Collection guide of the Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje archive and collections (1870-1970)
- Archief en collecties Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje
- Arnoud Vrolijk
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script
- Language of description note
- This finding aid has been written in English.
- 2 October 2020: latest update
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