Skip to main content

Guilaume Frédéric Pijper archive and collection

Identifier: ubl124

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of oriental manuscripts, letters, scholarly notes and related documents. The nineteen manuscripts, with texts in Arabic, Malay, Javanese and Sundanese, originate all but one from Indonesia, and were collected by Pijper before Second World War. The collection also comprises correspondence between G.F. Pijper and C. Snouck Hurgronje, written between 8 January 1927 and 8 October 1935. The scholarly notes arranged by Pijper according to subjects are kept in 61 small portfolio’s. They are completed by various related documents like clippings, leaflets, letters, postcards and photographs. Added to the collection is G.F. Pijper’s portrait in oil executed in 1967 by Mrs Ida Estella Mathilde van Raalte-Simons.


  • Creation: 1850-1980
  • Creation: Bulk 1900-1960

Language of Materials

Dutch, Arabic, Malay, Javanese, Sundanese

Conditions Governing Use

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

Biographical / Historical

Guillaume Frédéric Pijper was born in Berkhout (province of North Holland) in 1893. He was one of six children of Dr. Fredrik Pijper, minister of the Dutch Reformed Church in Berkhout, and Maria Petronella van Wijk. Four years later the Pijper family moved to Leiden, where Dr. F. Pijper had been appointed professor in the history of Christianity and Christian doctrine. G.F. Pijper studied Malay, several Indonesian languages and Semitic languages in Leiden. His most prominent teachers were Professor C. Snouck Hurgronje (1857-1936), the famous orientalist and government’s adviser, and Professor P.S. van Ronkel (1870-1954). He took his doctorate in 1924 with his thesis on Malay manuscripts of an Arabic religious text attributed to ' Abd Allāh Ibn Salām'. From 1920 until 1925, Pijper was teacher of oriental languages at the Dutch School for Missionaries (Nederlandse Zending School) in Oegstgeest.

In 1925 Pijper joined the civil service in the Dutch East Indies. In the years 1931-1934 and 1936-1937, he served as assistant adviser on indigenous affairs to the government, in particular religious (Islamic) affairs, from 1937 on as adviser. In 1934-1935 Pijper was granted a study leave to Arabia, Egypt, Palestina and Syria. As an islamologist, Pijper continued the activities and (field) research his mentor Snouck Hurgronje had undertaken in Indonesia at the end of the nineteenth century and during the first years of the twentieth century.

In 1940, Pijper was appointed extraordinary professor at the Faculty of Arts in Batavia (Jakarta), besides his activities as government’s advisor. It is worthy to note that while in Indonesia, Pijper was the representative of the Royal Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land- and Volkenkunde). After de Japanese invasion in 1942, Pijper was interned in a war camp in Java. After the Japanese capitulation in 1945 and his release from the war camp, Pijper resumed his activities in Batavia, interrupted by a stay of several months in 1947-1948 in the Netherlands. In 1951 he returned permanently to the Netherlands and settled in Blaricum, later in Amsterdam. In 1953 he was appointed teacher at the University of Amsterdam, from 1955 on extraordinary professor of Arabic, Islam and semitic languages. He held his inaugural lecture on ‘Islam and The Netherlands’. Pijper died in Amsterdam in 1988.


19 oriental manuscripts, 1 box with 78 letters, 61 small portfolio’s in 30 boxes, 1 portrait (2.9 meters)

Abstract in Dutch

Collectie van Arabische en Indonesische handschriften, brieven, wetenschappelijke aantekeningen, enkele egodocumenten, foto’s en gedrukte werken en een portret van Guillaume Frédéric Pijper.

Abstract in English

Collection of Arabic and Indonesian manuscripts, letters, scholarly notes, some miscellaneous papers, photographs and printed booklets, and a portrait of Guillaume Frédéric Pijper.

Physical Location

Universiteitsbibliotheek Leiden, Bijzondere Collecties

Other Finding Aids

The oriental manuscripts of the Collection G.F. Pijper are fully catalogued in the online Catalogue.

Custodial History

Estate of G.F. Pijper’s widow.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was acquired in 2003 after Mrs Pijper’s death. Her husband’s scholarly notes (Or. 26.337) were purchased at the November 2003 auction at Van Stockum's Veilingen B.V. in The Hague, while the manuscripts (Or. 26.316-26.334) were directly purchased from Mrs Pijper’s heirs. The correspondence between G.F. Pijper and C. Snouck Hurgronje (Or. 26.335) was donated by Mrs Pijper’s heirs to the Leiden University Library through the intermediary of Mr C.G.A.M. Broos, executor of Mrs Pijper’s will. On the occasion of the official transfer of Pijper’s manuscripts and papers, his portrait in oil (Or. 26.336) executed in 1967 was offered to the Leiden University Library by the heirs.


No future additions are to be expected.

Separated Materials

A portrait of G.F. Pijper by Mrs H.J. van Lent-Gort is kept in the collection of the University of Amsterdam.


  • Taylor, S.S. and Spruytenburg, M., Who's who in the Netherlands 1962/63. A biographical dictionary containing about 4000 biographies of prominent personalities from and in the Netherlands, New York 1962, p. 577.
  • Wie is dat? Biografische gegevens van Nederlanders die een vooraanstaande plaats in het maatschappelijk leven innemen. 's-Gravenhage 1956, p. 486.
  • Wieringa, E.P., ‘Two more charts for the Arabic Ocean’, Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde 160 (2004), no.4, pp. 555-562. Click for a digital copy.
  • Witkam, J.J., ‘De collectie Pijper voor Leiden verworven’, Omslag : Bulletin van de Universiteitsbibliotheek Leiden en het Scaliger Instituut, (2004), no.1, pp. 5-8.


The material of this collection can be requested at the Special Collections Reading Room.

Processing Information

The collection was registered in 2003 under the shelfmarks Or. 26.316 – Or. 26.337.

Collection guide of the Guilaume Frédéric Pijper archive and collection (1850-1980)
Archief en collectie Guilaume Frédéric Pijper
Marie-Odette Scalliet, 2008
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Beschrijving is in het Engels.

Repository Details

Part of the Leiden University Libraries Archives & Collections Repository

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