Edward Henry Palmer notebook, 1879

Emory University

Pitts Theology Library

1531 Dickey Drive, Suite 560

Atlanta, GA 30322


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Descriptive Summary

Creator: Palmer, Edward Henry, 1840-1882.
Title: Edward Henry Palmer notebook, 1879
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 419
Extent: .1 cubic feet (1 box)
Abstract:Contains one bound volume of notes on the the Arabic language and the Qur'an.
Language:Materials in English and Arabic.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.

Related Materials in Other Repositories

[The Scrapbook of E.H. Palmer], 1829-1883. Call number Z318 at the Lane Medical Library, Stanford University.


From the collection of the Christoph Keller, Jr. Library, General Theological Seminary.

Custodial History

Messrs. Luzac and Company (London) purchased E. H. Palmer's library after the death of Palmer's second wife, Augusta Marghereta Elisabeth. The book later became a part of Wilberforce Eames's personal library, and was put on auction on April 11, 1907 (item 5534 in Edward Turnbull's catalog of Eames's library). The Christoph Keller, Jr. Library General Theological Seminary in New York acquired it and subsequently Pitts Theology Library acquired it from General Theological Seminary.


[after identification of item(s)], Edward Henry Palmer notebook, MSS 419, Archives and Manuscript Dept., Pitts Theology Library, Emory University.


Processed by Brandon Wason, August 2016.

Collection Description

Biographical Note

Edward Henry Palmer (1840–1882), was a scholar in the field of what was then called Orientalism, specializing in the languages of Arabic and Persian. Palmer had an affinity for languages—he learned Romani at a young age, then French and several Italian dialects while in London during his late teens. In 1860, he met Saiyid Abdullah, who taught Hindustani at Cambridge, and Palmer began learning Arabic, Persian, and Hindustani. This was the start of his academic career at Cambridge, where he was appointed, in 1871, the Lord Almoner's chair in Arabic. He translated a number of works into English, including a two-volume edition of the Qur'an (Oxford: Clarendon, 1880), and published a grammar of Hindustani, Persian, and Arabic: Simplified Grammar of Hindustani, Persian, and Arabic (London: Trübner, 1882).

Palmer's personal life was plagued with illness, tragedy, and drama. He was orphaned as an infant and lived with his aunt. He showed seemingly fatal-signs of pulmonary tuberculosis in 1859, but recovered. He married Laura Hanbury Davis in 1871. The couple had two daughters and one son. The son died as an infant and his wife's death followed shortly afterward (1878). He married his second wife, Augusta Marghereta Elisabeth, in June, 1879. Then, in June of 1882, Palmer left for an expedition in Egypt where, on behalf of the British government, he was gathering intelligence on an anti-European movement among Bedouins. His party was attacked and Palmer and his entourage were murdered. Though of relatively humble origins, Palmer's reputation and the circumstances of his death, awarded him a burial in St Paul's Cathedral in London.

Biographical Source: Walter Besant, Life and achievements of Edward Henry Palmer (London: John Murray, 1883); Elizabeth Baigent, 'Palmer, Edward Henry (1840–1882),' Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004)

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of one notebook containing notes by Edward Henry Palmer. On the first page is written: "Lecture commenced Jan[uary] 27th, [18]79 to Syed Kazim Ali of Christ Coll[ege], Syed Waris Ali, do., Syed Nur ul Huda, John’s Coll[ege]." Then on the second page the following title is given: "Notes for lecture on the Koran." Written in English and Arabic, the manuscript contains notes, translations, scribbles, on the Qur'an as well as the Arabic language more generally. It would likely have served as a part of Palmer's preparation for lectures on the Koran.

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