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June 9, 2019

AbbasHilmi2Portrait with Khedivial Grand


Among the rich archival resources at Durham University Library is the collection of Abbas Hilmi II (1874-1944), the last khedive of Egypt (1892-1914), whose papers provide excellent research material on political, social, economic and cultural affairs in Egypt in the late 19th and first half of the 20th centuries, the British in Egypt and, to a lesser extent, the Sudan, and Egypt’s relations with Britain, Turkey and the rest of Europe. The archive principally covers the period from the mid-19th Century up until the death of Abbas Hilmi II in 1944, but with some additional family material dating up to the 1960s. The collection was deposited in Durham by the Mohamed Ali Foundation in 1980. It contains material principally in Arabic, English, and French, but also some Ottoman Turkish, German, Italian, and Greek. Digital copies of the Abbas Hilmi II Papers are also deposited at the American University and CULTNAT in Cairo.

The `Abbas Hilmi II Papers consist mainly of the official and personal correspondence of the last Khedive of Egypt, from the period of his khedivate, 1892-1914 as well as his life in exile from 1914 to 1944. The official letters cover political, social and economic affairs in Egypt, the British in Egypt and, to a lesser extent, the Sudan, Egypt's relations with Britain, Turkey and the rest of Europe, the Khedive's relations with other royalty and his conflicts with the British administrators. After his deposition, the papers reflect his involvement with the Egyptian nationalist movement and his continued interest in Egyptian and European affairs.

Files relating to `Abbas Hilmi II's estates, property, palaces, business interests and investments illustrate his endeavours to improve his estates and, during his exile, his attempts to recover his sequestered property. His personal files contain letters from a wide circle of family and friends, from those in diplomatic circles, representatives of the churches, and authors. In addition to personal matters, they cover khedival patronage and his European travels.

The collection also includes negatives of photographs still in the possession of the Mohamed Ali Foundation, several albums of photographs, approximately 223 pamphlets, 2 maps, and 199 printed volumes.

Appended to the collection are copies of the letters of Ibrahim Pasha (1789-1848), eldest son of Muhammad Ali Pasha, viceroy of Egypt. The letters relate to his military campaigns in Syria in the 1830s and 1840s.

Catalogue of the Abbas Hilmi II Papers

Researchers wishing to access the collection are requested to complete an access agreement. Information on how to access the collection at Durham is available in this Archives and Special Collections online guide.

Re-use of documents and photographs in the collection

The Mohamed Ali Foundation welcomes applications to re-use material in the Abbas Hilmi II Papers. Permission must be granted before any material, photographic or textual, is published, whether in print or electronic formats. In addition, documents in the collection will include many persons' copyrights, and the ultimate responsibility for clearing such copyrights prior to publication will remain with the publisher. Permission requests may be sent to Durham University Library ( using one of the permissions forms below. The Foundation may be contacted at

The Archive of Abbas Hilmi II: News
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