The Arabian Peninsula through the eyes of an American Christian missionary

Zwemer, Samuel. Arabia: the Cradle of Islam. Studies in the geography, people and politics of the peninsula with an account of Islam and mission-work.

Edinburgh & London, Oliphant Anderson & Ferrier, [preface dated: Dec. 1900].

8vo. (6), 437, (1 blank) pp. With a cut-out picture of a Bedouin woman on the verso of the half-title-page, a picture of "a typical Arab of Yemen" as the frontispiece, 15 plates, a floor plan of a mosque, 2 maps and numerous small illustrations in the text. Yellow cloth.


An account of the history, geography, religion, and political and social situation of the Middle East, and especially of the Arabian Peninsula, from a Christian missionary point of view. This information is presented alongside accounts of the author's experiences, and it is illustrated with images of local peoples, landscapes and examples of Arabic script and music. According to the preface, this second edition of Zwemer's first work, first published in 1899/1900, was published in order to correct some minor errors that had made their way into the first edition because of the physical distance between the author and the publishers. At the time of publication, Zwemer was doing missionary work in Arabia, while his work was being published in the U.S. The present copy was published in Edinburgh and London, but apparently (according to the verso of the title-page) printed by the Caxton Press in New York.

Reverend Samuel Marinus Zwemer (1867-1952), sometimes nicknamed "the Apostle to Islam", was an American missionary, traveller and scholar. He was a part of the Reformed Church of America, meaning that his beliefs and later missionary work were rooted in Calvinistic traditions, and he was ordained within that church in 1890. Together with James Cantine and John G. Lansing, Zwemer founded the Arabian Mission, which was active from 1889 until 1913. During that time, Zwemer was active in Iraq, Bahrein, and several locations in Arabia. He also worked in Egypt and travelled extensively throughout Asia Minor. From 1929 until his retirement at the age of 70 in 1937 he taught at the Princeton Theological Seminary, as a professor of missions and as a professor of the history of religion.

Binding rubbed, soiled and slightly damaged around the corners, edges foxed, water stain in the top margin of the first leaves (until p. 14), hinges weak. With an inscription in German on the first flyleaf dated 17 January 1904; cut-out picture of a Bedouin woman pasted on the verso of the half-title.


List of works in the NYPL relating to Arabia and the Arabs (1911), p. 174. Cf. Macro 2371; Shapero, The Islamic World (2003), 511.