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The First Russian Book Printer, 1583
This book, published in Kiev in 1895, is a short biography of Ivan Fyodorov (circa 1510–83), intended for the general reader. Along with Schweipolt Fiol and Francysk Skaryna, Fyodorov was one of the fathers of printing in the East Slavic region. He graduated from Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland, and later worked in Moscow, where he published liturgical works using movable type, the first books printed in Russia. He was driven from Moscow by scribes who feared competition from his innovation and fled to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania ...
Memoirs of Babur
This book is a lithograph edition of the Persian translation of Bāburnāmah (Memoirs of Babur), the autobiography of Ẓahīr al-Dīn Muḥammad Bāburshāh (1483–1530), the first Mughal emperor of India. Bāburnāmah originally was written in Chagatai Turkish and was translated into Persian during the reign of the Mughal emperor Akbar. The translation was undertaken by Bairam Khan (died 1561), an Afghan bureaucrat and military commander who served under Emperor Humayun and who was briefly appointed regent over his successor, Emperor Akbar, when Akbar was a child. This book was printed ...
Worthy Advice in the Affairs of the World and Religion: The Autobiography of Emir Abdur Rahman Khan
This work is an autobiography of 'Abd al-Raḥmān Khān, emir of Afghanistan from 1880 to 1901. It is styled, however, as a manual of advice and a mirror for princes. It is divided into 16 chapters, which are arranged according to the topics on which the author provides advice and worthy examples, in this case drawn from his own conduct. Subdivision by topic of this kind mimics the pattern of books in the advice genre. The colophon dates the work to the month of Muharram of 1303 AH (October–November ...
Memoirs of an Arabian Princess: An Autobiography
Emilie Ruete (1844–1924), also known as Princess Sayyida Salme of Zanzibar and Oman, was born in Zanzibar (part of present-day Tanzania), the daughter of Saʻīd bin Sulṭān, sultan of Zanzibar and Oman. In 1867 she married a German merchant, Rudolph Heinrich Ruete (1839–70). The couple settled in Hamburg. Memoirs of an Arabian Princess is an account of Ruete’s royal youth in Zanzibar and Oman. First published in German in 1886, the book describes the culture and society of Zanzibar as experienced by an Arab girl growing to ...
Biographic Sketch of Mohammad Ali, Pacha of Egypt, Syria, and Arabia
Biographic Sketch of Mohammad Ali (1769–1849), composed by an unknown author, was published in Washington in 1837. Muḥammad ʻAlī was pasha and wali (governor) of Egypt within the Ottoman Empire from 1805 until his death. The book begins by comparing him to Napoleon, noting that they shared the same birth year and the same “insatiate ambition.” The author describes Muḥammad ʻAlī’s military service under the Ottoman governor of Kavalla in Rumelia (northeastern Greece). Muḥammad ʻAlī also became a tobacco dealer during this period, an experience that probably inspired ...
“History of the Caliphs” by al-Sūyūtī and “Primary Indicators of Well-Regulated States” by al-Hasan al-ʻAbbāsī
This volume contains two works, Tarikh al-Khulafa’ (History of the caliphs) by al-Sūyūtī (1445−1505) and Athar al-Uwal fi Tartib al-Duwal (Primary indicators of well-regulated states) by al-Hasan ibn ‘Abd Allāh al-‘Abbāsī (died circa 1310). Al-Sūyūtī is renowned for his writings in the Islamic sciences, although not necessarily for this historical work. History of the Caliphs remains in print as a standard summation of the Sunni view of the rule of succession after the Prophet Muhammad’s death. The work reveals a gift for selection and synthesis rather than ...
Biography of Zou Rong
Zou Rong (1885−1905), whose original name was Zou Shaotao, was also called Guiwen and had the style name Weidan. He was a native of Baxian, Sichuan. He changed his name to Zou Rong while studying in Japan. In 1903 he published a little book entitled Ge ming jun (The revolutionary army), calling for the Chinese people to carry out revolution, overthrow the Manchu regime, and establish the Chinese republic. Zhang Taiyan (1868−1936), a Chinese philologist, philosopher, and also a revolutionary, wrote the preface. It was published in the ...
Fragment from Major Alfred Dreyfus's Memoirs
Alfred Dreyfus (1859−1935) was a French artillery officer of Jewish background who was wrongly accused and convicted of treason and espionage in 1894. As such, he became the main protagonist in one of the most famous political scandals of the beginning of the 20th century. In this voice recording of a fragment of his memoirs, made in 1912 at the Sorbonne by the Archives de la parole (Voice archives), Dreyfus recounts the events of July 20, 1906. Eight days after he was exonerated by the Cour de cassation (Court ...
The History of Genghizcan the Great, First Emperor of the Antient Moguls and Tartars
This early Western history of Genghis Khan, the 13th-century Mongol Emperor who established the world’s largest contiguous empire, is by François Pétis (1622-95), an interpreter of Arabic and Turkish at the French court. In a long and distinguished career, Pétis translated a history of France into Turkish, compiled a French-Turkish dictionary, and created a catalog of the Turkish and Persian manuscripts owned by the king of France. François Pétis de la Croix (1653-1713), the son of François Pétis, took over the position of interpreter from his father in 1695 ...
Sketches from the Life of Mahmud Pasa
This manuscript, completed by an anonymous scribe in 1716, is a copy of a late-15th century biography of Mahmud Pasha, who served as grand vizier to Sultan Mehmed II. Mahmud Pasha (surnamed Angelović) came from Byzantine Christian parents, and was known for his military leadership and his patronage of literature and the arts. He fell out of favor with the sultan and was executed in 1474. Mahmud Pasha was popular, and stories from his life were widely read. The author of the original 15th-century work is unknown. The manuscript is ...
Genealogy of the Liu Family of Xiuyi Mining
Chinese genealogical works are historical records that document the pedigree, deeds, and events relating to a patriarchal clan. A genealogical work generally was composed of: a preface; table of contents; rules of compilation; rules and instructions to be observed by clansmen; images of the ancestral temple, tombs, and portraits; pedigree charts; and biographies of worthy members of the clan. Also included were the names of the person or persons responsible for issuing the work, as well as a postscript. Such works complement the available general historical records and are an ...
Genealogy of the Wang Family
This printed Chinese genealogy is in four volumes. Chinese genealogical works are historical records that document the pedigree, deeds, and events relating to a patriarchal clan. A genealogical work generally was composed of: a preface; table of contents; rules of compilation; rules and instructions to be observed by clansmen; images of the ancestral temple, tombs, and portraits; pedigree charts; and biographies of worthy members of the clan. Also included were the names of the person or persons responsible for issuing the work, as well as a postscript. The title inscription ...
Records of Zixia, the Purple Gorge
Cao Zongzai (1754–1824) a native of Haining, Zhejiang Province, a city famous for its dramatic views and for the spectacular tidal bore in the Qiantang River, produced a number of poetry collections. Among them was this manuscript, which he compiled in his studio, Dongshanlou (East Mountain Hall), in two juan, in one volume, entitled Zi xia wen xian lu (Records of Zixia, the Purple Gorge). Another collection of Cao’s was called Xiachuan shi chao (The Xiachuan poetry collection). In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, local literati ...
A Discourse in Commendation of the Valiant as Virtuous Minded Gentleman, Mister Frauncis Drake: With a Rejoicing of his Happy Adventures
This small book by the Elizabethan writer Nicholas Breton (circa 1545-1622) is a work of praise addressed to Francis Drake for his voyage around the world of 1577-80. The fact that it refers to Drake as “master” rather than “sir” suggests that it was published some time between September 26, 1580, when Drake returned to Plymouth, and April 14, 1581, when Queen Elizabeth I visited Drake’s ship and conferred knighthood upon him. Breton mentions the booty brought home by Drake, but is silent as to how it was acquired ...
The Story of My Childhood
Clara Barton, the popular name of Clarissa Harlowe Barton (1821–1912), is best known as the founder of the American Red Cross. She worked as a schoolteacher from 1836 to 1854 and later as a copyist in the U.S. Patent Office in Washington, DC. During the American Civil War, she organized relief for wounded soldiers and became known as the “Angel of the Battlefield.” She later worked for the International Red Cross during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71. She established the U.S. branch of the Red Cross ...
The Genealogy of Khodzha Akhmed Iassavi
Nasab-nama (The genealogy of Khodzha Akhmed Iassavi) is considered to be the only written document in Kazakhstan confirming the family tree of Khodzha Akhmed Iassavi (died 1166), a philosopher, Sufi mystic, and the earliest known poet to write in a Turkish dialect. The author was Ibrakhim ibn Makhmud, the father of Khodzha Akhmed Iassavi and a well-known sheikh in Isfijab (present-day Sayram, in Kazakhstan), the city where Khodzha Akhmed Iassavi was born. Khodzha Akhmed Iassavi was known during his lifetime as a holy person and people from all parts of ...
The Authority on Discriminating Scholarly Men
Abd ul-Nabi ibn Saad al-Jazaairi (died circa 1610 AD, 1021 AH) was a Shiite biographer, cleric, and jurist. Hawi al-Aqwal fi maarifat al-rijal (The authority on discriminating scholarly men) is his four-volume anthology of biographies of Shiite scholars and other figures, who communicated the hadith, sayings attributed to the Prophet Muhammad that were transmitted by word of mouth. In order to verify the credibility of any hadith, the trustworthiness of each link (person) in the chain of narration had to be checked. Consequently, this work divides the narrators discussed into ...
Ibn Khallikan’s Biographical Dictionary, Volumes 1 and 2
Abu-l ‘Abbas Ahmad Ibn Khallikan (1211–82 AD, 608–81 AH) was a Kurdish Muslim jurist who lived in present-day Iraq, Syria, and Egypt. Wafayat al-a’yan wa-anba abna az-zaman (Obituaries of eminent men and history of the contemporaries), better known as Ibn Khallikan’s biographical dictionary, is the book on which its author’s fame rests. Considered a work of the highest importance for the civil and literary history of the Muslim people, it occupied Ibn Khallikan from 1256 until 1274. The dictionary is of enormous scope—the English ...
Jabir ibn Hayyan
Jabir ibn Hayyan (also known by the Latinized version of his name, Geber, 721–815 AD, 103–200 AH) was a Muslim polymath, philosopher, and alchemist. He was probably born in Tus, Khorasan, in present-day Iran, although some sources claim that he was born and grew up in Kufa, Iraq. Some aspects of the life of Jabir ibn Hayyan as well as the authenticity of tens, if not hundreds, of the titles of his vast body of work have been questioned. More than 3,000 treatises or books are attributed ...
Abū Zayd ‘Abdu r-Rahman bin Muhammad bin Khaldūn Al-Hadrami (also known as Ibn Khaldun or Ibn Khaldoun, 1332–1406 AD) was an Arab historiographer and historian. He was born in Tunisia but also lived in Andalusia and Egypt. He is considered the greatest social scientist of his time. His name is closely tied to his major work al-Muqaddima (also known by its Greek title, Prolegomenon), the first volume of a seven-volume universal history. The eminent British historian Arnold Toynbee (1889–1975), himself the author of a 12-volume study of the ...
Uganda's White Man of Work: A Story of Alexander M. Mackay
Uganda's White Man of Work: A Story of Alexander M. Mackay is a children’s biography of Alexander Murdoch Mackay (1849–90), a pioneering missionary to Uganda. In 1876 Mackay answered a call of the Church Missionary Society to go to Uganda after King Mutesa I of Buganda told the explorer Henry Morton Stanley of his interest in receiving Christian missionaries. Mackay spent nearly 14 years in Uganda. In addition to teaching the Christian gospel, he worked as a farmer, carpenter, bridge and road builder, schoolmaster, printer, and translator ...