Eduard Glaser Collection
Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Library at the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies [Contact Us]420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106-3703
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Library at the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Eduard Glaser (1855–1908) was a scholar, archaeologist, and explorer. Born in Deutsch-Rust (Czech Republic), Glaser was one of the leading 19th century scholarly researchers in south Arabia and the pioneer of Sabaean studies and pre-Islamic history. His thorough knowledge of the Arabic language, of Oriental customs, and especially of Islam was the secret of his research success. His journeys through Yemen represent some of the most important scholarly research ever carried out in this part of the world. Despite great financial problems and dangers, he undertook four expeditions to Yemen between 1882 and 1895, disguised as a Muslim. He reached remote historical places in Yemen never visited before by Western scholars, such as Mārib, the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Sheba. The southern Arabian inscriptions he collected are of fundamental importance for all research on ancient Yemen. The analysis of his still unpublished scholarly works is far from finished. The collection of almost 660 objects from southern Arabia that he brought back from his fourth journey into Yemen in 1895 formed the nucleus of the "Oriental" or Near Eastern section in the Kunsthistorischen Museum in Vienna; he also brought hundreds of Yemeni-Arabic manuscripts to the National Library in Vienna. He was a great lover of the Jewish people and the Zionist movement. He corresponded with Herzl and proposed to him the establishment of the Jewish state in Yemen. In Sana he became close to the local Jewish scholar, R. Yihye Kafah and strengthened his enlightened attitude toward the Jewish religion. In a series of articles published in the REJ, written as a part of his spirited debate with fellow Yemenite scholar Joseph Halévy, Glaser expressed his uncompromising view that the pre-Islamic Himyari kingdom was indeed a Jewish kingdom, based on his interpretation of some on the inscriptions he found in Yemen. (Biography based on Encyclopedia Judaica, 2nd ed., 2007)
The Eduard Glazer Manuscript Collection consists of four folders, consisting mostly of offprints as well as some correspondence and manuscript material by Glaser himself. The collection also contains correspondence from S. Glaser, Eduard's brother, who ultimately sold the collection to Dropsie.
The initial collection contained approximately 450 volumes of Glaser's books, which have since been incorporated into the Library's collections. In addition, three manuscripts (#71, 72, and 74) were originally part of this collection but have been added to the Rare Ms collection.
- University of Pennsylvania: Library at the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies