Scope and Content
Title: Rom Landau Middle East Collection
Collection number: Mss68
Extent: 66.8 linear ft.
University of the Pacific. Library. Holt-Atherton Department of
Shelf location: For current information on the location of
these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
Collection is open for research.
[Identification of item], Rom Landau Middle East Collection, Mss68,
Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections, University of the Pacific
Rom Landau (1899-1974) was an author and professor of Islamic Studies.
He studied philosophy, art, and religion at various European schools and
universities--notably in Germany--taking no degrees and spending his early
years traveling and working as a sculptor. During the late 1920s and early
1930s Landau established a minor reputation in Europe as a writer. His themes
were art history, Polish biography, and comparative religion. Landau's best
known book from these years bears the title God is my adventure (Knopf, 1935).
He was a co-founder of the World Congress of Faiths, London (1936).
Rom Landau first visited Morocco in 1924. From that time he became a
student of Islamic civilization. Landau taught himself Arabic and spent as much
time as he could afford living and travelling in North Africa and the Middle
East. In 1937 he visited King Ibn Saud, King Abdallah of Jordan, and other
secular and religious leaders of the Middle East. Landau subsequently published
a book, Arm the Apostles (1938), about this trip in which he advocates arming
the Arabs so that they might aid the British and French in the coming war with
Landau served in the Royal Air Force (1939-41) and was a member of the
Arab Committee of the Intelligence Department of the British Foreign Office
(1941-45) during World War II. During this period he published (with A.J.
Arberry) the standard work Islam Today (Cambridge, 1943). Following the War,
Landau returned to North Africa where he established close personal ties with
Sultan of Morocco and other Arab leaders of liberation movements. Landau
discreetly supported these groups although his interest in the cause of Arab
independence would seem to have been motivated more by a traditionalist's wish
to slow the modernization and Europeanization of the region than to improve the
living standards of the common people.
Beginning in 1948 Rom Landau devoted his writing skills exclusively to
Morocco and Moroccan affairs. Over the subsequent five year period Landau
published Invitation to Morocco (1950); Moroccan Journal (1951); The Beauty of
Morocco (1951); The Sul-tan of Morocco (1952); Morocco (for the Carnegie
Endowment for International Peace, 1952); Portrait of Tangier (1953); and
France and the Arabs (1953). Later he would publish a study of Moroccan drama
(1956), biographies of King Mohammed V (1957) and Hassan II (1962), as well as
a History of Morocco in the Twentieth Century (1963). Landau also wrote
numerous essays and book reviews for The Reporter, The New Statesman, The
Spectator, and other British and American periodicals of the day.
Following a lecture tour to the United States (1952-53) Landau settled
in San Francisco where he was employed by Alan Watts' American Academy of Asian
Studies. The Academy soon affiliated with the University of the Pacific,
Stockton (1954), and Landau subsequently became a professor of Islamic Studies
at the University (1956-68). In 1962-63 he supervised the Peace Corps training
program that prepared volunteers for service in Morocco. Following his
retirement (1968), Landau settled in Marrakesh, where he lived until his
Scope and Content
The Landau Collection consists chiefly of Rom Landau's personal library
and other materials--notably clippings, periodicals and government
documents--that he used in teaching coursework in Is-lamic Studies at the
University of the Pacific. As might be ex-pected, the primary focus of these
materials is Morocco. How-ever, the collection also contains considerable
material on the other nations of French North Africa, Algeria and Tunisia, and,
a smaller body of books, pamphlets, and documents on other Islamic nations and
on Israel/Palestine. The time period of greatest em-phasis is the twenty-five
years immediately following World War II (1945-1970).