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Register of the Rom Landau Middle East Collection
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Rom Landau Middle East Collection
    Collection number: Mss68
    Creator: Rom Landau
    Extent: 66.8 linear ft.
    Repository: University of the Pacific. Library. Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections
    Stockton, CA 95211
    Shelf location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Rom Landau Middle East Collection, Mss68, Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library


    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 Nazi Germany.
    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 death.

    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).