3,200 books and rare manuscript holdings in the George Rentz Library


Within its private collections, the King Abdulaziz Public Library acquires one of the most important western private libraries, which is the library of the American orientalist George Snaavely Rentz, which includes a large number of manuscripts, documents and images, as well as it includes 3200 books (in English, French and Arabic), most of which focus on reading The Saudi history during the period between 1930-1960 A.D., George Rentz was the head of the Research and Translation Center at Aramco, and one of the most interested in research and scientific activities. Arabian island. He was a university professor, and he has many books and participations in writing topics in encyclopedias, especially the Islamic Encyclopedia, and he witnessed important events, whether in Syria or Egypt, before his settlement in the Arabian Peninsula. And he was fluent in speaking and writing Arabic, and was treated as a consultant, expert and scientific examiner for the affairs of the Arabian Peninsula, by his country, American publishing houses, and researchers interested in this region at that time, as indicated by the documents in his possession.

This orientalist is considered to be among those who witnessed the beginnings of the establishment of the kingdom by King Abdulaziz – may God rest his soul – and he followed the events of the Second World War, the establishment of the Arab League, the demarcation of borders in the Arabian Peninsula and the beginnings of oil production (1946-1963).

George Rentz was born in Welsh Run, Pennsylvania and is the eldest of four children to his father, George S. Rents Sr., a well-known naval commander, and in the year 1928 A.D. Rents graduated from Pensacola High School in Florida and studied engineering at Georgia Tech Institute and then moved to the Philippines, where his father’s services were transferred to, where he lived there between 1930-1932 during which he finished studying mathematics at the University of the Philippines, then He worked in Syria for 3 years as a teacher, then he returned to the United States in 1935 and joined the University of Berkeley and obtained a bachelor’s in European history, 1937, then a master’s in 1938 in the history of Egypt in the fourteenth century, and he also studied Arabic there at the hands of the American orientalist William Popper

He worked in Cairo in 1942 as head of the Research and Translation Department, and married Egyptian Coptic Sophia Bassaili in 1944.

Then he was appointed as a translator for Aramco after the end of World War II for 17 years and he was appointed in 1946 as Director of the Research and Translation Department in the Government Relations Department. He had a great influence in Aramco’s career and during his work, he documented the oral history of the Bedouin tribes and published a series of Aramco handbooks and obtained a doctorate. In a thesis on Sheikh Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab from the University of California, he completed two studies: the eastern tributaries of the Al-Ahsa region, and Oman and the southern coast of the Gulf.

Rentz retired from Aramco in 1963 and joined Stanford University, where he became a secretary of the Middle East department in the Hoover Library and worked on expanding the Arab, Turkish and Persian collections in the library, and in addition to that he gave lectures on Islam, Saudi-Russian relations, the role of oil in Middle East politics and the Arab world. Modern, and in 1976 he became a member of the Wooder Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington and then a resident scholar at John Hopkins University, and died on December 22, 1987 in California.

George Rentz’s collection of documents includes a huge collection of personal and official documents, studies and research, articles and newspaper clippings, notes and reports, most of which are closely related to the history of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Arabian Gulf in particular, and the Middle East and Islam in general, and the documents are of their importance, as some of them are It is distinguished by its rarity and secrecy. The dominant feature of most of these documents is their scientific and historical value, for example:

Documents the statements of the Egyptian Arabic and English newspapers on the visit of King Abdulaziz to Egypt.

Documents of American newspapers’ statements about King Saud’s visit to the United States of America.

Documents on oil agreements between the Kingdom and some American companies.

The library also includes a large number of books in foreign languages, which monitor the most important political events and historical facts in the Kingdom and the Arab Gulf region, and rare manuscripts and books also contain a large number of knowledge, cultures, history and general culture books.

George Rentz’s library is a repertoire of knowledge for researchers and historians because it contains rare books and documents, and the personal impressions it contains of this orientalist as he is a contemporary of the beginnings of the unification of the kingdom, the emergence of oil in it and the demarcation of borders with neighboring countries, where he used to acquire maps, personal correspondence and notes.

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