1886 Memoiren einer arabischen Prinzessin, with Arabic handwritten dedication by the author Princess Bibi Salme / Emily Ruete to her son Rudloph and his Arabic Ex Libris and signature and the hidden signature of her daughter in law .

Memoiren einer Arabischen Prinzessin

 Memoiren einer Arabischen Prinzessin Volume 1 in first edition third issue:  The cover also has a different colour than the regular third issue of the first edition, however the same blue colour as the one in the Said Ruete library in Leiden.  

Author / Publisher: Princess Emily Ruete ; Salima bint Said Al Bu Said ; Bibi Salme / Berlin "H. Rosenberg"  1886.

 The blue Cloth binding (unusual for the third issue)

 Memoiren einer Arabischen Prinzessin

                                 The blue cloth binding, unusual for the third issue


memoiren einer arabischen prinzessin

Dedication by Princess Bibi Salme (Emily Ruete) to her son:
"Peace, greeting and thousand
love tokens from your mother
Salma bint Said Sultan"

Memoiren einer Arabischen prinzessin 

Book-plate & signature of Rudolph Said-Ruete (1869-1946)  son of Emily Ruete. 

The calligraphic text reads:

بنت سعيد بن سلطان حاكم عمان وزنجبار

رودولف سعيد روتي ابن سالمة

Rūdūlf Saʿīd Rūtī ibn Sālima

bint Saʿīd bin Sulān ākim ʿUmān wa-Zanjabār

Rudolph Said Ruete, son of Salma

bint Said Sultan, ruler of Oman and Zanzibar

The calligraphic Ex-Libris is copied from a manuscript document probably given by the Sultan of Oman in 1932 when Rudolph got the title Seyyid and was recognised as a member of the Sultan's family (the manuscript is currently owned by Rudolph's grandson Michael Bauer)


Another remarkable find in this copy was that under the Ex Libris of my book is the signature of Rudolphs wife Maria Therese Mathias  (1872-1943). She was the daughter of Mathissen Mathias and Mathilde Mond. The Mond family founded the Chemical company ICI. The signature was discovered by holding a lamp behind the page. Rudolph and Therese married 16 Sept 1901! 


 Memoiren einer arabischen prinzessin

The signature of Therese Said Ruete, under the Exlibris!

Theresa Said Ruete

Signature of Therese in another copy of the Memoiren.


Memoiren einer arabischen prinzessin Rosenberg 1886

 Name publisher Luckhardt pasted over with the name of H. Rosenberg  (Hugo Mewis)
Hugo Mewis took voer Berlag Rsoenberg in 1900 but

In a quarter of the Memoiren has the name and address of publisher Luckhardt been pasted over with a paper slip  with the printed text ‘Berlin W. Verlag von H. Rosenberg (Hugo Mewis)’ This paper-slip is found on the copies with a cloth binding as well as the ones with the paper binding. According to  E. van Donzel the first issue is published by  H. Rosenberg (Hugo Mewis) and not by Luckhardt. However despite a very extensive search in many libraries, no copy has been found with the name of Rosenberg printed directly on the title page which makes the “Rosenberg  claim” most unlikely. Hermann Rosenberg, the founder of the firm had died already in 1873, but after his death the company was continued under the same name but the company was run by Ernst Meyerhoff (see Online catalogue of the Deutsche National Bibliothek: d-nb.info/ 1107414385)   and from 1900 his employee Hugo Mewis became the owner (see Online catalogue of the  Deutsche National Bibliothek: d-nb.info/ 1107414393) The paper slips have  probably been pasted on when Hugo Mewis had not yet taken over the business  because two copies have owner entries assumed to be from before 1900: one copy of the first edition has a dedication by Emily in Arabic to her son (our book) and one  copy of the first edition contains many corrections by Emily’s daughter Rosalie intended for a new German edition.

When the Memoiren were first published in 1886 the Rosenberg Verlag also had a loan library in Berlin. In theory the copies with the sticker could have been part of that loan library, however there are no visible "Ex Library" signs on these copies. But this would not explain  the name Hugo Mewis at that time.

Book details:   Extremely Rare. The book has a personal handwritten dedication in Arabic to her beloved son Rudolph, including her signature, see the slide-show!!!!!

A manuscript note on graph paper in German has been added in, but this is unreadable to us.

The book-plate / ex-libris of Bibi's son Rudolph Ruete has also been glued in plus his handwritten signature

On the title page the name of the publisher Luckhardt has been pasted over with a sticker named "Berlin W. Verlag H. Rosenbeg (Hugo Mewis) " However the colophon at the end of the volume states that the book was printed by "Buchdruckerei von Friedrich Luckhardt Berlin"

We have only volume 1.

Approx. 900 books that belonged to Rudolph Ruete have been left to the Leiden university in 1937  (see Ref 4) He was a friend of the princess and her son.   This library is called the Said-Ruete Library that currently resides in the NINO institute in Leiden.


  1. An Arabian Princess between two worlds by E. van Donzel published by Brill  Leiden 1993
  2. 2015 Only the " Outward Appearance"  of a harem? Reading the memoirs of an Arabian princess as Material text by Kate Roy 13/1/2015 in Distinctions That Matter / Fictions Economiques  Belphegor literature populaire et culture  Comment: Interesting but not sure if all the conclusions make sense. Again no full analysis of the different  German and English first edition issues (with different covers)
  3. G.J. Kolff, De gedenkschriften eener Arabische prinses, long summary with comments of Emily's Memoirs in De Gids Jaargang 61 (1897) deel 3 p 85-106. This paper has not been quoted / referenced in any of the standard works discussing the Memoirs.
  4. Hielke van der Wijk, Het leven van Salme (1844-1924) prinses van Oman en Zanzibar, en de vroege uitgaven van haar memoires.(Jaarboek van het  Nederlands genootschap van Bibliofielen (pages 183-205) 2017
  5. Boekenwereld Jos Damen 25 (2008-2009) page 231 Waarom een princes uit Zanzibar trouwde met een Duitse koopman en hoe  haar bibliotheek in Leiden terecht kwam. ( Summary of the story of Bibi Salme and how her library (including the manuscripts of her memoirs) ended up in Leiden University  (oosters instituut)).                                                                             
  6.  In 1937 the Said Ruete library was given to the Oosters Instituut of the University of Leiden  run by Professor Snouck Hurgronje to celebrate the friendship of Bibi Salme and her son Rudolph Ruete with professor Snouck Hurgronje. The books in the library contain some interesting manuscript letters including one by the archaeologist / spy Max von Oppenheim to Rudolph Said Ruete which contains the following sentence: ‘Sie gehören tatsächlich zu den wenigen, die, wie ich, dieser Art mit der arabischen Welt Beziehungen haben, was bei Ihnen ja gar nicht zu verwundern ist, sind Siedoch der Sohn einer arabischen Prinzessin.". Also a book with many letters by captain G.J. Eccles is included in the library.

The  Said-Ruete library can be found in  www.nino-leiden.nl

De manuscripts and papers of the Ruete family are in the University  Leiden, www.bibliotheek.leidenuniv.nl

Below you find a Youtube film in German showing the beautiful final resting place in Germany of Bibi Salme.