1886 Memoiren einer Arabischen prinzessin 1886 first edition first issue by Bibi Salme / Emily Ruete

memoiren einer arabischen prinzessin Emily Ruete

Memoiren einer Arabischen Prinzessin. First edition first Issue Volume 1 in an original contemporary (non standard)  cloth binding bound by the bookbinder J.R. Herzog Leipzig.  Volume 2 in different later binding.. Volume 1 has heavily gilded page edges. Author / Publisher: Emily Ruete (= Bibi Salme) Berlin Friedrich Luckhardt 1886 The formal name of the author Salme (bint) Said (bin)Sultan is printed in calligraphic Arabic on the title page. Content 196, 190 p. Title on cover and spine of volume 1 in gold print.

Memoiren einer Arabischen prinzessin

                                                                          Title page first edition  

Book details: Extremely Rare first German edition first Luckhardt issue! of the first edition. No other copy of the Memoiren with this very fine (but non standard) contemporary cloth binding (by the binder J.R. Herzog) and heavily gilded edges has been found so far.

The Memoiren were sold with a standard  cloth pictorial publisher binding (13 Mark)  or with a pictorial paper cover (10 Mark)  Most copies found of the Memoiren are  of the cheaper paper variant that have been rebound, sometimes the original paper covers have been bound with the book. The standard illustration on both type of covers covers shows the palaces and clock tower  in Stonetown Zanzibar. The paper cover of the first auflage (first issue) has been printed on blue paper.

One copy of the first issue in a standard red pictorial publisher cloth binding (the only one found so far) was sold in the past at Christie's, but this copy is untraceable. All the German issues (Auflagen) by Luckhardt in the original  pictorial publisher binding are very rare.

Each of the four issues of the Memoiren in a cloth binding had a different colour. The first issue was a red binding the second Turquoise and the third and fourth red-brown. The reason for the first issue being bound in a red binding is probably that the flag of Oman and Zanzibar was plain red. 

A quarter of the books with cloth publisher binding or with the paper covers have a sticker  "Berlin W verlag von H Rosenberg (Hugo Mewis)"  pasted over the name of publisher Luckhardt on the title page and on the paper cover. The reason for these stickers is still a mystery.

The first German editions are  higher quality books than the English editions (especially when compared with the Appleton edition) beautiful paper and fine printing. Bibi Salme wrote the book in German so the text is also more authentic than the English translations.

This book is the genuine( ! ) autobiography of Princess Bibi Salme daughter of Sayyid Sai’id Ibn Sultan, ruler of Oman and Zanzibar who escaped from the palace and her country to marry the German merchant Ruete, they lived in Germany and got three children. The book presents the reader with an intimate picture of life in Zanzibar between 1850 and 1865, and an inside portrait of her brothers Majid bin Said and Barghash bin Said who both became sultans of Zanzibar. After the death of her husband, Emily Ruete was caught up in the colonial plans of Otto von Bismarck.

  1. An Arabian Princess between two worlds by E. van Donzel published by Brill  Leiden 1993
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. Jos Damen, Boekenwereld tijdschrift voor boek en prent, van Tilt 25e jaargang nr 3 (Maart 2009) page 231 "waarom een prinses uit Zanzibar trouwde met een Duitse koopman En Hoe haar bibliotheek in Leiden terechtkwam"
  5. 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)