Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary
 

The Autobiography of Munshi Abdullah, 1918

Summary Information

Abstract

Munshi Abdullah was a writer, interpreter, and translator of Malay. The collection contains a two volume, 335 page typescript of the autobiography of Munshi Abdullah, as translated from the Malay by W.G. Shellabear.

At a Glance

Bib ID 4492561 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Abdullah, Munshi, 1796-1854 ; Shellabear, W. G. (William Girdlestone), 1862-1947
Title The Autobiography of Munshi Abdullah, 1918
Physical Description 0.25 linear feet (0.25 linear feet; 1 box)
Language(s) English .
Access

This collection is open for research.

Onsite storage.

Arrangement

Arrangement

This collection is arranged in one series in original order.

Description

Scope and Contents

This collection contains a two volume, 335 page typescript of the autobiography of Munshi Abdullah, as translated from the Malay by W.G. Shellabear. Shellabear's translated version was published in 1918 and consists of fourteen chapters.

  • The Autobiography of Munshi Abdullah, 1918

    This series contains a two volume, 335 page typescript of the autobiography of Munshi Abdullah, as translated from the Malay by W.G. Shellabear. Shellabear's translated version was published in 1918 and consists of fourteen chapters.

Burke Library record group:

Missionary Research Library Archives: MRL4, Southeast Asia

Using the Collection

Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Onsite storage.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material in this collection may be protected by copyright and other rights. Information concerning copyright, fair use, and reproduction requests can be consulted at Columbia's Copyright Advisory Office.

Preferred Citation

Item description, MRL4: The Autobiography of Munshi Abdullah, 1918, box #, folder #, The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University in the City of New York.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary

Processing Information

Material was cataloged by Lynn A. Grove on 1988-07-19. Materials were placed in new acid-free folders and boxes. The finding aid was created by Debbie Liu in 2012 with the support of the Henry Luce Foundation, and edited by Leah Edelman in 2020.

Revision Description

2020-08-25 PDF converted to EAD and description updated by Leah Edelman.

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

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Subject

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Abdullah, Munshi, 1796-1854 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

Munshi Abdullah (1796-1854), born Abdullah bin Abdul Karir, was a writer, teacher, and translator of Malay, the national language of Malaysia. Abdullah was born in the Malaysian state of Malacca and spent a significant amount of time in Singapore as an interpreter and tutor of Malay. At age 13, Munshi Abdullah began teaching and writing Koranic texts to Indian soldiers of the Malacca garrison stationed at the Malaccan Fort. From these soldiers he was given the Malay nickname "Munshi", or teacher of language. In December 1810, Abdullah was hired as a copyist and scribe for British East Indian administrator and founder of the port City of Singapore, Sir Stamford Raffles. From 1815, Abdullah worked as a translator for the London Missionary Society, translating the Gospels into Malay as well as teaching the language to British missionaries. In 1819, he arrived in Singapore to begin work as an interpreter and taught Malay to British and American missionaries and Indian soldiers. Additionally, Abdullah also occasionally served as a secretary to Sir Stamford Raffles and was a printer to the press for the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions in Singapore.

Abdullah's writings are considered to be highly influential and mark an early stage in the departure from classic to modern Malay literature. Munshi Abdullah is best known for his journalistic approach and colloquial style about the life and times of the Malay people. His most famous publication, Hikayat Abdullah (Abdullah's Story), was written between 1840 and 1843 and was published in 1849. Hikayat Abdullah was one of the first Malay texts published commercially.