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Frauke Heard-Bey and David Heard collection

Call Number



1964-2017, inclusive


Heard-Bey, Frauke, 1941-
Heard, David


68.37 Linear Feet in 111 boxes and approximately 4 flat oversize boxes, and 200 volumes.

Language of Materials

English , Arabic , German .


Books, periodicals, government publications, reports, magazines, newspapers, and other printed material related to the history of Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates, the oil industry in the region, and government publications, collected by Frauke Heard-Bey and David Heard.

Biographical note

Frauke Heard-Bey, historian and political scientist, was born in Germany in 1941, the daughter of Erich Bey, Rear-Admiral in the German Navy, who was killed while in command of the battleship Scharnhorst, during a battle with British forces in the North Sea in 1943. With her mother and siblings, they settled in western Germany after World War II. Beginning in 1961, Heard-Bey studied history, political science and English at the University of Heidelberg, where she met a British student, David Heard, who would later become her husband. She later pursued her doctoral studies at the Freie Universität Berlin, where she received her doctorate in history in 1967, with her dissertation published in 1969 as "Hauptstadt und Staatsumwälzung Berlin 1919. Problematik und Scheitern der Rätebewegung in der Berliner Kommunalverwaltung (Stuttgart: W. Kohlhammer Verlag).

In September 1967, she married David Heard and moved to Abu Dhabi, in what was then the Trucial States, where he had been working as a petroleum engineer for several years. In 1969, she began working for the Centre for Documentation and Research, a department of the Emiri Court of Abu Dhabi, under the direction of Dr. Muhammad Morsy Abdullah, and based at Qasr al Hosn, the historic fortress and residence of the ruling Al Nahyan family of Abu Dhabi. At that time, as local archival documentation of Abu Dhabi and the other emirates was sparse, a program was developed to locate archival records pertaining to the Trucial States in the national archives of other countries, such as the United Kingdom, the United States, and others, and to microfilm or photocopy such records, so that the copies could be made available at the Centre. Heard-Bey, as a specialist in modern German history, was tasked with locating records in the Bundesarchiv in Bonn (at that time), as well as the records of the Auswärtiges Amt (German Foreign Ministry). She also worked with colleagues to coordinate efforts in other archives, to develop workflows for processing archives locally, and to perform research and assist with efforts in the historic preservation of the Qasr al Hosn complex.

In due time, however, she developed an expertise in the history of the Trucial States and the surrounding region, and began publishing in academic journals and presenting papers at conferences in Europe, the United Kingdom, and North America. In 1982 she published "From Trucial States to United Arab Emirates. A Society in Transition" (London: Longman), the first in-depth scholarly treatment of the history and society of this newly-formed country. The book has remained in print since then, with subsequent updated editions in 1996 (Longman) and 2004 (Dubai: Motivate Publishing), as well as Arabic (Motivate, 2007), French (Paris: Édition Karthala, 2009), and German (Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag, 2010). In 2017 she published a volume of her selected articles and scholarly papers titled "Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates and the Gulf Region. Fifty Years of Transformation" (Berlin: Gerlach).

Heard-Bey retired from the Centre in 2008, by which time it had grown substantially, forming the basis of the present-day National Archives of the United Arab Emirates. She has remained active in a number of roles, holding membership in several scholarly societies, including the British Society for Middle East Studies (BRISMES) and the Deutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft Vorderer Orient (DAVO); as well as serving on the boards, or in leadership roles, of several local organizations, including the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH), the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation (ADMAF), the German Business Council of Abu Dhabi (GeBCAD), and the Emirates Foundation. She was awarded the Bundesverdienstkreuz by German President Richard von Weizsäcker in 1994, and the Abu Dhabi Award from H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed in 2007.

David Heard studied geology and engineering at Keele University, in Staffordshire, England, and shortly after completing his degree, arrived in Abu Dhabi in August 1963, to begin work as a petroleum engineer for Abu Dhabi Petroleum Company (ADCO). Initially he worked in the western desert, near Tarif, on what would become the first onshore oil producing sites in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. For much of his first two decades he worked in the field as an engineer, but beginning in 1980, he was based primarily in the city of Abu Dhabi, representing the interests of the company to the Government of Abu Dhabi. Upon retirement from the company in 2006, he served as a consultant to the Abu Dhabi Supreme Petroleum Council until 2011.

Since that time, he has been active researching and writing about the history of the development of the petroleum industry in Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates, publishing a series of books in succession, including "From Pearls to Oil: How the Oil Industry Came to the United Arab Emirates" (Dubai: Motivate, 2011); "Oil Men, Territorial Ambitions, and Political Agents: From Pearls to Oil in the Trucial States of the Gulf" (Berlin: Gerlach Press, 2019), and "Trucial Coast Diaries: On the Way from Pearls to Oil in the Trucial States of the Gulf" (Berlin: Gerlach Press, 2020).

Heard has been a long-time member of the Royal Society for Asian Affairs and the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), and was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1990, and the rank of Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 2000. He and his wife continue to live in Abu Dhabi, where they have lived continuously since the 1960s and raised their three children.

[Source: website "Frauke Heard Bey,"; LinkedIn profile for David Heard,; and article in The National, "Meet the British expat celebrating 50 years of living and working in Abu Dhabi," by James Langton and Bushra AlHashemi," November 20, 2013,, all accessed on 3 July 2021.]

I. n. .


This collection is grouped into loose categories, as determined by the processing archivist, and meant to reflect the various areas of activity of Heard and Heard-Bey. Items within these categories are arranged primarily in alphabetic order, by title or creator, or in chronological order.

The physical arrangement of materials is split between smaller format items, such as brochures, booklets, pamphlets, or single issues of periodicals, which are stored in archival file boxes, and larger runs of periodicals or books, which for the most part are stored on the open shelves. The former category of materials is listed by box and folder number in the archival inventory, while the latter materials have been given provisional sequential item numbers, which will be replaced by library classification numbers (Library of Congress numbers) once they have received full bibliographic cataloging.

Content Description

The Frauke Heard-Bey and David Heard collection consists of books, periodicals, government publications, reports, magazines, newspapers, and other printed material related to the history of Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Gulf region; the oil industry in the region, and government publications, collected by Frauke Heard-Bey and David Heard over the course of over five decades living and working in Abu Dhabi.

Most of the materials are connected with their professional and intellectual activities in Abu Dhabi, in particular with Frauke Heard-Bey's role as a historian, researcher and longtime employee of the Center for Documentation and Research in Abu Dhabi; and of David Heard's work with the Abu Dhabi Onshore Oil Company (ADCO) and later the Abu Dhabi National Oil Corporation (ADNOC). As such, these materials can be consulted for the information contained within the individual files and publications, but taken as a whole, they also reflect the Heard-Bey's engagement with and interest in the growth and development of a number of different facets of Abu Dhabi and the UAE, including its cultural and intellectual life, government policy, legal system, economy, and the petroleum industry, among other areas. Accordingly, materials are loosely grouped into several broad areas, including:

Business and economy: Chiefly consisting of specialist publications reporting on and analyzing economic conditions in the UAE and the Gulf region, as well as publications from local chambers of commerce and other business organizations. Includes directories of businesses, statistical compendia, financial analyses, and guides to trade shows and exhibitions.

Cultural and general: This series comprises material of a more general interest and relevance to the cultural history of Abu Dhabi and the UAE, with an emphasis on publications from arts and cultural organizations, historical works about the region, and programs from exhibitions or events.

Education: Chiefly focused on higher education in Abu Dhabi, with publications from area colleges and universities such as the Higher College of Technology, and its constituent Abu Dhabi Womens and Mens Colleges, Zayed University and UAEU (United Arab Emirates University, in Al Ain), but also including materials and textbooks reflecting primary and secondary school curricula.

Government publications: Materials issued by the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, and the government of the United Arab Emirates, with a few items from other emirates within the UAE as well. Includes runs of general and specialized statistical abstracts, compendia of laws and decrees (Official Gazettes), and annual reports of the Central Bank and Currency Board of the UAE.

Law: Primarily specialist publications about the legal system of the UAE, including serial publications and newsletters by private publishers or legal firms, meant to assist investors and companies in understanding and working within the legal system of the UAE.

Oil and energy sector: Annual reports, newsletters, directories and specialist publications, chiefly from Abu Dhabi-based petroleum and gas companies, such as ADCO (Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations), ADMA (Abu Dhabi Marine Areas), ADMA-OPCO (Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company), GASCO (Abu Dhabi Gas Industries, Ltd.), ZADCO (Zakum Development Company), and ADNOC (Abu Dhabi National Oil Company), the latter of which eventually absorbed most of these other companies. Also included are a smaller number of publications from foreign oil corporations active in the region, other energy utilities, and specialist publications.

Newsletters, press cuttings, and other periodicals: Largely comprised of press cuttings, newsletters and news digests about the region, including the Cyprus-based Arab Periodical Service (A.P.S.) and Middle East Economic Survey (MEES), the Washington-based electronic newsletter, GulfWire, and Abu Dhabi-based press clippings digest, PAVAC, but also including collections of press cuttings arranged in chronologic or thematic order. Press cuttings, usually from the local media in Abu Dhabi, are divided into chronological and thematic subseries, with the former having been assembled by David Heard, and focusing largely on the oil and energy sector, finance, and regional politics, and covering the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s. The thematic cuttings files, assembled by Frauke Heard-Bey, range from the late 1990s to the 2010s. Also included in this series are special issues and supplements to local newspapers (Gulf News, Khaleej Times, Emirates News, and The National), typically issued on the UAE National Day, Accession Day (during the lifetime of Sheikh Zayed) or in commemoration of anniversaries of other GCC countries. A smaller set of periodicals include individual issues of publications from the region, but otherwise, larger runs of periodicals are included in the series to which they are thematically related (such as business and economy, oil industry, etc.)

Other GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries: Materials similar to those in the other categories, but produced by government agencies, cultural institutions, and other organizations in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, or materials that focused on the GCC countries as a group.

Research materials and projects: The "research materials" component of this series may overlap with the series "Newsletters, press cuttings and other periodicals," but differs from it in that the material, originally housed in binders, included government documents, statistics, booklets, and ephemera, alongside cuttings from local and foreign newspapers. Most of this material dates from the 1960s and 1970s, and is especially strong with coverage of events leading up to the formation of the United Arab Emirates in 1971. While several binders were arranged in chronological order, others were divided according to topics of interest to Frauke Heard-Bey, and this order has been maintained. The "projects" portion of this series contains materials gathered together based on specific research projects carried out by Heard-Bey.

Scholarly conferences, symposia, and publications: Materials related to academic or public policy conferences and symposia, including programs, papers, and notes taken by Heard or Heard-Bey while in attendance, but also publications geared for a scholarly or specialist audience on topics ranging from agriculture, animal husbandry, archaeology, art history, natural history, and regional geopolitics. Most of the conferences and symposia were hosted by organizations based in Abu Dhabi, including the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) and the Crown Prince's Court. Also included are extensive runs of specialist journals, including the "Bulletin of the Emirates Natural History Group;" "DAVO-Nachrichten," the publication of the Deutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft Vorderer Orient; and "Orient," the publication of the Deutsches Orient-Institut; among others.

Telephone directories: Produced by local telephone utilities in Abu Dhabi, as well as those issued nationwide, covering private and business phone numbers, primarily from the mid-1980s through the mid-2000s. Also included, however, are a few telephone directories from the early 1970s, including early directories for the governments of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates.

Conditions governing access

The collection is open for use in the Reading Room of the Archives and Special Collections department of the NYU Abu Dhabi Library.

Conditions governing use

This collection is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use materials in the collection in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

Preferred citation

Identification of item, date; Frauke Heard-Bey and David Heard collection; MC.064; box number; folder number or item identifier; Archives and Special Collections, New York University Abu Dhabi Library.

Immediate source of acquistion

Donation of Frauke Heard-Bey and David Heard, received in multiple increments, 2018-2021.

Collection processed by

Brad Bauer

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2023-09-04 16:53:48 +0400.
Using Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language: English

Processing Information

Processed by Brad Bauer, with assistance from Maria Chaves, as well as Muhamed Shehryar Hamid and other student assistants from NYU Abu Dhabi, 2018-2021.


NYU Abu Dhabi, Archives and Special Collections
NYU Abu Dhabi
New York University Abu Dhabi, C-2
P.O. 129188
Abu Dhabi