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The Near East Collections at Princeton University Library: RARE BOOKS & SPECIAL COLLECTIONS (RBSC)

This guide will introduce you to the history and scope of our Near East Collections here at Princeton University Library, and will also give you the basic tools you will need to start navigating the Collections themselves.

THE NEAR EAST SPECIAL COLLECTIONS AT PRINCETON UNIVERSITY LIBRARY

The Princeton University Library's Near East manuscript Collections include more than 20,000 titles in 11,000 codexes; predominantly in Arabic, but there are also many items in Persian and Ottoman Turkish.    The Collections owe their beginnings to the remarkable manuscripts collected and donated by Robert Garrett (class of 1897) from 1900-1943.  The Collections continued to grow under the tenure of Enno Littmann, librarian of what was then called the Oriental Collections, and through the bequests of the personal libraries of Rudolf-Ernest Brunnow and David Paton.  By 1965, the Islamic Collection had become the best in North America, thanks to the efforts made by Rudolph Mach, curator of the Near East Collections from 1955-1977.

The Garrett Collection is one of the most important scholarly resources of the Library's Near East Collections, and accounts for approximately two-thirds of what is considered to be the greatest collection of it's kind in North America.  In addition to manuscripts, the Collections also include papyri, calligraphy, cuneiform tablets, stone seals, a numismatic collection, and modern and personal papers relating to the Near East. The Collections are housed in the department of Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC) at Firestone Library and at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library.

An introductory overview of the Princeton Digital Library of Islamic Manuscripts - along with information regarding rights and permissions, ordering of microfilms and photography, and contact information - has been provided here.

For more information on RBSC and its research services, click here.

For more information on Manuscript Resources at Princeton University and Beyond, click here.

RBSC Manuscripts Division also has a News blog. A link to the blog has been provided here.

FINDING AIDS

Princeton University Library Finding Aids are descriptive inventories for archival records and manuscript collections housed at the University Library.  Over 1,700 finding aids from RBSC are now available online. 

Finding Aids for the Near East Collections include materials from RBSC at Firestone Library and the Princeton University Archives and Public Policy Papers held at Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library.

FIRESTONE 1st FLOOR MAP - RBSC

CAMPUS MAP - SEELEY G. MUDD MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY & CONTACT INFORMATION

EXAMPLES FROM PRINCETON'S DIGITAL LIBRARY OF ISLAMIC MANUSCRIPTS

Full page miniature with illuminated floral

decoration on margin from Divan-i Hafiz.

Gift of Robert Garrett, Class of 1897; 1942.


Excerpt from a Work on botany in Arabic. Written

in medium small naskh with elements of nasta'liq in

black ink with use of red headings and entries.

Marginal annotations. Plants Illustrated in watercolor.

Gift of Robert Garrett,Class of 1897; 1942.


Ahlak-i alai binding.  Brown leather with a gold

tooled mandoria with pendants in the center and

4 gold tooled corner pieces in foliage pattern on

upper and lower covers.

Gift of Robert Garrett,Class of 1897; 1942.


Miniature 2 (fol. 17a) , from Sihr al-Bayan.

The Birth of Prince Bi Nazir

("Tavallud-i Shahzadah Bi Nazir").

Gift of Robert Garrett, Class of 1897; 1942.