Treasures of the Manuscripts Division offers a selection of extraordinary holdings that have been collected since the late 19th century. The Division holds approximately 12,000 linear feet of materials, spanning five millennia of recorded history, from the Ancient Near East to the present. The manuscripts are located in the Manuscripts Division, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library (at the Harvey S. Firestone Memorial Library). Note: The Digital Library of Islamic Manuscripts is so substantial that it is a separate section in DPUL. For more information about holdings, visit the online catalog, finding aids site, or contact Public Services.
The most frequently consulted materials are English, American, and Latin American literary manuscripts, publishers’ archives, and papers of authors, screenwriters, literary agents, and book illustrators since the 19th century. Significant holdings include the papers of Reinaldo Arenas, Sylvia Beach, Aubrey Beardsley, James Gould Cozzens, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Zelda Fitzgerald, Carlos Fuentes, Caroline Gordon, Richard Halliburton, Sir Frank Kermode, Stanley Kunitz, Osip Mandelstam, Toni Morrison, Allen Tate, Booth Tarkington, Ridgely Torrence, Carl Van Doren, Mario Vargas Llosa, and many other authors. The Morris L. Parrish and Robert Taylor collections contain rich holdings of British literary manuscripts and correspondence. There are particularly strong holdings for Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Anthony Trollope, and Aubrey Beardsley. American theater collections include the papers of Max Gordon, Otto Kahn, and Richard Schechner, as well as scripts of Woody Allen. Princeton is well known for its archival holdings on American publishers, including the largely complete archives of Charles Scribner's Sons, Henry Holt, John Day Company, The Quarterly Review of Literature, The Hudson Review, and Story magazine. In addition, there are selected archives of Doubleday, Harper and Brothers, G. P. Putnam, and Princeton University Press; archives of Harold Ober Associates and other literary agencies; files of Harold Loeb, Saxe Commins, William Jovanovich, John Lehmann, and other publishers and editors; and archives of P.E.N. American Center.
The Manuscripts Division has holdings of global significance, beginning with collections of cuneiform and cylinder seals from the Ancient Near East; Egyptian papyri (Hieroglyphic, Hieratic, Demotic, Greek, Latin, Coptic, and Arabic); medieval, Renaissance, Byzantine, and post-Byzantine Greek manuscripts; medieval documents and charters with seals; the largest holdings of Islamic manuscripts in North America, including Arabic, Persian, and Ottoman Turkish; Ethiopic manuscripts and magic scrolls, 18th-19th centuries; and Mesoamerican manuscripts in the indigenous languages of the Americas, such as Nahuatl and K'iche' Maya; Modern Greek literature and history, including personal papers and documentary photographs, 19th-20th centuries. The Manuscripts Division has strong holdings on U.S. history, especially the Colonial and Early National periods, including papers of the Livingston (especially Edward Livingston) Delafield, Blair-Lee, Rush, and Stockton families; papers of selected Princeton faculty since the 18th century, chiefly in the humanities and science; the Andre De Coppet Collection, with special strength in American historical autographs (including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln); Western Americana, including personal and family papers, overland journals, and documentary photographs of of the Old West and Native Americans, 19th-20th centuries; History of Science, including the Kurt Gödel Papers and Albert Einstein "Duplicate Archive" from the Institute for Advanced Study; and selected papers of Princeton University faculty, with an emphasis on literature, creative writing, art history, physics, astrophysics, civil engineering, and mathematics. Scattered throughout the Manuscripts Division are a wealth of works of art on paper by many British artists and illustrators, most with a literary association. Worthy of special mention are approximately 700 photographs by Lewis Carroll in the Parrish Collection; hundreds of photographs of writers by Man Ray, Berenice Abbott, Gisele Freund, and other well-known photographers in the Sylvia Beach Papers, papers of sculptor and photographer George Segal and photographer Ruth Bernhard, and selected correspondence of Helen Frankenthaler.