Manuscripts of the Islamic World

The Princeton University Library has some 9,500 manuscripts of the Islamic world, chiefly bound paper codices, containing a total of more than 20,000 texts. The manuscripts are located in the Department of Special Collections, at the Harvey S. Firestone Memorial Library. Robert Garrett (Princeton Class of 1897) collected approximately two-thirds of these manuscripts and donated them to the Library in 1942. Since then, the Library has continued to acquire manuscripts by gift and purchase. The manuscripts are chiefly in Arabic but also include Persian, Ottoman Turkish, and other languages of the extended Islamic world written in Arabic script. They date from the early centuries of Islam through the fall of the Ottoman Empire. Most of the manuscripts originated in Arabia, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and examples also exist from Moorish Spain and the Maghreb in the West, to the Indian sub-continent and the Indonesian archipelago in the East, and even sub-Sahara.

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Please visit the Princeton Digital Library of Manuscripts from the Islamic World DPUL exhibit to browse a major component of a four-year initiative made possible by generous support from the David A. Gardner '69 Magic Project. Additional support for digitization was received through Princeton University's Council of the Humanities.

Collection Highlights