About the Collections
The Princeton University Library's papyri collections are chiefly preserved in the Manuscripts Division, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, housed in the Harvey S. Firestone Memorial Library. The largest number are Greek documentary papyri, including census and tax registers, military lists, land conveyances, business records, petitions, private letters, and other sources of historical and paleographic interest from Ptolemaic (332-30 B.C.), Roman (30 B.C.-300 A.D.), and Byzantine Egypt (300-650 A.D.). Nearly all were discovered and excavated from the 1890s to the 1920s near the ancient town of Oxyrhynchus (modern, el-Bahnasa); and the towns of the Fayum region (including Philadelphia), Tebtunis (modern, Tell Umm el-Breigat), and Hibeh. Acquired along with the documentary papyri were Greek literary fragments (Aristophanes, Demosthenes, Euripides, Herodotus, Hippocrates, Homer, Isocrates, Theocritus, and Xenophon); sub-literary papyri; and Scripture (New Testament, Epistle of St. James). There are also papyri in the Egyptian languages (Hieroglyphic, Hieratic, Demotic, and Coptic), from the Pharaonic (through 332 B.C.), Ptolemaic (332 to 30 B.C.), and Roman periods; Arabic papyri from the Islamic period (from 640 A.D.); and Latin papyri, mostly from Roman Egypt, as well as one from 6th-century Ravenna. These papyri were acquired from different sources. Note: A smaller number of significant papyri are among the treasures of the Scheide Library and Cotsen Children's Library.