Don C. Skemer, Curator of Manuscripts

Manuscripts holds some 14,000 linear feet of original research materials acquired by gift and purchase since the 1890s. Holdings span five millennia of recorded history, from the ancient Near East to modern literature. Subject coverage is international in scope, with particular strength in Islamic manuscripts (Arabic, Persian, and Ottoman Turkish). Most often consulted are English, American, and Latin American literary archives and manuscripts, including Sylvia Beach, Aubrey Beardsley, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Carlos Fuentes, Richard Halliburton, Osip Mandelstam, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Allen Tate, Anthony Trollope, and many others. Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, publishing archives, book illustration and photography, and American history are other major areas. The broad range of holdings is underscored by items on display in Welcome Additions, including an English royal charter with the Great Seal (1265), a French music manuscript (ca. 1300), a Chinese Qur’ān (1726–27), an illustrated journal on the African slave trade (1797–98), a Roman Vishniac’s photo portraits of Albert Einstein (1941), and manuscripts by Nobel laureates Toni Morrison and Mario Vargas Llosa.

For more than a century, our world-class manuscripts collections have supported instruction and research at Princeton University, while serving the wider world of learning through research visits, digitization, exhibitions, and publications. Holdings enrich a growing number of Princeton undergraduate classes, graduate seminars, and special summer institutes and workshops.

Manuscripts Collections Highlights