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Near East Collection, Yale University Library: Special Collections

Research guide for Islamic and Middle East Studies, and Arabic, Persian, and Turkish languages and literatures.

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Special Collections related to the Middle East at Yale

Finding aids are descriptive guides to all the archival and manuscript collections held at Yale.

The department of Manuscripts and Archives in Sterling Memorial Library and the Beinecke hold a number of important archive collections related to the Middle East; primarily concerned with nineteenth- and twentieth-century political & diplomatic history and missionary activities in the area, though there are also materials relating to the cinema & performing arts. These include:

  • the Ali al-Kassar collection of manuscript music and comic plays from early 20th-century Egypt (Arabic)
  • the Palestinian liberation movement collection of posters and other documentary items (Arabic)
  • the Arabic film poster collection of posters and other publicity materials related to the film industry (Arabic)
  • the Syrian poster collection dealing with political, cultural, and health topics (Arabic)
  • the Ghassem Ghani Collection of personal papers dealing with 19th-century Iranian diplomacy (Persian)
  • the Ernest Jäckh papers, correspondence, reports, and other material relating to political and diplomatic affairs in Turkey and the Middle East from 1908 to 1921, particularly in relation to interests of the German Foreign Office in that area (German)
  • papers from The Inquiry, a group of experts assembled at the request of President Wilson to collect and collate data in preparation for a peace conference following World War I (English)
  • Islamic fundamentalist audio recordings, thought to have originated in Osama bin Laden's compound in Kandahar, Afghanistan (mostly Arabic)
  • the Sudan collection, printed material and photographs relating to political, economic, and social conditions in Sudan (English, Arabic, and French)
  • archival materials related to the late 19th-century history of Palestine, the establishment of the state of Israel, and the migration of Iraqi Jews in 1950-51 are described in this list prepared by the Yale University Judaica Collection

The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library holds over 3,500 manuscripts in Arabic, Persian, and Ottoman Turkish in various subject areas, including language and literature, theology, biography, philosophy, and natural and social sciences. In addition, the Beinecke holds a variety of other materials including personal papers, photographs, maps, and other documents relating to the Middle East, including:

  • the Yale Papyrus Collection, including items in Arabic, Syriac, Aramaic, and Persian.
  • the Land of Zenj photograph collection, which includes items related to Arab coastal settlements in East Africa.
  • the Bert Stimmel Papers, documenting the life and professional career of American-born performer and artistic director Bert Stimmel, who from 1972-1999 was artistic director of the Caracalla Dance Company in Beirut, Lebanon (English)
  • click here to view a sample search of the Beinecke's digital collections, in this case for items related to Syria.

The Babylonian Collection is the largest collection of documents, seals, and other artifacts from ancient Mesopotamia in the United States, and one of the leading collections of cuneiform tablets in the world. This collection is housed on the third floor of the Sterling Memorial Library.

Primary-source materials, both analog & digital, related to the Middle East are also held in these collections, all discoverable using Orbis and the Yale Finding Aid Database:

Librarian for Middle East Studies

Robin Dougherty's picture
Robin Dougherty
Sterling Memorial Library Room 333A
Department of Area Studies and Humanities Research Support

PO Box 208240
New Haven CT 06520-8240

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New Haven CT 06511
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