September 18, 2001 Library of Congress Publishes New Set of Guides to African and Middle Eastern Collections

Three-volume set includes separate guides to Africana, Near East, Hebraic Collections

Contact: Audrey Fischer (202) 707-0022

The Library of Congress has recently published Library of Congress African and Middle Eastern Collections: Illustrated Guides. The three-volume set includes individual illustrated guides to the Library's Africana, Hebraic and Near East collections. Prepared by award-winning designer Robert L. Wiser, they narrate the growth of the Library's extensive and comprehensive holdings of the intellectual heritage of more than 70 countries and countless peoples, lands and cultures of sub-Saharan and North Africa, Israel and the Middle East.

The Library's African and Middle Eastern Division (AMED) was established in 1978. In her Foreword to each illustrated guide, Beverly Gray, chief of AMED, traces the establishment and transition of each of the division's three sections - the African, Hebraic and Near East - into the Library's African and Middle Eastern collections.

"We hope readers will glean from these works the depth and breadth, as well as the sheer beauty, of our holdings," said Ms. Gray. "These materials have been gathered for use by the United States Congress as well as to assist scholars and researchers with their work."

Each publication includes visually appealing reproductions of items from the collections. Library of Congress Africana Collections: An Illustrated Guide, written by Joanne Zellers, Africana area specialist in the African Section, highlights in its 55 illustrations such items as rare books, manuscripts, maps, art work and photographs, and contemporary documentary resources from sub-Saharan Africa and other parts of the world.

In Library of Congress Hebraic Collections: An Illustrated Guide, author Michael Grunberger, head of the Hebraic Section, has chosen to include 56 illustrations such as cuneiform tablets, manuscript and published sacred texts, rare books and maps, ornamented marriage contracts, and publications of American Jewry.

Library of Congress Near East Collections: An Illustrated Guide, written by Levon Avdoyan, Armenian and Georgian Area Specialist in the Near East Section, reproduces 65 items including early manuscript Korans, inscribed Armenian ecclesiastical fabric and manuscript liturgies, rare photographs from 18th-century Central Asia, Persian calligraphy sheets, Ottoman incunabula, and items which illustrate the heritage of the Near East in America.

Made possible by support from the James Madison Council, a national, private-sector advisory council dedicated to helping the Library of Congress share its unique resources with the nation and the world, the illustrated guides to the Library's collections feature materials in various formats. They include guides to the Library's collections of manuscripts; prints and photographs; rare books; maps; music, theater and dance; Hispanic and Portuguese, European, and Asian materials.

Library of Congress African and Middle Eastern Collections: Illustrated Guides - a boxed three-volume set totaling 200 pages, including 176 illustrations - is available for $37 from the Library of Congress Sales Shop (credit card orders 202-707-0204) and from the U.S. Government Printing Office (stock number 030-001-00179-2).


PR 01-132
ISSN 0731-3527