About the Near Eastern Collections
The Near East Section, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1995,
has custody of materials in all formats-from exquisite and important
manuscripts to early printed books; from historic and contemporary newspapers
in microfilm and fiche to political and cultural ephemera-in over 40
languages of the area known as the Near East, including the countries
and peoples of the Caucasus and Central Asia.
Its Arabic, Persian, and Turkish and Turkic language collections are
renowned both for their quality and quantity, while the Armenian, Georgian
and Central Asian language materials are rapidly taking on the aspect
of major research collections. The largest collection-the Arabic-is rich
in manuscripts and in post-1945 printed materials, though it continues
to acquire missing early imprints. The Armenian collection is representative
of the literary tradition-in manuscripts and printed works-accomplished
both in Armenia and in its extensive, historical diaspora. The Persian
collection is particularly strong in politics, as well as splendidly
illuminated and decorated manuscripts and early imprints. The Turkish
collection, while already strong both in modern works and those printed
in Arabic script, continues to acquire renowned early imprints.. Efforts
to collect works published in Georgia and in the NIS (Newly Independent
States) of the Caucasus and Central Asia are proving remarkably fruitful.
The Section hosts a variety of special events, seminars, briefings,
exhibits, lecture series and other programs to highlight both its collections
and the scholars and researchers who make use of it.
The Near East Section's specialists in the languages, countries and
cultures of the Near East offer group and individual briefings both on
site and on location. Queries from researchers and scholars are encouraged
via mail, telephone, FAX or electronic mail.