Cambridge University Library

Manuscript Collection & Catalogues

Manuscript Catalogues

Manuscript collections

Leaf from Nizami's 'Khusraw and Shirin'. Ms. Add.207 (Lewis Collection). The Near and Middle Eastern manuscripts collection covers a wide range of texts in Arabic (over 1500 codices), Hebrew (over 1000), Persian (over 1200), Syriac (around 300) and Turkish (around 450). There are also smaller collections in Coptic, Ethiopic, Armenian, Malay, Urdu and languages of Ancient Egypt.

E.G. Browne's personal collection of around 480 codices (Arabic, Persian and Turkish) are also held by the Library. His papers contain an important archive of original and unique Persian material on the first constitutional period in Iran (1905--1911).

There are also collections of personal papers of some British oriental scholars in the 'Janus' catalogue of University archives.

The Library also holds major collections of documents, most notably the Taylor-Schechter Genizah Collection, over 140,000 fragments of documents and texts, principally in Hebrew and Judaeo-Arabic. The Michaelides Collection contains some 2,000 Arabic and Coptic fragments.

An introduction to some of the manuscript collections can be found in Faith and Fable; Islamic manuscripts from Cambridge University Library (PDF)

Bibliography on the Near and Middle Eastern Collections

The Library also holds, on deposit, a collection of Islamic manuscripts belonging to Corpus Christi College and two sections of the Pote collection which are the property of King's College and Eton College respectively.

Consulting manuscripts.

Manuscripts are consulted in the Manuscripts Reading Room, where a fetching slip should be completed for each item requested. For Oriental manuscripts, the classmark should have the following structure.

  • [Two letters] + Number e.g. Qq.292
  • Add. + Number e.g. Add.1145
  • Or. + Number e.g. Or.233

Reproduction of manuscripts

Manuscripts cannot be photocopied but various types of photographic reproductions can be obtained. Restrictions apply only to materials considered too fragile or damaged for photographic procedures.

You can submit a request for photographic images by completeing an order form for each item. If you require assistance with a manuscript written in a Near and Middle Eastern language, please contact the Near and Middle Eastern Department.   Should you wish to publish images taken from manuscripts held in Cambridge University Library, you must complete the on-line request form.

 

Catalogue Listing

  • Arabic, Persian and Turkish

The contents of the Arabic and Persian manuscript collections can be found in the Fihrist catalogue; they are not included in the 'Newton' catalogue.

A selection of the Islamic manuscripts can be found in the Cambridge Digital Library

Printed Catalogues

E. G. Browne: A catalogue of the Persian manuscripts in the Library of the University of Cambridge. Cambridge, 1896.
A233.40 Browse the catalogue

E. G. Browne: A hand-list of the Muhammadan manuscripts, including all those written in the Arabic character, preserved in the Library of the University of Cambridge. Cambridge, 1900.
A233.34 Browse the hand-list

E. G. Browne: A supplementary hand-list of the Muhammadan manuscripts, including all those written in the Arabic character, preserved in the libraries of the University and Colleges of Cambridge. Cambridge, 1922.
A233.34 Browse the hand-list

Lewis, George : Catalogus librorum orient. M.S.S. Nummorum, aliorumque Cimelior, quibus academiae Cantabr. Bibliothecam locupletavit, reverendus vir Georgius Lewis, Archidiaconus Midensis, 1727. Cambridge, 1727.
MS Add.2587

R. A. Nicholson: A descriptive catalogue of the Oriental MSS belonging to the late E.G. Browne. Cambridge, 1932.
A233.4 Browse the catalogue

D. S. Margoliouth: Catalogue of Oriental manuscripts in the Library of Eton College. Oxford, 1904. [On deposit.]
A236.22

E. H. Palmer: Catalogue of the oriental manuscripts in the library of King’s college, Cambridge. London, 1867
Moh.10.c.62; Cam.c.867.6; Bensly.5a.93; VI.3.81

A. J. Arberry: A second supplementary hand-list of the Muhammadan manuscripts in the University and Colleges of Cambridge. Cambridge, 1952.
A233.34 Browse the hand-list

  • Hebrew

A selection of the Hebrew manuscripts can be found in the Cambridge Digital Library

Printed Catalogues

S. C. Reif: Hebrew manuscripts at Cambridge University Library: a description and introduction. Cambridge, 1997.
A233.19

S. M. Schiller-Szinessy: Catalogue of the Hebrew manuscripts preserved in the University Library, Cambridge. Vols 1, 2i. The Holy Scriptures; Commentaries on the Bible; Talmudic literature. Cambridge, 1876.
A233.18

Published catalogues of the Taylor-Schechter Genizah Collection

 

  • Other Languages

R. P. Blake: Catalogue of the Georgian manuscripts in the Cambridge University Library. (Harvard Theological Review, 25 (1972), pp. 207-224.)
A233.12

W. Wright: A catalogue of the Syriac manuscripts preserved in the library of the University of Cambridge . Cambridge, 1901. 2 vols.
A233.52

A. E. Goodman: The Jenks collection of Syriac manuscripts in the University Library, Cambridge. (Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1939, pp.581-600
A233.55; P620.c.26.93

E. Ullendorff: Catalogue of Ethiopian manuscripts in the Cambridge University Library. Cambridge, 1961.
A233.10

C.R. Bawden : A first description of a collection of Mongol manuscripts in the University Library, Cambridge. (Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1957, pp. 151-160.)
A233.28; P620.c.26.102¹

M.C. Ricklefs & P. Voorhoeve : Indonesian manuscripts in Great Britain : a union list. Oxford. 1977.
A231.2

For the collections of manuscripts in Armenian, Coptic, Malay, Urdu and the Browne Papers (Persian), handwritten lists and catalogues which have not been published to date, may be consulted in the Manuscript Reading Room or Near and Middle Eastern Office on request.