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Middle East Manuscripts at University of Pennsylvania Libraries

Two of Penn’s libraries hold modest collections of Middle East manuscripts of interest to scholars and researchers.

Annenberg Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Language Count
Arabic 35
Ottoman Turkish 5
Persian 2
Berber 1

The majority of this collection was acquired by the Library in 1902 as part of the Camac collection, while 8 of the Arabic manuscripts were part of the Block collection received in 1968.

Of the total, 21 have been cataloged and are available through the Franklin catalog. A descriptive handlistwas made in 2000. Some manuscripts have already been digitized as part of the Schoenberg Center for Electronic Text and Image (SCETI) initiative.

Center for Advanced Judaic Studies Library

The Center for Advanced Judaic Studies Library hosts a number of important manuscripts of interest to researchers and scholars of Arabic and other languages.

Language Count
Arabic 71
Samaritan and Arabic 29
Coptic 4
Arabic and Coptic 17
Syriac and Arabic 2
Judeo-Arabic (not including Cairo Genizah) 17
Judeo-Arabic and Hebrew 6
Persian 9
Ottoman Turkish 6
Armenian 1

A handlist exists for the inventory of these manuscripts; please consult the CAJS Librarian for further details.

Current efforts are underway to digitize and make this collection available to the public through the  Muslim, Christian and Jewish Relations in the Middle East resource website created by Penn Library with the cooperation of Penn’s Program for Research on Religion & Urban Civil Society


Middle East Manuscripts on Microform : There are a number of microfilmed Middle East manuscripts obtained from other library collections worldwide as part of the Penn’s greater holdings Medieval Manuscripts on microform. A handlist exists for these manuscripts.

Islamic Law Manuscripts : The Library also holds Arabic manuscripts on Islamic law from the School of Oriental Studies, University of London, and the Jewish National and University Library, Jerusalem.


Penn Libraries contain a vast collection of manuscript catalogs and inventories from libraries and collections the world over. A sampling can be seen by clicking on the links for each language group below:

Arabic               |            Persian              |           Turkish      |