Skip to Main Content

Middle Eastern Studies

UCLA Islamic Manuscript Collections: Scope, Catalogs and Finding Aids

UCLA Islamic Manuscript Collections 

The UCLA Library is fortunate to steward a remarkably significant collection of Islamic manuscripts. 

Consisting chiefly of codices carrying texts in Arabic, Persian, and Ottoman Turkish, covering particularly the fields of medicine, literature, philology, lexicography, theology, jurisprudence, history, philosophy, logic, mysticism and astrology and dating, UCLA's Islamic manuscript collection ranks among the most important such collections in North America. At approximately 8,000 volumes, the collection is the second largest in North America.

The bulk of the collection was acquired in the 1960s in distinct groups obtained via Istanbul, Aleppo, Kerman, Isfahan, and London. Significant acquisitions include Arabic and Turkish manuscripts gathered by the Aintabi bookselling agency of Aleppo, Arabic and Persian manuscripts from Kerman, and Arabic, Persian and Turkish manuscripts collected by the Armenian physician Dr. Caro Owen Minasian (1897-1973).

Currently preserved under the auspices of Library Special Collections (Charles E. Young Research Library and Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library), the substantial collection is currently arranged in 20 different archival subcollections.

For further sources on the collection's history and development, see:

Manuscript Catalogs and Handlists

The largest catalog was composed in Persian by Dr. Muhammad Taqi Danishpazhuh in two volumes. Others are listed below.

Important: When browsing Danishpazhuh, note the letter and number (e.g. M234) for each manuscript. The letter (M) denotes the collection, and the number (234) denotes the manuscript number. These are necessary to request the manuscript from the correct collection. 

Finding Aids for UCLA Special Collections at the Online Archive of California (OAC)

These finding aids are necessary for requesting materials from Special Collections. You can use them to find the box number where a manuscript is kept. 

Collection Number Danishpazhuh Code Collection Name (with link to UCLA catalog) Online Finding Aid (to find box number)
833 AI.
For non-medical Majmu'at (compilations), see Danishpazhuh v12, pp.755-772.
Sami Assaad Aintabi Collection of Arabic Manuscripts, circa 1200-1851 N/A
895 A.
Majmu'at: Danishpazhuh v12, pp. 470-520.
Collection of Arabic Manuscripts, circa 1600-1899 OAC Link
896 B
Individual titles: Danishpazhuh, v12, 388-468.
Majmu'at: Ibid, pp.520-564.
Collection of Turkish Manuscripts, circa 1600-1900 OAC Link

Majmu'at: Danishpazhuh, v12, pp.564-576

Collection of Islamic Manuscripts, circa 1500-1599 OAC Link

Majmu'at: Danishpazhuh, v12, pp.576-640

Tekeş Collection of Ottoman, Persian, and Arabic Manuscripts OAC Link
955 F
Majmu'at: Danishpazhuh, v12, pp.640-656
Collection of Egyptian Manuscripts in Arabic, undated OAC Link

1062 Biomed
Ms. coll. no. 61

varies, see Danishpazhuh v.11 p.122-141 (see also Gallagher + Iskandar) Arabic Manuscripts on Medicine and Science, ca. 1200-ca. 1900 N/A

1117 Biomed
Ms. coll. no. 60

varies, see Danishpazhuh v.11 p.96-121 (see also Richter-Bernburg) Persian Medical Manuscripts, ca. 1100-1900 N/A
1147 M
Majmu'at: Danishpazhuh, v12, pp.656-739
Minasian Collection of Near Eastern Manuscripts, ca. 1100-1899 OAC Link
1148 W
Majmu'at: Danishpazhuh, v12, pp.742-755
Wellcome Collection of Near Eastern Manuscripts, circa 1700-1899 OAC Link
1183   Richard (Rouhollah) Karubian Collection of Arabic and Persian manuscripts, 1510-1930 N/A
453   Garemani Family Collection of Persian and Arabic Manuscripts and Books, circa 1514-1899 OAC Link
1655   Shaykhiyah Collection of Arabic and Persian Manuscripts, circa 1683-1924. OAC Link
1658 E
Majmu'at: Danishpazhuh, v12, pp.640

Rudolf Gelpke Collection of Arabic and Persian Manuscripts, circa 1447-1902

OAC Link
1654 S
Majmu'at: Danishpazhuh, v12, pp.740-742

Ilmiyah Collection of Arabic and Persian Manuscripts, circa 1516-1893

OAC Link
1053   Qayani Collection of Arabic and Persian Manuscripts, circa 1307-1883 OAC Link
1656   Exhibit Collection of Near Eastern Manuscripts, 1492-1848 OAC Link
1668   Collection of Maghribi Manuscripts, undated N/A
1123   Collection of Persian Calligraphic Samples, circa 1100-1899 OAC Link
170   Bound Manuscripts Collection OAC Link

How to Request Manuscripts:

Library Special Collections are open to all users regardless of affiliation with UCLA. Researchers must be at least 18 years old, or have graduated from high school, or be accompanied by an adult.

Special Collections materials do not circulate and may only be consulted in the Ahmanson-Murphy Reading Room in the Charles E. Young Research Library. 

Printed Books and Periodicals at Special Collections

Clink on these links to get a listing of materials in Special Collections by language.

Some of the notable print collections include 17 early Turkish prints published by Ibrahim Müteferrika between 1729-1742 in Istanbul. 

Arabic Persian
Turkish Ottoman Turkish

UCLA Digital Collections and Resources

Additional Special Collections for the Middle East

Collection Name Description Online Finding Aid
Michael Lofchie Collection of Zanzibar publications, 1909-1965 Includes predominantly pre-independent newspapers from Zanzibar, an island of Tanzania off the coast of East Africa, from 1909-1965. The collection holds about 120 volumes covering 22 titles of newspapers. In addition, the collection includes bulletins, journals or journal reprints/stand-alone articles, monographs, booklets, information sheets and meeting minutes. Languages used include English, Swahili, Gujarati and Arabic. OAC Link
Gustave E. Von Grunebaum papers, 1930-1972 Consists of research notes, manuscripts, correspondence, and administrative and professional files of UCLA professor G.E. von Grunebaum. Includes handscript and carbon copies of articles, lectures, teaching notes, and ongoing research including incompleted studies of pre-Islamic poetry, dream literature, and the process of acculturization. Also includes drafts on the concept of a center for Near Eastern Studies. OAC Link
Nikki R. Keddie papers, 1947-2003 Consists of materials related to the teaching career and academic research of Nikki Keddie, UCLA Professor Emerita of History. The papers include UCLA Department of History files, correspondence, conference materials, manuscript drafts, and research materials. Lastly, the collection includes photographic slides taken by Keddie throughout her career and as part of her research that heavily feature countries with large Muslim populations, such as Iran, Indonesia, Morocco, Pakistan, Tunisa, and Senegal; as well as European cities, Los Angeles and other parts of the United States OAC Link
Collection of Middle Eastern Posters, 1990-2017 

Consists of posters from Middle Eastern countries, including Iran, Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. Poster topics are related to ancient civilization, architecture, art, asthma, conflict, culture, disability, environment, equestrianism, family, Kurds, population, public health, recycling, reproductive health, road safety, theater, tourism, waste, and wildlife. Also included are posters from France, Germany, Holland, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States, related to Arabic history and culture. OAC Link
Iraq Out-of-Country Voting Program ephemera and posters, 2004-2005 Consists of voter education packets and posters designed and distributed by the Iraq Out-of-Country Voting Program in 2004, for the January 2005 Transitional National Assembly election. The packets include informational brochures, fliers, candidate lists and sample ballots. The posters inform potential voters of registration eligibility, locations, and deadlines, and encourage Iraqi's living outside of Iraq, including those with citizenship in other countries, to participate in the elections. OAC Link
Collection of material about Omar Khayyam, 1872-1948 Omar Khayyam (1048?-1131) was a Persian poet, astronomer, and mathematician of the early Seljuk period and is best known for a collection of Rubáiyát, or quatrains, known as the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyam. The collection contains materials related to the work of Omar Khayyam and scholars who studied his works, much of it collected by Ambrose George Potter in the course of his biographical compilations. OAC Link
United Arab Emirates 2011 Parliamentary Election ephemera Newspaper clippings and small posters from the September 2011 United Arab Emirates Parliamentary Election. Contains approximately 163 political advertisements dated from August to September 2011, including material on several women nominees. OAC Link
Photograph album of Isabella Bird's travels on horseback from Baghdad to Tehran in 1890 Album containing 101 black-and-white photographs documenting Isabella Bird's journey from Baghdad to Tehran in 1890. OAC Link
Abdullah (Achmed) papers Achmed Abdullah (1881-1945) wrote screenplays, novels, plays and short stories. The collection consists of typescripts of screenplays, novels, plays, and short stories written by Abdullah. OAC Link
George Macartney, 1st Earl Macartney papers, 1775-1826 George Macartney, 1st Earl Macartney (1737-1806), was a British diplomatist and colonial governor. Collection consists of papers and correspondence related to Macartney's governorship in Madras under the British East India Company from 1781-1786. The collection consists of approximately 236 items, including correspondence with Hyder Ally, Tippoo Sultan, Sir Eyre Coote, George Staunton, and Anthony Sadlier, and other various documents. OAC Link
David Hirsch calendar collection Wall, desk, appointment, and leaflet calendars published in Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, China (Hong Kong), Costa Rica, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Mexico, Morocco, Palestine, Peru, Poland, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United States of America, and the West Bank for various years beginning with 1951/52 (the bulk of the collection is for years between 2003 and 2014). Includes calendars for Alevi, Armenian, Bahai, Druze, Islamic, Jewish, Kurdish, Mandaean, Christian, and Zoroastrian traditions. Calendars sometimes note secular holidays or anniversaries for the countries in which they were published as well as for the religious or cultural traditions that they represent.