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Rare Books

Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08540
609-258-3184
Acting Associate University Librarian for Rare Books and Special Collections
609-258-3165

Some 40 early European books on the Ottoman Empire. These books are written in Latin, Dutch, Italian, German, French, and English by ambassadors, priests, soldiers, burghers, and prisoners of the Ottomans. Numerous travel books, histories of the Ottoman Empire, and several biographies. Books are from the 17th and 18th centuries. All were acquired from the collection of G. J. Arvanitidi. For particulars refer to: Peter F. Sugar, "Early European Books on the Ottoman Empire" in the Princeton University Library Chronicle XX, 4 (Summer, 1959) pp. 198-201 [full text] .

The Library also has a remarkable collection of the books printed by Ibrahim Müteferrika, the first printer of Turkish books in Istanbul. Of the first twenty books printed by Müteferrika and others (dating between 1729 A.D. and 1784), the Library has nearly a dozen. For details see the Collections File under the heading "Turkish Imprints." Further details at this link.

Starting in the early 1980s, the library acquired more than 130 early Portuguese pamphlets dealing principally with relations between Christian Europe and the Muslim world. William M. Blair, Editorial Assistant, Department of Near Eastern Studies, recently compiled a listing of these work by closely look through the main catalog via subject keyword searches, call number browsing, as well as title and author searching. He says that in addition to many obvious selections, he "included pamphlets on India since India was largely ruled by a Muslim dynasty and the Indian Ocean had served Muslim traders for centuries. [He] also included a pamphlet on natural disasters as there were several such pamphlets describing natural disasters in the Muslim world." Further details about this collecting project are found on page 7-8 of the Spring, 2010 Newsletter of the Department of Near Eastern Studies, available at this link. For the Blair list as of April 16, 2010, see this link.