The collection contains approximately 2000 volumes of printed and manuscript works, most relating to the history of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religions throughout North Africa, the Middle East, and parts of Asia. The collection also reflects Robertson Smith's lively interest in the history, languages, art, folklore, and architecture of these regions. A broad range of languages is represented, including (inter alia) Hebrew, Arabic, Coptic, Syriac, Persian, Aramaic, Greek, Kurdish, Turkish, and Chaldaic. Most works date from before 1894, when the collection was acquired, though some twentieth-century books have been added.
History and development
The collection was acquired by the college in 1894, at the death of William Robertson Smith. Since then it has grown modestly from time to time through further gifts and through a small endowment.
The collection is particularly strong in nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century scholarship on the history of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim peoples.
General arrangement and access regulations
The collection is kept in closed-access shelves, housed in the Old Library of the College. It is arranged broadly by subject. Access to the collection is via the card catalogue.
Subjects of the Collection
Regions of Asia
Central Asia and the Caucasus, East Asia, Near & Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, South East Asia.
Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, China, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Laos, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, Yemen.
Languages of material
Arabic, Aramaic, Armenian, Coptic, Egyptian (Ancient), English, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Judeo-Arabic, Judeo-Persian, Kurdish, Malagasy, Mongolian, Nepali, Pali, Persian, Persian, Old (ca.600-400 B.C.), Phoenician, Samaritan Aramaic, Sanskrit, Semitic (Other), Spanish, Syriac, Tibetan, Turkish, Turkish, Ottoman (1500-1928), Ugaritic, Urdu.
Anthropology, Archaeology, Arts, Geography, History, Language, Literature, Philosophy, Religion.
Names relevant to the collection:Robertson Smith, William, 1846-1894