Pierre de Gigord collection of photographs of the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey, 1853-1930

French businessman Pierre de Gigord compiled an important collection of Ottoman-Era photographs in the eighties while traveling in Turkey. This collection of more than 6,000 photographs taken by over 165 photographers documents the late years of the Ottoman Empire and the establishment of the Republic of Turkey. The bulk of the collection is urban sites in Constantinople (Istanbul), the Balkans, Bursa and Smyrna (Izmir) as well as sites in Greece, Egypt, Palestine, India and China. In addition to photographs, the collection includes a few pamphlets and offprints about photography in the Ottoman Empire and a small collection of photographic ephemera. Pierre de Gigord collection of photographs now housed in the Getty Research Institute was recently digitized and made openly available to the public. The digitization project prioritized images from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century (up to World War I).
A detailed finding aid available on the Getty Library website gives access to a descriptive summary, biographical and historical notes, a lengthy description of the scope and content of the collection as well as to a container list.

Individual descriptive records (see below) are very detailed showing at first sight if the material is accessible online and allowing to link directly to the digital images. They can be printed, saved, shared and cited directly from the database (export to RIS format, Bibtex, Endnote, Easybib, and Refworks).

Albums can be browsed and images viewed in a custom-made reader displaying one page/one image in the middle column, a clickable list of pages/images on the left-hand side, and a summary of the descriptive record on the right-hand side. Images can be downloaded, printed, enlarged up to actual size and turned left or right.

As in any digital collection use restrictions apply. If the website states that “digital images and files saved from this website should be suitable for most purposes”, more information is available on the Library Reproductions & Permissions page.

Chester Beatty Digital Collections

Chester Beatty Digital Collections gives access to part of remarkable treasures that are housed at Chester Beatty library In Ireland. This collection is a database of digitized artworks and manuscripts from different part of the world and includes Persian, Islamic, Turkish and Arabic collection.  These invaluable collections of manuscripts was gathered by Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (1875-1968) one of the greatest collector of the twentieth century and a friend to Ireland.

Opening folio from a Qur’an, illuminated by Muhammad ibn Aybak in Baghdad. This full-page illumination marks the beginning of a superb Qur’an volume produced in Baghdad. It is from a thirty-volume set, now dispersed in international collections or lost. Four of the known volumes contain the signature of the renowned illuminator Muhammad ibn Aybak ibn `Abdullah, who also recorded the date and that he was working “in the City of Peace, Baghdad”. From these inscriptions, Ibn Aybak’s work schedule becomes clear: he completed volume two in April 1303, ten in February 1305, and thirteen in October 1305, producing an illuminated volume approximately every three months. Folio from a Qur’an, colours and gold on paper, illuminated frontispiece panel with geometric design of central radiating star with quarter-stars repeated in the four corners, and hasp ornament on right margin, right half of a double-page composition, illumination by Muhammad ibn Aybak, opening folio from volume 25 of a 30-volume Qur’an (volume 25 codex is in Tehran Iran Bastan Museum, 3350),

Sir Alfred Chester Beatty was a young mining engineer in New York with huge interest in collecting European, Persian manuscripts, Chinese snuff bottles and Japanese netsuke. It was in 1914 and during a family trip to Egypt that the Islamic manuscript fascinated him so he expanded his collection to include rare books, richly illustrated material, fine bindings and calligraphy. Beatty’s exceptional collection developed over his life time, it comprises of remarkable Islamic, East Asian and biblical manuscripts, important Persian, Turkish, Armenian and Western European holdings as well as Burmese, Thai and Nepalese manuscripts, and is housed in the grounds of Dublin Castle.

Manuchihr pursuing his father’s murderer Tur, from the Book of Kings (Shahnama) by Firdausi

“The Chester Beatty Library is a public charitable trust established under the will of the late Sir Alfred Chester Beatty, who left his Collections in the care of a Trust for the benefit of the Irish people.”

The Beatty’s collection is a great resource for scholars and researchers as well as a cultural attraction for visitors from Ireland and from all around the world, part of which is available online through digital collection.

In 2017, the Chester Beatty started digitizing its collection with the help of digital photographers and a team of museum experts. Each item of this collection has a catalogue record and an informative description to the item. The digital collection is a searchable database; however, it is a growing database therefore it is useful to visit it from time to time.

Two horsemen aiming their lances, from Manual on the Arts of Horsemanship (Nihayat al-su’l wa al-umniya fi ta‘allum ‘amal al-furusiyya) by al-Aqsara’i

Historical Maps of the Middle East in Open Access

Today we are highliting three online resources making freely accessible historical maps of the Middle East: Palestine Open Maps, the Perry-Castañeda Library Map collection, and The Afternoon Map.

Palestine Open Maps is a platform making available and searchable historical maps from the British Mandate of Palestine period (1920-1948). Materials come from a number of institutions like the National Library of Israel, the National Library of Australia, the David Rumsey Map Collection. The platform includes a large collection of 1940s survey maps in the public domain “covering the territory at scales of up to 1:20,000. It also offers great search and overlay capabilities highlighting the human, natural, and urban geography transformations over the past century. Initiated in March 2018 by Vizualing Palestine and Columbia University Studio-X Amman, Palestine Open Maps is now maintained and developed by Vizualizing Palestine in collaboration with individuals. More information about the platform, the map collection or terms of use can be obtained here.

Screenshot of the Palestine Open Maps platform, July 24, 2019.

The Perry-Castañeda Library Map collection at the University of Texas at Austin includes  over 250,000 maps among which a number of historical maps of the Middle East. If only 20% of the overall maps collection has been digitized so far, the effort to make more content available online is continued. Published between 1849 and 1973, The Middle East maps collection cover the Arab World, Turkey and Iran from 500 B.C. to the 1970s. Materials are listed alphabetically by name of locality, and accompanied by a brief description. They can be opened, downloaded or saved in PDF format. More information about the collection or terms of use can be obtained here.

Aleppo [Alep] 1912. From Palestine and Syria… Handbook for Travellers by Karl Baedeker, 5th Edition, 1912.

The Afternoon Map is an Ottoman-Turkish-Middle Eastern-Balkans cartography blog launched and maintained by Dr. Nicholas Danforth, Senior Policy Analyst at Bipartisan Policy Center. The purpose of this academic blog is to publish “original, visually appealing and intellectually engaging maps harvested from archives and libraries around the world.” Maps are systematically introduced and put in historical context, and can easily be downloaded and saved. In addition to historical maps, the blog includes “Home Made Maps” covering a broad range of topics like earthquakes death, folk song, food, borders or trains. Last, The Afternoon Map also posts “Non Maps” (pictural materials like posters or caricatures), and “Articles” on a variety of topics authored by the blog’s owner. For more information about the maps or terms of use, or to contribute to the blog, contact the author.

Screenshot of The Afternoon Map blog, July 25, 2019.

Hazine blog

Hazine is a guide to finding information and resources for research purposes about Middle East and the Islamic world at large.

“In the Ottoman Empire, the hazine was the treasury, a storehouse in which courtiers found books to read, scribes deposited documents, and clerks stowed away precious objects that arrived from around the empire.”

Hazine as a storehouse of information, provides information about research resources, research centers, archives and libraries from all around the world for scholars who are researching the Middle East and the Islamic countries. Taking into consideration the numerous archives, libraries, research centers and publications, which are spread out all across the globe, it may not be easy for researchers knowing where to start their research. Therefore, Hazine hopes “researchers will use HAZİNE to acquaint themselves with these collections, large and small, and jump directly into the research.”

Hazine at the moment highlightes more resources and centres containing materials and information resources about Ottoman Empire, for example The National Archives of Japan was introduced as a valuable resource for scholars interested in Japan’s relationships with and growing interest in the Middle East and Ottoman Empire in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Detail of the Ottoman Ahdname of 1050/1641 (n. 1470, Miscellenea documenti turchi).

Moreover, it lists online archives like: The Venetian State Archives, that made available an important collection of Ottoman documents; Tahrir Documents which is a collection of pamphlets, newsletters, signs, poems, and other texts gathered in and around Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, between March 2011 and May 2012; the last mentioned online archive is Women’s Worlds in Qajar Iran, a digital archive of materials related to the social and cultural history of Iran during the Qajar period.

Two women in European dress from the Olga Davidson Collection

 

Furthermore, this guide provides a list of related archives and libraries according to their geographical location, that can be accessed here Archives and Libraries.

 

 

 

Hazine can be find on social media via : Twitter Facebook

Akkasah, the Center for Photography at New York University Abu Dhabi

Akkasah, the Center for Photography at New York University Abu Dhabi: Houses photographic heritage collections of the Middle East and North Africa. Since it is believed that the rich traditions of documentary, vernacular, and art photography in those regions has not acquired enough attention, Akkasah aims to investigate, document and preserve histories and contemporary practices of photography in those regions.

Akkasah contains 60,000 images, and gathers collection of prints and negatives; also it produces digital versions of collections of individuals or institutions who are willing to share their collections.

Sultan Ahmed Mosque, street seller in the snow (circa 1930, Istanbul, Turkey). Source: Engin Ozendes Collection, Courtesy of Akkasah: Center for Photography at NYU Abu Dhabi.

The database is constitute of three collections of Historical Collections, Contemporary Projects, Photo Albums.

Akkasah turns out to be more than a database of photo collection, it became a successful collaborative project management, representing partnership between faculty and library, here more information ca be found in this regards.

Wall of windows and mihrab with men praying in the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey Source: Engin Ozendes Collection, Courtesy of Akkasah: Center for Photography at NYU Abu Dhabi.

Furthermore, Akkasah through conferences, research fellowship program of the NYUAD institute, colloquia, and publications; tries to support research on Middle Eastern and North African photography also on cross-cultural and transnational aspects of it.

Some of Akassah’s activities includes:

  • Producing a series of publications that reflect the scholarly and archival concerns of the center
  • Commissioning new documentary projects on the diverse cultures and communities of the Unite Arab Emirates
  • Establishing a special collection of rare photobooks from around the world
  • Inviting applications for research fellowships in the area of Middle Eastern and North African photography through the Research Fellowships in the Humanities program funded by the NYUAD Institute.

In this article, you can read more the story of Akkasah: The long read: NYUAD’s Centre for Photography unveils a new collection of antique images from the Middle East

View of The Opera District in Dubai. (Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 14 January 2017) Photographer: Michele Nastasi Source: Collection of A Gulf of Images. Center for Photography at NYU Abu Dhabi.

Islamic Heritage Project

Harvard’s Islamic Heritage Project (IHP) is a digital collection of 280 Islamic manuscripts, more than 50 maps, and 275 published texts from Harvard’s renowned library and museum collections. IHP materials date from the 10th to the 20th centuries CE. These materials are freely available to Internet users worldwide.

IHP is made possible with the generous support of Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal.

The IHP expresses the missions of its two coordinating partners.

 

The Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program at Harvard University, which enhances Harvard’s ability to keep pace with increasing demands for knowledge and understanding of the Islamic tradition.

 

The Harvard University Library Open Collections Program, which shares the University’s intellectual wealth by developing and freely sharing digital collections on topics of contemporary concern that support teaching and learning.

Totaling over 156,000 pages, which represent the following:

Regions
  • Saudi Arabia
  • North Africa & Egypt
  • Syria, Lebanon and Palestine
  • Iran, Iraq and Turkey
  • South, Southeast, and Central Asia
Languages
  • Primarily Arabic
  • Persian, and Ottoman Turkish
  • Urdu, Chagatai, Malay and Gujarati
  • Indic languages and several Western languages
Subjects
  • Religious texts and commentaries
  • Sufism
  • History
  • Geography
  • Law
  • Sciences (astronomy, astrology, mathematics, medicine)
  • Poetry and literature
  • Rhetoric
  • Logic and philosophy
  • Calligraphy
  • Dictionaries and grammar
  • Biographies and autobiographical works.

Materials digitized for the IHP are limited to those in the public domain. In selecting materials for the Islamic Heritage Project, materials that are available in digital form elsewhere were excluded. Photographs and works of art were deemed out of scope. Microfilm was selected only in a few cases.

Following the guidelines of the Houghton Library Single-Item Manuscript Manual to produce full-level records for each manuscript. These guidelines mandate use of AACR2/APPM, MARC 21, LCNAF, LCSH, AAT, and the application of ALA-LC Romanization tables. All records are stored in centrally supported library systems using open protocols (MODS, OAI–PMH).

The Harvard Library Viewer is a new image viewing platform based on the open source Mirador project and compatible with the IIIF (International Image Interoperability Framework) standard.

Besides core page-viewing capabilities such as page-turning navigation, table of contents, full text search and print (PDF download), the Harvard Library Viewer implements frequently-requested features, including:

  • Two-page and scroll views
  • Improved page image rotation, zooming and panning
  • Comparison of IIIF-compatible documents

Additional materials may be added to the IHP over time.

Winter 2019 database trials at McGill

This term, the Islamic Studies Library is trialing two databases relevant to students and researchers in the field of Islamic and Middle East studies:

Make sure you try them out, and share your feedback with us!

1. The Afghan Serials Collection (ASC)

ASC gives access to partisan serials from the Wahdat Library which is “the most comprehensive private collection of rare newspapers and journals from Afghanistan.” The Afghan Serials Collection includes 46 newspapers and journals published in Persian, Pushto, Arabic, Urdu, and English (i.e. more than 2,500 issues). As outlined on the database homepage: “the Afghan Serials Collection covers the use of the press by many groups that sought to shape Afghanistan’s social and intellectual landscape including the Communist People’s Democratic Party (PDPA); exiled loyalists to the deposed Afghan monarchy; independent humanitarians and intellectuals seeking to better their country; anti-Soviet mujaheddin groups from a range of political movements; the Taliban; and minority political parties that have emerged following the post-2001 transition towards democracy.”

Features offered by this database are numerous:

  • journal titles can be either browsed or searched in original language and English transliteration
  • journals can be ordered alphabetically (title), chronologically (Afghan/Islamic or Gregorian calendar), by country of publication or language
  • rubrics within each issue can be independently accessed for online reading and downloaded in PDF
  • searching for occurrences within a title is possible, in English transliteration only

ASC will primarily be of interest to social scientists (sociologists, political scientists, anthropologists, historians, etc.).

2. Cambridge Archive Editions Online

CAE gives access to thousands of primary source documents from the British National Archives in facsimile, including maps, on the Middle East, Russia and the Balkans, the Caucasus, Southeast Asia, and China and the Far East. The Near and Middle East Collection alone includes 118 titles documenting the history of the region between 1850 and 1980.

Documents can be searched, browsed, or discovered by topic (15 topics are used to classify the materials). They can be read online using the “Reading Mode” (full page display with left-hand side navigation bar) or dowloaded in PDF. WHat makes CAE particularly interesting is the fact that documents have been OCR’ed (Optical Character Recognition) allowing for searching occurrences within a publication.

CAE will be of particular interest to historians.

Iranian Oral History Project

The Iranian Oral History Project (IOHP) was launched in fall 1981 at Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies. In the Autumn of 1980, the director of the project Habib Ladejvardi was encouraged by Edward Keenan, the dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, to document Iranian oral history.

Keenan as an historian believed that the immigration of many of Iran’s former leaders to western countries after revolution presented a great opportunity to gather valuable historical data through collecting the personal accounts of those individuals who played an important role in political events or decision making. The focus of the project is to collect information about the political history of Iran between the 1920s and 1970s. Various restrictions on information after the revolution makes this project even more valuable.

The aim of Iranian Oral History project is to provide:

  • A better picture of the way the Iranian political system actually functioned from the point of view of the actors involved – for example, how decisions regarding foreign and domestic issues were reached and implemented.
  • Circumstances behind major political events and decisions.
  • Additional details regarding the background, character, and career of key political figures of the period.

The IOHP’s goal is to gather first hand accounts of these major historic moments, events and decisions. Therefore, a wide range of leaders from different political parties, groups, and institutions, including foreigners who were involved or somehow had an impact in Iran’s political events at the time were interviewed. Interviews were conducted in Paris, Washington D.C., Cambridge, Austria, Switzerland and some other cities around the world. In addition, some politicians who still had an official role in Iran at the time, participated in the interviews while travelling to other countries.

896 items are available in this collection that can be browsed and searched by subject, interviewee, language, ….furthermore a comprehensive background on the project and detailed methodology used on gathering the information and interviews structure is accessible from here.

IFEA Map workshop archives

Launched and managed by the French Institute for Anatolian Studies (IFEA) and the OUI (Urban Observatory of Istanbul), the Map workshop archives is a cartographic database making available several hundreds of maps and plans of Istanbul and Turkey from the 12th century to present day. The project Archivis carto from which the database emerged continues, and maps are regularly added to the archives.

At the time of our visit, the archives included close to 400 high resolution digital maps and plans with short bibliographic descriptions (title, cartographer, editor, place and date of edition, scale).

Visitors can either search the database or use the Research by theme feature offering eighteen historical, geographical, and cartographic categories to browse:

 

 

 

All materials can easily be downloaded and/or shared using a permalink, however they are strictly provided for personal (individual or institution) use within the scope of research. For commercial use, contact: carto@ifea-istanbul.net. “It is forbidden to redistribute or publish this documentation without informing the IFEA, otherwise the IFEA would be free from any copyright problems or conflicts with the publishers of the concerned documents.”

The website is available in English, French and Turkish.

Basagic Collection of Islamic Manuscripts

The Bašagic collection is a unique assembly of Bosnian and Muslim literary heritage representing Islamic manuscripts collected by Safvet Beg Bašagić – a Bosnian collector, journalist, poet, and bibliographer. Drawn from the holdings of the University library in Bratislava, these items are rare sources of world Islamic culture and offer the researcher access to a comprehensively documented history of Bosnia’s written literature in the 16th to 19th century.

دلائل الخيرات وشوارق الانوار في ذكر الصلاة على النبي المختار

http://retrobib.ulib.sk/Basagic/Normal/0395.jpg

 

This rich selection of Islamic manuscripts contain literary works (prose, poetry), scientific works (Islamic theology, law, history, philosophy, Koran sciences, traditions, Islamic mysticism), and works of various Bosnian Muslim scholars composed in Arabic, Turkish, and Persian. The uniqueness of the collection is highlighted by rare Serbian and Croatian texts written in the Arabic script. Moreover, the Bašagic collection covers the history of Bosnia under the Turkish state administration and provides a picture of the religious situation in Bosnia between the 16th to 19th centuries. Aside from their historic value, these manuscripts shed light on the Art of Islamic book making, calligraphy, illustration and miniatures.

 

After the fire at the National Library in Sarajevo in 1992, which destroyed valuable collections of Islamic documents, the Bašagic collection now preserves rare documents about Bosnian Muslim literature. This unique collection is recognised and included on UNESCO’s documentary heritage list.

 

 

The collection contains 284 volumes of manuscripts including 589 individual works: 393 Arabic, 117 Turkish and 88 Persian.

 

 

حاشية على شرح العقائد العضدية

This collection can be browsed or searched by title and item description is available for each document.