The Ottoman Turkish Collection

The Ottoman Turkish Collection at the Center for Research Libraries features a significant number of monographs and periodical materials dating from 1860-1928. The material types vary from mainstream publications to rarely held travel journals. The majority of the materials were acquired from the collection of Joseph Birge, a missionary and scholar who lived in Turkey and conducted personal research on the Bektashi dervish order. The material was amassed over time in support of his activities at the mission, but also for his Bektashi studies. Much of the material relates to school instruction--books for religious instruction, textbooks, and dictionaries--plus tracts on the Bektashis, religious practices, and poetry.

The collection features noteworthy periodical compilations, including:

  • Mainstream daily newspapers like Tanin.
  • Alternative press publications.
  • Short runs of political satire magazines: 1918-19 editions of Diken and Yeni Kalem from the late 1920s.
  • Maarif, a science periodical, which contains articles in French and translations from French into Turkish.
  • Osmanli Resamlar Mecmusai, which contains reprints of Ottoman-era artistic works in both Western and Islamic styles.

Provincial and departmental yearbooks, called Salnames, represent another intriguing part the Joseph Birge acquisition. The Salname collection includes specimens from the Ottoman Empire and Turkish Republic, dating from 1891 to 1906, and cover numerous provinces and regions. Many contain maps.

Researchers across many disciplines will want to explore the array of travel journals, called Seferatname. Many of these detail the travel of Ottoman officials or notables in foreign lands, particularly Western Europe. Ahmet Ressmi and Ahmet Azim’s journey to Prussia is included, as is their encounter with Frederick the Great. Other journals catalog travels throughout the Ottoman Empire and farther east.

Cataloging of the Ottoman Turkish collection is currently underway. Materials will be available for member use in the near future.