Robert Garrett collection, ca. 1340 B.C.-1900s.

Garrett, Robert, 1875-1961 [Browse]
Multiple languages


Getty AAT genre
ca. 1340 B.C.-1900s.
Organized currently into various sub-collections: C0744.01--Garrett-Gates Mesoamerican Manuscripts; .02--Garrett Mesoamerican Manuscripts; .03--Garrett Collection of Ethiopic Manuscripts ; .04--Garrett Collection of Ethiopic Magic Scrolls; .05--Garrett Syriac Manuscripts; .06--Garrett Samaritan Manuscripts; .07--Garrett Chinese Manuscripts; .08 Garrett Japanese Manuscripts;. .09 Garret Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts; .10 Garrett Sanskrit Manuscripts; .11 Garrett Indic Manuscripts.
Linking notes
For brief descriptions of Medieval and Renaissance codices, see Seymour De Ricci and W. J. Wilson, Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada. Most of the Arabic manuscripts (about 10,000 of 10,300 titles) and a small portion of Persian and Turkish manuscripts (about 200 of 1,900) have been described in four catalogs published by Princeton University Press between 1938 and 1987. All the Garrett (and most of the other Princeton collections containing) Ethiopic codices and magic scrolls are described in an unpublished guide, "A Catalogue of Ethiopic Manuscripts in the Princeton University Library," 3 vols. The Gates manuscripts in the Garrett Collection are described in Mesoamerican Ethnohistory in United States Libraries: Reconstruction of the William E. Gates Collection of Historical and Linguistic Manuscripts, compiled by John M. Weeks (Culver City, CA: Labyrinthos, c.1990); they are also described in the RLIN record for the Garrett Collection of Manuscripts in the Indigenous Languages of Middle America.
Summary note
  • Consists of over 11,000 volumes, fragments, and scrolls of Western and non-Western manuscripts collected by Garrett (Princeton Class of 1897). All Medieval and Renaissance codices and most Arabic and Ethiopic manuscripts have been cataloged either in published catalogs or loose-leaf binders of descriptions kept in the Department. Researchers should inquire about available cataloging for other manuscripts. Descriptions of major groupings of the collection's manuscripts follow.
  • EUROPEAN: 1) Medieval and Renaissance codices (172 codices, principally Latin and Western European languages but also including Greek, Armenian, Hebrew, and Georgian manuscripts), ca. 800-1600. 2) Hebrew (9 items). 3) Old Church Slavonic (4 volumes).
  • MIDDLE EASTERN and AFRICAN: 1) Islamic (approximately 9,500 titles), chiefly Arabic, Persian, and Turkish. 2) Syriac (23 volumes). 3) Samaritan (52 volumes and fragments). 4) Papyrus (about 750 pieces, chiefly papyrus fragments in Greek from Roman Byzantine Egypt, but occasionally including Egyptian Hieroglyphic, Demotic, and Coptic; Byzantine Greek; and Arabic from Egypt). 5) Coptic (5 Hieratic volumes and fragments). 6) Ethiopic (113 codices and 162 magic scrolls in Ge'ez).
  • ASIAN: 1) Chinese (3 volumes). 2) Japanese (1 volume and 3 scrolls). 3) Javanese (6 volumes). 4) Indic (approx. 300 volumes, including 166 in Sanskrit, as well as a smaller number of Batak, Pali, Siamese, Singhalese, Tibetan, and other languages of South Asia). 5) Manchu (2 volumes). 6) Naxi/Moso/Nakhi ( 2 volumes from South China).
  • MESOAMERICAN: about 250 prose and pictorial linguistic manuscripts in over 20 indigenous languages of Mexico and Central America, most of them Mayan, collected by William Gates.
A Baltimore businessman and private collector, Garrett collected manuscripts worldwide between the 1890s and 1942, when he gave the collection to the Library. Significant portions of it had been deposited earlier.
Source acquisition
Gift: Robert Garrett, Princeton Class of 1897; 1942.
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