Collection News / Featured / Kislak / Penn Libraries / Van Pelt

Early Arabic printed books from the British Library, online

EAPB_1_24The Penn Libraries have acquired the first major fulltext-searchable online archive of pre-20th century Arabic printed books.

Early Arabic Printed Books From the British Library, 1475-1900, produced by Gale Cengage, presents Arabic printed texts and European translations of Arabic texts, approximately 7,000 volumes with 2.3 million pages, in three modules:

  • Religion and Law : The Qu’ran, hadith and tafsir, religious commentaries, teachings, and practice treatises; law, fiqh and statutes, fatwas and rulings.
  • Sciences, History and Geography : natural history, medicine and physiology, classical science, mathematics; histories, genealogies, and biographies; geographies and travel accounts.
  • Literature, Grammar, Language, Catalogues and Periodicals : folktales and pre-IslamicEAPB_4_4 literature, Islamic poetry and prose, later literature, proverbs and sayings; grammars, dictionaries, and rhetoric.

Interesting works appearing in EAPBBL include:

  • Gregori, Gregorio de, editor. ‫صلاة السواعي ‪[Ṣalāt al-sawāʿī].‬ Fān: n.p., 1514. An Eastern Orthodox liturgical text published in Fano, Italy, the first extant book printed with Arabic moveable type. OR.70.aa.12
  • جوهري, إسماعيل بن حماد‬ ‪[Jawharī, Ismāʿīl ibn Ḥammād].‬ لغات ڤانقل ‪[Lughāt Vānquli].‬ Edited by ‫إبراهيم متفرقة‬ ‪[Ibrāhīm Mutafarriqah]‬, translated by ‫محمد بن مصطفى ڤان‬-‫قل‬ ‪[Muḥammad ibn Muṣṭafá Vān-quli]‬. Qusṭanṭīnīyah: Dār al-Ṭibāʿah, [1728]. The first book published by the Ottoman Imperial Press. OR.80.a.5
  • Thousand and One Nights, in 61 editions.
  • Nusret Ali Han Dihlevi. ‫جواهر زواهر‬ ‪[Jawāhir zawāhir]. Dihlī: n.p., [1876].EAPB_6_13 Models of Arabic and Persian calligraphy, with preface and appendix in Hindustani. 14117.e.15(1)
  • An Arabic inscription in the Kufic character, printed from a wood-block in the possession of T. Astle. 820.m.33(2*)
  • Ziyaeddin Paşa, Yusuf. ‫الهدية الحميدية في اللغة الكردية‬ ‪[al-Hadīyah al-ḥamīdīyah fī al-lughah al-Kurdīyah]. Bāb-i ʿĀli: n.p., [1892].‬‬A Kurdish dictionary explained in Arabic. 757.f.36
  • ‬ ‪[Saʿdī].‬ The Persian and Arabick works of Sâdee. Edited by ‫محمد راشد بردواني‬ ‪[Muḥammad Rāshid Bardawānī]‬ and John Herbert Harington, vol. 1. Calcutta: The Honorable Company’s Press, ‪1791. The poet’s works, in English, Persian, and Arabic. 757.i.6
  • ‬ الحموي, سليم إلياس‬ ‪[al-Ḥamawī, Salīm Ilyās].‬ ‫ترجمان العصر في تقدم مصر‬ ‪[Turjumān al-ʿaṣr fī taqaddum Miṣr]. al-Iskandarīyah: Maṭbaʿat al-Kawkab al-Sharqī, 1874. EAPB_1_23A panegyric in rhymed prose on the Land of Egypt. 14583.bb.2(1)

The interface includes a full Arabic-language user interface with an Arabic virtual keyboard and it provides searchable fulltext in Arabic and Western languages, with tagging for Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Ottoman Turkish, Persian, Syriac, and other languages. High-resolution page images may be downloaded in PDF format. Bibliographic metadata include Arabic-script and Library of Congress romanized name and title forms. The titles represented in EAPBBL appear as individual records in Franklin Catalog.

This new online collection is a welcome complement to the Penn Libraries collection of Fez lithographs, 138 titles printed in Fez, Morocco between 1865 and 1936. The collection includes the first five books printed at Fez.

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