Rare Books and Special Collections Library

Selim Hassan Collection

Selim HassanSelim Hassan (1887-1961) was one of the foremost Egyptologists of his time. After pursuing archaeological studies at the Royal College of Education, Hassan became one of the first Egyptians to secure a position as a curator at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. He later received degrees in ancient languages and religions from the Louvre and Sorbonne in Paris, and a doctorate from Vienna University. The first Egyptian to hold Cairo University's chair in Egyptology, Hassan was a prolific scholar, publishing over 170 books and articles. During his long career he was involved in many excavations throughout Egypt, including the clearance of the Sphinx and its mastabas in Giza between 1929 and 1937.

Hassan’s library was donated to the American University in Cairo in 1980. The collection contains over 2,500 books and other items in Arabic, English, French, and German, Russian, and Japanese. The books cover a wide range of subjects, including Arabic literature, Near Eastern studies, biography, and religion. The collection contains important works on Egyptology, such as several richly illustrated, oversize volumes by the nineteenth century German scholar Karl Richard Lepsius. Works by Selim Hassan, like his encyclopedic 16-volume work on ancient Egypt, are also included.