Rare Books and Special Collections Library

Rare Books and Special Books Collections

The library's book collections were built largely through the acquisition of the private libraries of several discriminating collectors, among them K.A.C. Creswell, Max Debbane, Labib Habachi, Selim Hassan, and Mahmoud Saba. Their chief areas of interest - Islamic art and architecture, Egyptology, and travel literature - remain the library's strengths today. In addition to the collectors above, the library has acquired works from distinguished scholars and bibliophiles like Esmat Allouba, Constant DeWitt, Charles Issawi, and Charles Hedlund, Charles Faltas, and Muhammad Shawqi Mustafa. Among the library's rare book highlights are the monumental Description de L'Egypte and multiple volumes of the lithographs of artist David Roberts' paintings of Egypt and the Levant. Also significant are numerous illustrated pre-20th century travel accounts of the Middle East and a 1591 Arabic-Latin volume of the New Testament printed in Rome. In all, several hundred of the library's books were printed between 1537 and 1800. The library also contains special book collections, such as multiple editions and translations of the writings of Naguib Mahfouz and titles published by the AUC Press.