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Middle Eastern Collection

Widener Library's Middle Eastern Collection includes items in over 60 languages from all over the world comprising the largest university research collection on the Middle East and related areas.
An anti-Iraq War banner from Berlin, 2003.
Middle Eastern Collection, Widener Library

Materials in Widener Library's Middle Eastern Collection include items from:

A poster for the first Arab film produced in the United States.
A poster for the first Arab film produced in the United States.
Middle Eastern Collection, Widener Library
  • countries of the Middle East (Algeria, Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Sudan, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen; 
  • the Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia),
  • Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan),
  • South Asia (materials in the Perso-Arabic script from Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan),
  • Russia (materials in Turkic and Altaic-Uralic languages),
  • Xinyang Autonomous Region (Uighur and Kazakh),
  • and émigré communities from all these areas.
  • Over 50 languages are represented in the collection, including Arabic, Persian, Ottoman Turkish, Turkish, Urdu, Uzbek, and Armenian.

Through the materials in this collection you can travel with an Iranian woman from Urmiyah, Iran, to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, by way of Iraq, India, the Suez Canal, and Greece, by reading the personal narrative of her experience accompanied by the official travel document detailing her progress with government stamps from cities along the way.

A Kurdish alphabet book.
A Kurdish alphabet book.
Middle Eastern Collection, Widener Library

You can also experience a vibrant anti-Iraq War banner from a 2003 Berlin-based demonstration protesting the American intervention in Iraq.

It can be startling to see the variety of alphabets used for a particular language written in the alphabet of another language as used by minority communities in a region. Such disruptive discoveries can lead your research into new and unexpected areas, leading to groundbreaking approaches.

Accessing These Materials

Materials in this collection can be found via HOLLIS.


Emily Coolidge Toker