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Ottoman Collection

The materials in our Ottoman Collection reveal almost a century of profound transformations in Turkey; they cover the Tanzimat – the mid-19th-century Ottoman reform movement – and span to the foundation of the Republic of Turkey, and the raise of Atatürk and his social and cultural reforms. The collection comprises about 500 titles on a wide range of topics – from literary works to historical and political treatises. Most of the books in the collection are printed editions in Ottoman Turkish, although it includes some manuscripts and early published titles in Modern Turkish too.

Highlights of the collection include Resimli Gazete, Illustrated Journal, a political newspaper printed at the turn of the 20th century; Osmanlı Tarihi, an encyclopaedia of Ottoman History; and Türkçülüğün Esasları, Principles of Turkism, a work published in 1923 by Ziya Gökalp, who was among the pioneers of the Turkish nationalist movement.

Among the literary works, there is a good selection of classic Divan, Ottoman poetry, and a significant collection of novels published by different authors in the post-Tanzimat period. This subset, with titles by authors drawing inspiration from the West, is of great interest to the study of late Ottoman literature.

In consultation with experts on the Ottoman period, we have selected and digitised a core set of titles from the Ottoman Collection. These digitised titles represent the view that the Turks had about themselves, their history, culture, and environment, and the connections that the Ottoman Empire established with foreign regimes. 

Presenting the digitised Ottoman Collection, Aga Khan Library is pleased to launch the dedicated Digital Collections platform where more rare materials from our collections will be made available. 

Provenance: The books were collected by the antiquarian Mr John Randall mostly in the second half of the 20th century and purchased by the Library of the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations in 2008.

The full list of titles in the Ottoman Collection is available in our catalogue.

Search or browse the Ottoman Collection (by discipline or subject).