- Abdul Hamid Collection
- Tiflis Collection
- Yahuda Collection
- Tracy W. McGregor Collection
- Heyworth-Dunne Collection
Concise Collection History
by Evyn Kropf
The Islamic Manuscripts Collection at the University of Michigan contains approximately 1,100 manuscript volumes mainly in Arabic, Persian, and Ottoman Turkish. The collection is organized by acquisition and provenance into several subcollections – the Abdul Hamid, Tiflis, Yahuda, and McGregor Collections being the largest, alongside several smaller collections (192 manuscripts in the Walter Koelz, Nuttall, Richard Ford, Stephen Spaulding, Horace Miner, Heyworth-Dunne, Sulaiman, and Frank Schulte Collections). The size of the collection places it among the largest such collections in North America (others including those at Princeton, University of California Los Angeles, Yale, the Library of Congress, and Harvard).
The manuscripts of the Walter Koelz, Nuttall, Stephen Spaulding, Horace Miner, Heyworth-Dunne, Sulaiman, and Frank Schulte Collections were acquired separately, by purchase or donation (even from other departments within the University), mainly during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Notable are the F.E. Nuttall manuscripts, which reached the library in 1965-68, and were likely once in the personal collection of Frank E. Nuttall (1875-1943), a librarian who concluded his career at the University of Manitoba and was known for his collection of Persian, Arabic, Turkish and Hindi books and manuscripts. Also notable are the Heyworth-Dunne manuscripts, purchased by the library in 1950 and formerly part of the personal collection of James Heyworth-Dunne (d.1974), a senior reader in Arabic at SOAS, University of London from 1928-1948, who thereafter became a member of the staff at the Middle East Institute Washington, D.C. These manuscripts were left unaccessioned until 1992-93, when Roberta Dougherty prepared a handlist with detailed inventory cataloguing for each. Research into further details of their provenance is ongoing as part of the current cataloguing project.
 A great number of the manuscripts are multiwork codices; thus, the number of manuscript titles far exceeds the number of volumes and will be difficult to accurately estimate until the cataloguing is complete.
 Evidence for this provenance is somewhat murky, however. The manuscripts are certainly of exquisite quality and were supposedly obtained in Constantinople [Istanbul] in 1912 by the dealer Tammaro De Marinis who went seeking "any valuable manuscripts that might be being sold out of the estates of the country's former rulers" on behalf of J. Pierpont Morgan. The mark of De Marinis appears in most of the manuscripts. The collection eventually ended up in the hands of Nahman who identified the former owner as one Halis Paşa and offered it as having belong to Sultan Abdülhamit II (1842-1918, r.1876-1909).
 For an account of the Abdul Hamid acquisition see Roberta Dougherty, "Islamic Manuscripts at the University of Michigan: Summary of collection history" http://www.lib.umich.edu/files/libraries/area/near_east/IslMssSummary.pdf
 See Kelsey's report of the matter on p.10 of "University of Michigan Near East Research Memorandum no.4, May 16 to July 31, 1924, Constantinople, Turkey, July, 31, 1924" housed in Special Collections administrative files, drawer labeled "Kelsey Material | Sanders’ Papers," file box labeled "Kelsey Memoranda." Upon examination, the bulk of the manuscripts were deemed "so nearly duplicating manuscripts already in the Oriental Department that the Museum would be willing to dispose of them, and wished to give the University of Michigan the first opportunity," again see Memorandum no.4, p.10.
 For full details of the Yahuda acquisition see Evyn Kropf, "The Yemeni Manuscripts of the Yahuda Collection at the University of Michigan: Provenance and Acquisition," Chroniques du manuscrit au Yémen no 13 (2012) http://www.anne.regourd.org/cmy/13/cmy13.02.texte2.pdf.
 At least two volumes were brought from the attic by one Mr. Partington in 1965 (see slips in Isl. Ms. 860 v.2). The Nuttall manuscripts are likely at least partially represented by the “Persian MSS brought from attic by Mr. Partington – Total, May 1, 1968 – 51 v.” referred to in “Islamic and Oriental MSS Mostly Under Local Bibliographic Control” (Special Collections Administrative Files, folder Islamic Manuscripts Acquisitions & General), with the exclusion of the seven manuscripts in Turkish or Arabic.
 University of Michigan. The President's report for 1950-1951. Ann Arbor, MI: The University, 1951, p.261; Behn, Wolfgang. Concise Biographical Companion to Index Islamicus. Leiden, 2004-2006, p.75 ; Jajko, Edward. "Preliminary inventory to the James Heyworth-Dunne Papers, 1860-1949." Hoover Institution Archives, 1999.