Tiflis Collection

Collection of manuscripts acquired from the British Museum in 1924 by University of Michigan professor Francis W. Kelsey with funds provided by an anonymous donor (Horace H. Rackham). The manuscripts came to the British Museum via the British Foreign Office - likely from Tbilisi (Tiflis) where the Caucasian Museum was located - but were deemed duplicate to others already in the British Museum's collections.

The vast majority of these manuscripts contain Arabic texts dealing with Islamic legal topics (jurisprudence), doctrine, mysticism, philosophy, dialectic and Arabic grammar. They show great signs of wear and were likely consulted often by scholars and practitioners.  A significant number of items from the collection were once part of the waqf library established around 1845-46 by Abdullah Edip Cennetzade in Erzurum. A number of others were part of the waqf libraries established by al-Shaykh Aḥmad Ḍiyāʼ al-Dīn ibn Muṣṭafá al-Khālidī (i.e. Ahmed Ziyâüddîn Gümüşhanevî, d. 1893 or 4), a Ṣūfī shaykh of the Naqshbandīyah-Khālidīyah suborder who was an active patron of learning.

Inventory cataloguing for the Tiflis Collection was first supplied on cards between January-June 1925 by William Hoyt Worrell, University of Michigan Professor of Semitics. Full cataloguing for the collection was realized by project staff and contributors to the "Collaboration in Cataloging: Islamic Manuscripts at Michigan" project.

Language: Chiefly in Arabic; with a few items in Arabic and Persian or Arabic and Ottoman Turkish.

References: Pearson, Or. Mss Eur. N. Amer., p. 332; Martin, N. Amer. Colls. Isl. Mss, pp. 40-1; Roman, Dev. of Islamic Lib. Colls., pp. 235-236; Dougherty, R. Oriental manuscripts at the University of Michigan (unpublished); Kropf, "Historical Repair, Recycling and Recovering Phenomena in the Islamic Bindings of the University of Michigan Library: Exploring the Codicological Evidence," In Suave Mechanicals: Essays on the History of Bookbinding vol. 1, ed. Julia Miller (Ann Arbor, MI: The Legacy Press, 2013): 31-32.

View descriptions for the manuscripts of the Tiflis Collection currently posted to the site here.