Yahuda Collection

Collection of manuscripts acquired by the University Library in 1926 (just following the acquisition of the Abdul Hamid and Tiflis Collections) via a purchase transacted by the well-known Orientalist, Biblical scholar and manuscript collector Abraham Shalom Yahuda (1877-1951) on behalf of his elder brother, the bookseller and scholar Isaac Benjamin S.E. Yahuda, with the University of Michigan’s Francis W. Kelsey. The purchase was facilitated by the British Museum’s Edward Edwards and funded by Horace H. Rackham.

Carrying chiefly Arabic texts (though 15 volumes do carry Ottoman texts and 9 carry Persian texts) addressing Islamic legal topics, Qur'an commentary, hadith, mysticism, grammar, poetry, etc., these manuscripts are among the earliest in the collection with sixty-five percent copied prior to 1700 and twenty-five percent prior to 1500. Most are of Syrian / Levantine or Egyptian provenance, though a few Yemeni manuscripts are also included.

Inventory cataloguing for the majority of the Yahuda Collection at Michigan was supplied on cards by Winifred Smeaton Thomas in roughly 1930-1931. The remainder were catalogued by Elinor Mullett Husselman, a specialist in Greek papyri who served as curator of manuscripts and papyri at the university from 1927 to 1952. Full cataloguing for the collection has been 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 Persian and Ottoman Turkish, or a combination thereof.

References: Kropf, E. “The Yemeni manuscripts of the Yahuda Collection at the University of Michigan: provenance and acquisition.” Chroniques du manuscrit au Yémen no 13 (janvier 2012) (available online at http://www.anne.regourd.org/cmy/13/cmy13.02.texte2.pdf ) ; Plessner, "Yahuda, Abraham Shalom (1877-1951)" in Encyclopaedia Judaica, 2nd ed. v.21, p.272 ; Yahuda, Benjamin J. “Abraham Shalom Jahuda.” Zion, vol. II nos. 8-9 (1951) : pp.55-60 ; Pearson, James D. Oriental manuscripts in Europe and North America : a survey. Zug : Inter Documentation Company, 1971, pp. 332-333 ; Roman, Stephan. The Development of Islamic library collections in Western Europe and North America. London : Mansell, 1990, p. 235 ; Martin, Thomas J. North American collections of Islamic manuscripts. Boston, MA : Hall, 1977, pp. 40-41 ; Dougherty, R. Oriental manuscripts at the University of Michigan (unpublished).

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