- Collection Overview
- Collection Description & Creator Information
- Access & Use
- Collection History
- Find Related Materials
- Princeton University. Dept. of Near Eastern Studies.
- Department of Near Eastern Studies Records
- Princeton University Archives
- Permanent URL:
- 25 boxes, 4 items, and 1 websites
- Storage Note:
- Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Boxes 1-25; S-000244
- English Arabic
The Department of Oriental Studies was formed at Princeton University in the spring of 1927 as the Department of Oriental Languages and Literature. It offered an interdisciplinary curriculum centered on the study of the Arabic, Turkish, and Persian languages and the regions in which they were spoken until 1969, when it was reorganized into the separate Departments of Near Eastern Studies and East Asian Studies. The records consist of correspondence, memoranda, printed materials, course syllabi, and other materials which document the activities of the department and it's faculty inside and outside of the classroom.
Collection Description & Creator Information
The Department of Near Eastern Studies Records consist primarily of records dating from the departments existance as the Department of Oriental Studies. Included are correspondence, memoranda, printed materials, course syllabi, and other materials which document the activities of the department which is the forbearer to both the Department of Near Eastern Studies and the Department of East Asian Studies. Though the material covers nearly the entire span of the Department, it is particularly strong in its coverage of the late 1950s and early 1960s, when the Department was under the chairmanship of T. Cuyler Young. The Department's sponsorship and hosting of academic conferences and its summer seminar program are also well represented.
Please see series descriptions in contents list for additional information about individual series.
- Collection Creator Biography:
Princeton University. Dept. of Near Eastern Studies.
The Department of Oriental Studies was formed at Princeton University in the spring of 1927 as the Department of Oriental Languages and Literature. The recommendation that was approved by the Trustees in January reads as follows: "That there be instituted a Department of Oriental Languages and Literature, primarily for the purpose of the coordination of graduate instruction and research in the fields of Semitic and Indo-European philology. It is not the intention that a set of undergraduate courses be organized in this Department, so that an upperclassman may elect the Department as his field of special study, as in the case of other Departments."
The institution of such a department was the natural outgrowth of pockets of interest which had existed on campus for many years. The archaeological excavations of Professor of Architecture Howard Crosby Butler to Syria, Anatolia, and other locations in the first decade of the twentieth century had endowed the University with an ample collection of artifacts, making it a center of knowledge in the field. Similarly, the efforts of collector Robert Garrett 1897 in the first half of the twentieth century supplied Princeton with the basis for the largest collection of Islamic manuscripts in North America.
Among faculty, the individual who assumed leadership of the department at the time of its founding was Harold H. Bender, professor of Indo-German Philology. Other notable early faculty members associated with the department include Edmund Yard Robbins, specialist in Sanskrit, and Philip K. Hitti, who succeeded Bender as chairman.
The Department of Oriental Languages and Literature continued to offer study exclusively on the graduate level until World War II, when language courses were opened to servicemen as part of the University's special army and navy training programs. World events led to a surge of interest in the languages and culture of the region, which led to the formation of the Program in Near Eastern Studies in 1945. The interdisciplinary program, under the supervision of the Department, offered undergraduates the opportunity to elect Near Eastern Studies as their field of concentration. Graduate study more narrowly focused on the Near East was also moved under the auspices of the program at this time. Acting as chairman for the program in Near Eastern Studies (and for the Department of Oriental Studies after 1954) was T. Cuyler Young, a specialist in Turkish.
Both the Department of Oriental Languages and Literature and its subsidiary Near Eastern Studies Program formulated a curriculum that recognized the Arabic, Turkish, and Persian languages as the core of a greater understanding of the religion, culture, history, and art of the regions in which they were spoken. As one of the few departments in the United States to undertake such studies, the department became quite well-known and demand for instruction was high. A sponsored summer seminar in Arabic and Islamic studies beginning in 1935 attracted individuals from all fields of academia, and beginning in 1940, annual Near East conferences brought scholars from the international community to Princeton each year.
To reflect its broadening scope of interests the Department of Oriental Languages and Literatures changed its title to the Department of Oriental Studies in 1959-1960. In 1961 a growing number of classes in East Asian languages and culture led to the formation of a similar interdisciplinary program in that field. Much as the resource of the Garrett manuscripts had served as an impetus for the original Oriental Studies curriculum, the East Asian Studies program drew heavily on the Gest Oriental Library.
In 1969 full departmental status was bestowed upon both the Program in Near Eastern Studies and the Program in East Asian Studies, which resulted in the dissolution of the Department of Oriental Studies.
The records were transferred by the Department of Oriental Studies to the University Archives over the course of several accessions, all of which took place in the years 1964-1967 .
A transfer of records from the Department of Near Eastern Studies was received in 2008 .
The materials related to research and a conference on Turkey in box 24 are of uncertain provenance, but may have been donated to the archives by Professor Frederic C. Shorter. Materials in Box 25, group photographs and Near East Conference papers, were donated by Bayly P. Winder in 2021 (AR.2022.075).
The Department of Oriental Studies dissolved in 1969, therefore no further accruals of records are anticipated. However, its successor, the Department of Near Eastern Studies may transfer additional materials in the future.
Appraisal has been conducted in accordance with Mudd Library guidelines. In processing this collection many duplicate copies of undistributed conference programs, as well as two editions of the Princeton University Alumni catalogue were removed and discarded.
- Processing Information
This collection was processed by Daniel Brennan in October 2007. Finding aid written by Daniel Brennan in October 2007. Box 24 was added by Christie Peterson in June 2012. Box 25 was added by Phoebe Nobles in 2022.
Access & Use
- Conditions Governing Access
Records from this collection are closed for a period of 25 years from the date of creation of the record with the exception of records pertaining to students and faculty, which are closed until the individual's death. Restrictions longer than 25 years are noted in the relevant series descriptions and in the folder list.
- Conditions Governing Use
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. For quotations that are fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. The Trustees of Princeton University hold copyright to all materials generated by Princeton University employees in the course of their work. If copyright is held by Princeton University, researchers will not need to obtain permission, complete any forms, or receive a letter to move forward with non-commercial use of materials from the Mudd Library. For materials where the copyright is not held by the University, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold the copyright and obtaining approval from them. If you have a question about who owns the copyright for an item, you may request clarification by contacting us through the Ask Us! form.
- Credit this material:
Department of Near Eastern Studies Records; Princeton University Archives, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library
- Permanent URL:
- Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript LibrarySeeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library65 Olden StreetPrinceton, NJ 08540, USA(609) 258-6345
- Storage Note:
- Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Boxes 1-25; S-000244
- Other Finding Aids
Full text searching of this collection's archived website is available through the Archive-It interface.
- Subject Terms:
- Arabic language -- Study and teaching -- New Jersey -- Princeton.
Persian language -- Study and teaching -- New Jersey -- Princeton.
Turkish language -- Study and teaching -- New Jersey -- Princeton.
Universities and colleges -- New Jersey -- Princeton -- Departments.
- Genre Terms:
- Web sites.
- Princeton University . Dept. of Near Eastern Studies.
Princeton University. Department of Oriental Languages and Literature.
Princeton University. Dept. of East Asian Studies.
Princeton University. Dept. of Oriental Studies.
Hitti, Philip K. (Philip Khuri), 1886-1978
Young, T. Cuyler (Theodore Cuyler), 1900-1976