Quick Links

Islamic Manuscripts

Liaison librarian

  • Sean [dot] Swanick [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Email) 514-398-6787

The Islamic manuscripts fall into three groups: Arabic, Persian and Turkish. The Arabic manuscripts, some thirty-three codices, are mostly Qurans and tracts on Sufism and Shi’ite sects. In addition, there is a collection of over two hundred pieces of Arabic calligraphy. There are some thirty-five Persian codices, primarily poetry, and about a hundred separate leaves, many containing miniature paintings. Among the latter is one leaf dated to the thirteenth century and a leaf from the Demotte "Shahnama", c. 1350. There are also four Turkish manuscripts, two Malay manuscripts as well as a small number of Urdu and Hindustani manuscripts.

Articles about Islamic Manuscripts held at McGill University


Gacek, Adam. (1989). Arabic Calligraphy and the 'Herbal' of al-Ghâfiqî: A Survey of Arabic Manuscripts at McGill University. Fontanus vol.II, 37-53.

Gacek, Adam. (1990). Early Qur'anic Fragments. Fontanus vol.III, 45-64.

Gacek, Adam. (1991). A Collection of Qur'anic Codices. Fontanus vol. IV, 35-53.

Gacek, Adam and Ali Yaycioglu (1998). Ottoman-Turkish Manuscripts in the Islamic Studies Library and Other Librarians of McGill University. Fontanus vol. X, 41-63.

Gacek, Adam. (1991). Arabic Manuscripts, Fontanus Monograph Series I: McGill University Libraries Arabic Manuscripts, Fontanus Monograph Series I: McGill University Libraries. (Printed version held at the Islamic Studies Library; Call number: Z6605 A6G28)

Gacek, Adam. (1996). Arabic lithographed books in the Islamic Studies Library, McGill University: descriptive catalogue (Printed version held at the Islamic Studies Library; Call number: Z3013 M465)

Gacek, Adam. (2005). Persian manuscripts in the libraries of McGill University: brief union catalogue. Montreal, McGill University Libraries (Printed version held at the Islamic Studies Library; Call number: Z6605 P4 G28 2005)

Gacek, Adam. (2013). Strokes and hairlines : elegant writing and its place in Muslim book culture : an exhibition in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University.

[Ivanow, Wladimir]. "List of Oriental manuscripts, lithographed, and printed medical books presented in 1927 by Dr. Casey A. Wood." Bibliotheca Osleriana. A catalogue of books illustrating the history of medicine and science collected, arranged and annotated by Sir William Osler, BT. and bequeathed to McGill University. Montreal and London, 1969: 701-703.

Lowry, Glenn. "Persian_Manuscript_Leaves" (Unpublished. 1977)

Swanick, Sean. (2012). Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghazālī (1058-1111) : an exhibition held in the Humanities & Social Sciences Library, McGill University : August 15, 2011-March 31, 2012.

Swanick, Sean. 'Of making books there is no end: Islamic Manuscripts on the Web.' College & Research Libraries News, 72, no. 7 (2011): 416-419.

Treasures of Islam. Art and design in Islamic manuscripts (= Trésors de l'islam = Kunûz al-Islâm). CD-ROM. Montreal, Graduate School of Library and Information Studies. McGill University, 1999.

Watson, William J. "The C.A. Wood collection of Oriental manuscripts." A dictionary catalogue of the Blacker-Wood Library of Zoology and Ornithology. Boston, 1966: 681-684.

-----. "Ibrahim Müteferrika and Turkish incunabula." Journal of the American Oriental Society, 88, no. 3 (1968): 435-441.


McGill Digital Collections

Shahnameh exhibition, held in the Islamic Studies Library in 2011.

Never hence would I die for I am alive/ having sown the seeds of poetry

Islamic Calligraphy exhibition, held in the Islamic Studies Library in 2011

Beautiful calligraphy ensures entrance to Paradise


McGill Catalogue: Persian Manuscripts

The links below reflect only those Persian Manuscripts included in McGill University's catalogue. The Persian Manuscripts are held at the Rare Books and Special Collections department in the McLennan Library, with the exception of the Osler collection which are held at the Osler Library.

Islamic Manuscripts Catalogues held at the Islamic Studies Library

Islamic Manuscripts online resources and collections

Related resources

Classified as

Questions? Ask Us!    Email  •  Chat  •  Phone            Comments/suggestions? Please let us know.