Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Hamburg Carl von Ossietzky


Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Hamburg holds around 530 Oriental manuscripts, most of which have the classmark Cod. orient. The majority of these are Arabic, Persian and Ottoman-Turkish manuscripts. There also exist smaller holdings in various other Asian and African languages. Moreover, the collection contains approximately 580 Hebrew manuscripts, about 500 palm-leaf manuscripts as well as Coptic fragments and Arabic fragments of the Copts. It also includes transcripts, notes and works by Orientalists in the three Islamic languages as well as in Latin, German and Dutch, which are of great importance for the early modern history of science.

Collection history

The collection of Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Hamburg (successor to the Stadtbibliothek Hamburg) is largely based on donations and bequests. Oriental manuscripts have been added to the collection since the 17th century. The first major accession was the bequest of the Hamburg pastor Johann Christoph Wolf in 1739. Most of these manuscripts had previously been part of other private libraries, such as those of the pastors Joachim Morgenweg (1666−1730) and Abraham Hinkelmann (1652−1695).

Another major addition was made by Wolf's younger brother Johann Christian Wolf (1690−1770), who was head of the city library from 1746. He acquired a large part of the estate of the Frankfurt collector Zacharias Conrad von Uffenbach (1683−1734), who also collected Oriental manuscripts.

In the 19th century, donations were added, such as those from the Schleswig-Holstein General Superintendent Jacob Georg Christian Adler (1756-1834) or that of Andreas David Mordtmann (1811−1879). In the 20th century, the collection also grew quite considerably: around 190 manuscripts were bequeathed to the library or acquired by it.


  • Tilo Brandis, Die Codices in scrinio der Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Hamburg 1-110, Katalog der Handschriften der Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Hamburg VII, Hamburg 1972.
  • Carl Brockelmann, Katalog der orientalischen Handschriften der Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek zu Hamburg: die arabischen, persischen, türkischen, malaiischen, koptischen, syrischen und äthiopischen Handschriften, reprint of the Hamburg 1908 edition, Stuttgart 1969.
  • Veronika Six, Die arabischen Handschriftenfragmente der koptischen Klöster Dayr Abū Maqār und Dayr Abū Pšoi der Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Carl von Ossietzky, Hamburg, Stuttgart 2017 (VOHD 43,1 and 43,2).
  • Hanna Sohrweide, with the cooperation of Barbara Flemming, Jan Schmidt and Tobias Völker, Türkische Handschriften der Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Hamburg und der Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Teil 7, Stuttgart 2022 (VOHD 13,7).
  • Moritz Steinschneider, Catalog der hebräischen Handschriften in der Stadtbibliothek zu Hamburg und der sich anschließenden in anderen Sprachen, mit einem Vorw. zur Neuausg. von Hellmut Braun, reprint of the Hamburg 1878 edition, Stuttgart 1969.
  • Ernst Róth and Hans Striedl, Die Handschriften der Sammlung H B Levy an der Staats-und Universitätsbibliothek Hamburg, Stuttgart 1984 (VOHD 6,3).