The collection comprises approximately 2900 manuscripts, mainly in Arabic, Persian, Ottoman Turkish and Indian
languages. Smaller numbers of Ethiopian, Burmese, Hebrew, Coptic and Syrian manuscripts, as well as objects in
other languages complement the holdings.
As Oriental studies were part of the curriculum ever since Universität Göttingen was founded in 1734, the
acquisition of relevant literature was crucial to the institution. In the 18th century, Johann David Michaelis
(1717−1791) and Georg Thomas von Asch (1729−1807) provided the library with primarily Islamic manuscripts in
addition to Baron von Asch's contribution of some Tibetan, Kalmyk and Mongolian objects. In the 19th and early
20th centuries, various scholars contributed several smaller collections, among whom Ferdinand Wüstenfeld
(1808−1899) and Friedrich Carl Andreas (1846-1930) contributed Arabic manuscripts, Heinrich Brugsch (1827−1894)
contributed Coptic and Christian Arabic manuscripts, Paul de Lagarde (1827−1891) added Christian Oriental
manuscripts and Franz Kielhorn (1840−1908) and Ramakrishna Gopal Bhandarkar (1837−1925) contributed Sanskrit
manuscripts. SUB Göttingen also holds South Indian palm-leaf manuscripts from the estate of Otto Schrader
(1876−1961). In the 1960s, additions included several collections of Indian and one collection of Burmese
manuscripts. Further, the library obtained reproductions of manuscripts from Göttinger Seminar für Indologie und
Buddhismuskunde, photographed by Rahula Sankrtyanna (1893−1963) in Tibet in the 1930s. In 1995, the Barudi
manuscript collection, which includes Arabic, Persian and Turkish objects, was acquired from a family library.
Classmarks are primarily determined by language, rarely by script.
Meyer Wilhelm (Hg):
Handschriften im Preussischen Staate
, Hannover [Bd. 1]: Die Handschriften in Göttingen, Teil 3
(Universitäts-Bibliothek: Nachlässe von Gelehrten, Orientalische Handschriften, Handschriften im Besitz von
Instituten und Behörden, Register zu Band 1-3), Berlin: A. Bath, 1894.
- The index contains references to Arabic, Persian and Turkish manuscripts (p. 209ff.).