Global Books at the Beinecke Library

The Beinecke has a rich collection of non-Western materials that has been part of its teaching and research collection since the nineteenth century. New pages will be posted approximately every other week that explain the history of these books with images and links to other materials, both in Yale’s collections and beyond.



Ethiopic Manuscripts

Syriac Manuscripts

Japanese Manuscripts and Early Printed Books

Tibetan Thankas

Hebrew Manuscripts

Persian Manuscripts

These pages were authored by Kristen Herdman, a Ph.D. candidate in Yale’s Medieval Studies program with an emphasis on Art History, under the direction of Ray Clemens, curator of Early Books and Manuscripts.  These pages will evolve and be updated over time, so please reach out to us with suggestions for further reseach. If you have suggestions or questions, please write to us at Kristen Herdman or Ray Clemens.  For additional information about these materials, please see the librarians at the Department of Area Studies and Humanities Research Support.

An open manuscript with text and images of chickens.

A Batak manuscript on bark from the Indonesian island of Sumatra.  The text, used by a shaman to prognosticate based on the entrails of sacrificed chickens, is written on strips of bark that are joined and folded into an accordian format, circa 1860-1920. Beinecke Library GEN MSS VOL 702.

Video: Ethiopic Manuscripts and Global Books