GARRETT COLLECTION, one of the finest collections of Near Eastern manuscripts, bequeathed to the Princeton University Library by Robert Garrett (1875-1961), a graduate (1897) and a trustee of the University (1905-61). Although the collection contains mostly Arabic manuscripts, its Persian holdings are significant, including a number of important and exquisite manuscripts, such as a copy of ʿOmar Ḵayyām’s Robāʿīyāt (dated 868/1463-4), illustrated copies of Saʿdī’s Golestān (dated 960/1522-23), Amīr Ḵosrow Dehlavī’s Ḵamsa (dated 930/1524), and the Dīvān ofḤāfeẓ (dated 926/1520). The most prized possession of the collection, however, was a copy of Šaraf-al-Dīn ʿAlī Yazdī’s Ẓafar-nāma, dated 872/1467-68, which contained twelve miniatures attributed to Kamāl-al-Dīn Behzād (q.v.) and which, in 1940, Garrett decided to sell, together with an extremely rare 11th-century Kufic Koran, in order to raise money to purchase a collection of Near Eastern manuscripts offered for sale by another collector named Abraham Shalom Yahuda. Garret’s brother, John W. Garrett, eventually purchased the two manuscripts and Garrett was able to obtain the Yahuda collection and bequeathed it to Princeton University in 1942. Yazdī’s Ẓafar-nāma was later donated by John W. Garrett to Johns Hopkins University, where it is housed in the John Work Garrett Library.



T. W. Arnold, Bihzād and His Paintings in the Zafarnāmah MS., London, 1930.

R. Garrett, “Recollections of a Collector,” The Princeton University Library Chronicle 10/3, April 1942, pp. 103-17.

P. K. Hitti, “The Arabic and Islamic Manuscripts,” The Princeton University Library Chronicle 3/4, June 1942, pp. 116-22.

P. K. Hitti, N. A. Faris, and B. ʿAbd-Al-Malik, Descriptive Catalog of the Garrett Collection of Arabic Manuscripts in the Princeton University Library, Princeton, 1938.

R. Mach and R. D. McChesney, Catalog of Arabic Manuscripts (Yahuda Section) in the Garrett Collection, Princeton University Library, Princeton, 1977.

M. E. Moghadam, Y. Armajani, and P. K. Hitti, Descriptive Catalog of the Garrett Collection of Persian, Turkish and Indic Manuscripts, Including Some Miniatures in the Princeton University Library, Princeton, 1939.

(Kambiz Eslami)

Originally Published: December 15, 2000

Last Updated: February 2, 2012

This article is available in print.
Vol. X, Fasc. 3, p. 318