Modern Greek Studies Association

Modern Greek Collection at Princeton University

Princeton, New Jersey

History and Description

The growth of the Modern Greek Collection at Princeton University parallels that of the Program in Hellenic Studies, which was established in 1979 to strengthen teaching and research in all aspects of Byzantine and modern Greek civilization, including their relation to the Classical tradition and the Late Antique world. The current level of collecting is high in order to meet the needs of scholars in Classical, Byzantine, and Modern Greek studies at both the graduate and post-doctoral levels. Most books and bound periodicals are housed in the Harvey S. Firestone Memorial Library (which has open stacks and houses the Rare Books and Special Collections division) with additional materials in branch libraries—Marquand Library of Art and Archaeology, Architecture Library, Mendel Music Library, and the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library. Current periodicals are displayed in the Hellenic Studies Reading Room which also holds a reference collection.

For more information, see "The Modern Greek Collections at Princeton University, JMGS 26:1 (May 2008), 1-17. (Requires access to Project Muse to view on-line)


The collections in the Firestone Library at Princeton University, supplemented by the Marquand Library in the areas of ancient and Byzantine art and archaeology, are particularly strong in Byzantine manuscripts; Byzantine art, history, literature and culture; history of the Greek book; 20th-century modern Greek literature (in Greek); Anglo-American literary philhellenism; 19th- and 20th-century travel to Greece; Greeks in the Ottoman Empire; the Greek Enlightenment; and United States-Greek relations in the 20th-century.

Holdings in the Manuscript Collection include, among others, George Seferis' manuscripts of works that he wrote in residence at Princeton, his personal library of his own works (annotated) in Greek and other languages, and his correspondence with T.S. Eliot, Henry Miller, and Edmund Keeley; Odysseas Elytis' unpublished manuscripts and correspondence with the Italian critic and translator Mario Vitti; Kimon Friar's correspondence with Nikos Kazantzakis; an almost complete collection of the self-published pamphlets from Alexandria by C.P. Cavafy; the letters and manuscripts of Demetrios Capetanakis contained in the Lehmann Family Papers; and the archives of the Modern Greek Studies Association and the Journal of Modern Greek Studies.

In addition, the Manuscript Collection has significant holdings of ancient Greek and Byzantine texts. It collects codices of texts of classical authors and Greek papyri and Greek Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts from the 9th-16th centuries. It also maintains a Greek and Roman coin collection of some 10,000 coins.

Access to classics-related materials is further strengthened by the libraries of the Princeton Theological Seminary for patristic Greek and the Institute for Advanced Study. Moreover, the University Art Museum possesses a fine collection of Greek and Roman antiquities, including early ceramics, small bronzes, coins, and mosaics.

Publications on the Greek collections at Princeton University

 The Princeton University Library Chronicle is freely available on-line

Bennett, Adelaide, Jean F. Preston, and William P. Stoneman 1992
A Summary Guide to Western Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts at Princeton University. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Library.

Clark, Alexander P. 1958 "The Manuscript Collections of the Princeton University Library: An Introductory Survey." Princeton University Library Chronicle 19, 3-4:159-190.

Coleman, Earle E. 1970 "The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections at Princeton." Princeton University Library Chronicle 32, 1:35-54.

Ćurčić, Slobodan and Archer St. Clair, editors 1986
Byzantium at Princeton: Byzantine Art and Archaeology at Princeton University. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Library (the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections).

Friend, Albert M. 1942 "The Greek Manuscripts." Princeton University Library Chronicle 3, 4:131-135.

Gondicas, Dimitri 1997 "Modern Greek Literature at Princeton: Building a Program and Collection." Princeton University Library Chronicle 58, 3:343-351.

Gondicas, Dimitri and Karin Trainer 1999 "Modern Greek Collections at Princeton: Overview and Prospects." From a conference at the Library of Congress on Strengthening Modern Greek Collections. Available here

Johnson, Allan C. 1942 "The Papyri." Princeton University Library Chronicle 3, 4:140-144.

Ridgway, Brunilde S., et al. 1994 Greek Sculpture in the Art Museum, Princeton University: Greek Originals, Roman Copies, and Variants. Princeton, NJ: The Art Museum, Princeton University.

David Jenkins
Librarian for Classics, Hellenic Studies, and Linguistics
Firestone Library
Princeton University
1 Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544

Phone: 609-258-5811


Library Catalog

Library Resources for Hellenic Studies

The Princeton University Library Chronicle is freely available on-line