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Grant number: PG-233761-16

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Beth Mardutho (Piscataway, NJ 08854-5710)
George Anton Kiraz (Project Director: May 2015 to present)

Beth Mardutho Library Preservation Assessment

A preservation assessment and the purchase of environmental monitoring equipment and storage supplies for the Institute‚Äôs 11,000 books, documents, photographs, and music focusing on Syriac and other Middle Eastern minority traditions.  Collections include 4,000 rare books from 19th- and early 20th-century Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, and Kerala, India; manuscripts and audio recordings of Syriac music; photographs of places and prominent personalities; letters and telegrams dating back to the 1850s; 1,000 volumes and 14 manuscripts of 19th- and 20th-century books printed by now-defunct Middle Eastern publishing houses; and 7,000 volumes and six manuscripts on early Christian history and literature that enable comparison of Western and Eastern sources.  The collections have a wide scholarly use, and the institute regularly collaborates with prominent universities for conferences, workshops, and digitization efforts.

The Beth Mardutho Library Preservation Assessment project seeks funding for the services of a professional preservation consultant and specific materials that she recommends for improving our preservation practices. Beth Mardutho: The Syriac Institute, houses rare collections from the Syriac heritage and other Middle Eastern minority traditions. The institute, located near Rutgers University, is a hub for scholars researching the languages and cultures of the region. Its unique collections include resources for the study of Middle Eastern communities whose histories largely remain obscure to the broader global community. Especially given the current destruction of heritage in the Middle East, Beth Mardutho is of vital importance, both to heirs of endangered traditions, and to the world which benefits from these legacies. Better preservation measures will enhance future growth by improving our ability to circulate our resources more broadly and to host events and people in our space.

Project fields:
Area Studies; Near and Middle Eastern History; Near and Middle Eastern Languages

Preservation Assistance Grants

Preservation and Access

Total amounts:
$2,837 (approved)
$2,837 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2016 – 6/30/2017