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Asiatick Researches: English Sources for Oriental Studies in ...

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Asiatick Researches: English Sources for Oriental Studies in ...

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Asiatick Researches: English Sources for OrientalStudiesinG¨ottingenUniversity Library, 1735–1800
Graham Jefcoate
TheUniversityLibraryofG¨ottingen,foundedin1734,had,bytheturn of the nineteenth century, built a comprehensive scholarly collection for study and research. Within the collection, books printed in the English speaking world played an important role and, among these, sources for oriental studies are prominent. Through the systematic acquisition of an tiquarianandcurrentprintedmaterial,Go¨ttingenslibrariansensuredthat readers had access to the great majority of ‘‘canonical’’ titles in the field and were able to follow in some detail the expansion of British imperial interests in the East.
At the turn of the nineteenth century, a reader or researcher seeking a comprehensive and accessible collection of printed materials about Asia, in English, might have done worse than consider traveling not to one of the great libraries of Britain or America, but rather to a small and somewhat obscure town in north central Germany. By 1800 the uni versitylibraryatGo¨ttingenhadassembledwhatwasalmostcertainlythe largest collection of books in English (or printed in other languages in Englishspeaking countries) outside the Anglophone world. Works of scholarly merit had been acquired methodically for nearly seventy years. New accessions were recorded systematically in a subject catalogue for easy accessibility, and the library was widely recognized as a model of its kind. Indeed, it is doubtful whether readers in London, Oxford, Cam bridge, Edinburgh, or Harvard had better access to information on ori entaltopicsorcurrentaffairsinAsiathanreadersinG¨ottingen. TheGeorgiaAugustaatG¨ottingenwasfoundedin1734andformally opened in 1737 as the university of the Hanoverian electorate. Detailed planning of the new university had been carried out under the supervi sionofGerlachAdolph,FreiherrvonM¨unchhausen(16881770),the senior minister in the Hanoverian government, who also served as its firstKuratoror chancellor. Its foundation was regarded by contemporaries as a parallel to the establishment of a university on the most uptodate
Libraries & Culture,Vol. 33, No. 3, Summer 1998 1998 by the University of Texas Press, P.O. Box 7819, Austin, TX 787137819