The Library recently put online some 230 histortic manuscripts, some of them more than a thousand years old, in Hebrew and similar languages, such as Judeo-Arabic, Judeo-Persian and Yiddish. The collection, available online for researchers and the public for the first time, includes a 14th-century collection of responsa, or rabbinic decisions and commentary, by Solomon ibn Adret of Barcelona, considered one of the most prominent authorities on Jewish law.
The Library preserves some of the papers of Sultan Ibrahim Njoya, the visionary leader of the Bamum kingdom in modern-day Cameroon in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Njoya's royal family had ruled their region of the grasslands for hundreds of years. Under pressure from the colonial powers of Germany and then France, he created the first map of the kingdom, a language, an alphabet and a religion. He was a renowed patron of the arts, encouraging teachers, sculptors and artisans.
During the Russian Revolution, a wealthy young Jewish woman fled Moscow to publish the world's first illustrated children's books in Hebrew. Today, the only know copy of three of those books are preserved at the Library.
(The following is a guest post by Anchi Hoh, program specialist in the African and Middle Eastern Division.) The Library of Congress’s African and Middle Eastern Division recently added to its treasure trove a very important 15th century Arabic manuscript on astronomy and mathematics. “Tahrir al-Majisti” (“Commentary on the Almagest”), by Nasir al-Din al-Tusi, is …