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Collection Development Policy

Ancient Near East: Collection Development Policy

Ancient Near East
Catherine Mardikes
December 2013

Brief Overview of the Collection


The University of Chicago has been a center of ancient Near Eastern studies ever since its founding in 1891.  Indeed the exceptional quality of the Ancient Near Eastern Collections was noted even before the doors of the University of Chicago opened.  Its newly appointed founding president, William Rainey Harper, himself a Professor of Semitic Languages, procured an excellent cache of materials from the firm of S. Calvary and Company, a notable Berlin bookseller that had made its reputation in the fields of classical philology, archaeology, and Orientalia.   The purchase included 39,020 German dissertations.  This collection later became known as the Berlin Collection.  With the acquisition of the Berlin Collection, the Library became the largest in Chicago, and by 1896 it was the second-largest university collection in the United States with 340,000 titles.  In the areas of classics and ancient Near Eastern studies, there was not only an immediate scholarly audience present at the founding of the University, but both subjects became deeply rooted in the University and continued to thrive as the programs in these areas flourished.  The Library’s holdings clearly reflect the University’s intense interest in these subjects.  

The following types of material are usually excluded:

Introductory textbooks, anthologies of previously published materials, and some professional handbooks are not purchased.  Unrevised US dissertations that are available via ProQuest Digital Dissertations are excluded.

Physical Formats Included & Excluded:

All formats are included; however, obsolete media are generally excluded.  Electronic formats are preferred over print for journals, reference works, and collections of essays.

Publication Dates Collected:

All dates.


Subject Specialist

Profile Photo
Catherine Mardikes
Bibliographer for Classics, the Ancient Near East, & General Humanities and interim Linguistics
Joseph Regenstein Library,
Room 471
Office: 773-702-2783
Cell: 773-820-2842