The Blegen Library, American School of Classical Studies at Athens

The Blegen Library ( is one of two libraries of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens ( It is a research library focusing on the languages and material cultures of the Classical World and Eastern Mediterranean, from the beginning of human habitation through the Roman period.

Founded in 1888 in the main building of the American School, the facilities of the Blegen Library have expanded three times, most recently with the addition of the south wing in 1991, which effectively doubled the space of the library.

The collection currently has more than ninety thousand volumes and nearly seven hundred current periodicals. It is one of the best research libraries for the study of ancient Greece in the world, and the best in Greece. In addition to its print collection, the Blegen offers a robust selection of electronic resources. (

It’s holdings are presented in the Online Public Access Catalog AMBROSIA (, jointly with our sister library at the American School, The Gennadius Library, and with the Library of the British School at Athens.

The Blegen Library uses a unique classification scheme (, developed specifically to organize data in Classics and Archaeology (

The Blegen Library serves a wide community of scholars. A core group of about one hundred post-graduate students, faculty, and fellows are resident at any given moment, and these scholars have access to the collections 24 hours a day, seven days a week, year round. In addition, access to the wider academic community is granted and welcomed. At any moment the Blegen has about a thousand active, card-holding readers. ( These come from the other foreign archaeological schools, the Greek university faculty and post-graduate student communities, the Ministry of Culture, the Antiquities service, and visitors who come from abroad. Altogether, readers visit the Blegen library about thirteen thousand times a year. Because the collection has open stacks and is non-circulating, it is possible for scholars to work intensely and productively in an intellectually stimulating environment. As a central place for the scholarly community engaged in the study of ancient Greece, the Blegen also acts as a nexus for communication among those scholars, and for senior scholars and students.

Except for holidays, the Blegen is open year round, and use is steady and reasonably heavy at all times, but it peaks during the summer months, when field projects and visitors from abroad are active.


Columbia University

Columbia University Libraries began a focused collection in Modern Greek literature only in the late 1990s, with the establishment of the academic program in Modern Greek Studies.  The collection currently houses over 6000 monographs and nearly 100 periodicals.  The emphasis of the collection is on 19th- and 20th-century literature, which is housed in Butler Library, while numerous works in art, architecture, archaeology, and urban design may be found in Avery Library.  Several works on cultural history are available from the Athens Microfilm Services, in the Microforms Reading Room in Butler Library, and Lehman Library holds a growing collection of political science and anthropological works.

Further information on Columbia University Libraries' collection development policy may be found at .


The Gennadius Library, American School of Classical Studies at Athens

The Gennadius Library is part of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, which was established in 1881. The Gennadius Library was founded in 1922 when John Gennadius, ambassador to the court of England, offered his collection of 26,000 titles to the American School of Classical Studies at Athens to preserve and open to the scholarly public. The Library, which was inaugurated in 1926, is a renowned center for the study of the history, language, literature and art Greece and the Greek world from the end of antiquity to the present.

Many of the books of the original collection of John Gennadius are rare volumes while the Library also houses collections of fine art and a large collection of precious historical maps. Numerous archives of archaeologists (Henry Schliemann), political figures (such as the Ali Pasha and Dragoumis papers), and writers including the Nobel laureates George Seferis and Odysseas Elytis are among the most valuable of the Library’s treasures. In the past 79 years of its existence the Library has invested in acquiring an important research collection to complement the original donation. The Library now houses 112,000 volumes among which there are numerous rare periodicals that attract the attention of many scholars.

Initially open to 2-5 readers, the Library now accommodates about 40 to 80 readers per day. Renovated, climate controlled spaces for the storage of books and archives as well as new offices and seminar rooms offer new possibilities for the future growth of the Library in the last five years. The Mandilas Rare Book Reading Room and the Athanassiadis Seminar Room have provided the library with spaces in which to hold seminars and educational programs. A new auditorium, Cotsen Hall, offers the Gennadius a marvelous space for lectures and symposia. This year the Gennadius organizes five lectures and a holiday concert in addition to the annual Walton Lecture that the Library has hosted in the last twenty five years in memory of its librarian Francis R. Walton. The Library offers a post-doctoral fellowship (the Allison Frantz fellowship) and the Cotsen Traveling to collection fellowship. In recent years the Library has also accommodated NEH scholars working on its collections.

In the last decade the Library has embarked in various projects to enhance its digital resources. A union electronic catalog combining the holdings of the Gennadius and the Blegen library of the American School and the library of the British School, AMBROSIA, was established in 2004. It is based on the Aleph integrated library system. Problems from the retrospective conversion, the three different classification systems, and non-standardized subject and authority headings are still being worked on to standardize the database. Several local databases will soon be available for consultation in Gennadius public terminals. Our Photo Archives database is currently being enhanced with digital images; Gennadius maps have been indexed in the Mediterranean Lands database in collaboration with the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) and we are embarking on digitizing the most significant maps in our collection; a travelers indexing database should be available for public consultation by September 2006; and we are embarking onto a project to index at an article-level the major Greek and South European research journals (GSERJ) in collaboration with CAORC and the University of Ioannina Library. Several finding aids and catalogs of archival material are available to the users of the Gennadius Archives. In 2005 the Dimitris Mitropoulos Papers and part of the George Seferis Papers were digitized, the catalog of the Stratis Myrivilis was completed, and the Gennadius received a large part of the Angelos Terzakis papers.

Fundraising and collaborating with sister institutions has been essential in this respect. We are in the process of setting our priorities in order to digitize our rarest and most precious materials in order to preserve them, to facilitate scholarly research, to share them with scholars and users, and to enrich our web presence.

In the first decade of the 21 st century the Gennadeion is becoming an international research center for the study of Hellenism by joining forces with libraries and academic programs across the world. Furthermore, it aspires to become what the American School is for Classics departments in North America: a focal institution in the study of Hellenism in the post-classical period for all departments with a Hellenic studies component in North America. As a first step we would like to make the Gennadius a repository for dissertations (in print or digital form) on post-classical Hellenic studies topics composed outside the borders of Greece. What seemed a dream 50 or 70 years ago is now possible thanks to new technological tools. Only the global dissemination of knowledge will make sure that a fine institution like the Gennadius can attract enough people fitting the inscription on the frieze of the library’s façade: ΕΛΛΗΝΕΣ ΚΑΛΟΥΝΤΑΙ ΟΙ ΤΗΣ ΠΑΙΔΕΥΣΕΩΣ ΤΗΣ ΗΜΕΤΕΡΑΣ ΜΕΤΕΧΟΝΤΕΣ (Greeks are called those who share in our culture), borrowed from Isocrates' Panegyricus.

Maria Georgopoulou, Director
Gennadius Library
American School of Classical Studies at Athens
61 Souidias Street
10676 Athens, Greece
tel: +30-210-7210536; fax: +30-210-7237767 email:;

Library of Congress

Modern Greek Collections at the Library of Congress, Kraus

Updated Brief Overview, Leich


Princeton University

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 manuscipts 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.

Collection Development Policy Statement for Hellenic (chiefly Modern Greek) Studies at Princeton


Tsakopoulos Hellenic Collection, California State University, Sacramento

The Tsakopoulos Hellenic Collection is comprised of the holdings of the former Speros Basil Vryonis Center for the Study of Hellenism, with which you may be familiar, and serves as the anchor of our campus' growing program in Hellenic studies.

The Tsakopoulos Hellenic Collection is the premier Hellenic collection in the western United States and one of the largest of its kind in the country. The Collection consists of some 70,000 volumes, including a large circulating book collection, journal holdings, electronic resources, non-print media materials, rare books, archival material, art and artifacts. There is a broad representation of languages in the Collection, with a rich a rich assortment of primary source materials.

The Collection contains early through contemporary materials across the disciplines of the social sciences and humanities spanning the Hellenic world from antiquity to the present, the Balkans, Ottoman and modern Turkey, and the Near and Middle East. My role as steward of this unique and valuable resource includes enhancing the Collection to meet the needs of our campus curriculum, particularly our growing program in Hellenic studies, making the Collection known and accessible to scholars around the world, and community outreach. Visit the Collection's Web site at for more information and to learn about current and future events. Please update any Internet links or bookmarks to the former Vryonis Center to this new address.

With certain exceptions the Collection does circulate and is available through Interlibrary Loan. For more information visit our Library's Web site at, where you can search the holdings of the Collection in Eureka, our on-line catalog.


University of Cincinnati

U.C.’s Modern Greek Collection began in 1930 with a fruitful partnership between Carl W. Blegen, the U.C. archaeologist, who made important discoveries at Troy and Pylos, and a like minded couple: Professor William Semple, Head of the Classics Department from 1920 to 1951, and his wife, Louise Taft Semple. Blegen’s initial request for funding from the Semples was directed toward the purchase of research materials in traditional Classical fields of scholarship—ancient Greek literature, archaeology and history. Over the next few years, he expanded the focus of his purchases to encompass books and serials on Byzantium and on Modern Greek history, literature, philosophy, economics, religion, linguistics, sociology and folklore. Blegen’s personal stewardship of the collection continued until his death in 1971. During these four decades, he was responsible for acquiring many out-of-print titles for our collection as well as adding current publications. Similarly, Louise Taft Semple’s support continued. In 1961, she established a generous endowment for the U.C. Classics Department in memory of her father, Charles Phelps Taft. Most of our acquisitions budget comes from that endowment.

After Blegen’s death, Peter Topping, who came to U.C. as Professor of History and Modern Greek Studies in 1961, selected materials for the Collection. Eugenia Foster, who was later named Curator of the Modern Greek Collection, worked with Topping in selecting materials and, after he left for Dumbarton Oaks, was responsible for Modern Greek selection until her retirement in 1991. At that time, Michael Braunlin, working with Jean Wellington, assumed the major responsibility for selecting Modern Greek materials and continues to do so today.

The Modern Greek Collection has grown steadily over the last seven and a half decades as shown in library reports. By 1940, there were 3,500 volumes. Although virtually nothing was purchased during 1941-46, the Collection had grown to around 7,000 volumes by 1952/53. When Greece was added to the Farmington Plan, the Classics Library assumed responsibility for collecting scholarly materials published in Greece for all areas except medicine, agriculture and law. In 1974, books and serials totaled 20,000. By the time that my predecessor, Jean Wellington, spoke at a Library of Congress conference in 1999, the Collection had grown to 45,000 volumes. Currently, we have over 50,000 items. Cataloging of new materials is out-sourced to OCLC and is relatively up-to-date. Some, but not many, of the older materials remain un-cataloged, including a few of our older serials.

The success of U.C.’s efforts to build a Modern Greek Collection has been noted in articles and published catalogs, beginning with Peter Topping’s article, Modern Greek studies and materials in the United States, in Byzantion (XV 1940-41). Over thirty years later, Peter and Eva Topping contributed a chapter on the U.C. Modern Greek Collection in East Central and Southeast Europe: a handbook of library and archival resources in North America. This work continues to be the best bibliographic essay on the Collection, commenting on the potential research value of specific subject areas and citing particularly rare or important titles. Published in 1960, The Modern Greek Collection in the Library of the University of Cincinnati , edited by Niove Kyparissiotis, listed monographic holdings owned as of 1952 and serial holdings through 1953. Under Eugenia Foster’s guidance, G. K. Hall published the Catalog of the Modern Greek Collection, University of Cincinnati in 1978. Today, nearly all the titles in the collection are available through the OCLC database, as a result of a 1983 NEH grant and OhioLINK’s support for a statewide union catalog in the 1990s.

Jacquelene W. Riley
Head, Classics Library
University of Cincinnati


University of Oxford

Oxford University libraries are well known for their research collection in Byzantine and Classical studies, including important manuscripts, inscriptions and papyri. Modern Greek studies as a separate discipline exists in Oxford since early 20 th century. Taylor Slavonic and Greek library houses the collection of the first Professor of Byzantine and Modern Greek R.M.Dawkins (1871-1955), which is on loan from the Rector and Fellows of the Exeter College. The collection includes books, periodicals and offprints on Modern Greek language published in 19-early 20 th century and provides almost comprehensive coverage of Modern Greek studies bibliography for this period. Dawkins collection also includes Greek manuscripts, travel notes, correspondence and some reports from excavations . It has been enriched by books from the library of John Mavrogordato (1882-1970), Oxford Second Professor in Byzantine and Modern Greek studies. It should also be noticed that as a legal deposit library, the Bodleian library contains all materials printed in Great Britain and Ireland, including those related to Greek language and history. All materials in the collection are fully catalogued on OLIS ( Oxford University libraries’ online catalogue http:// .

Currently the books on Modern Greek language, literature and history are held in several Oxford libraries, of which the most important are Taylor Institution Slavonic and Greek library ( and the Bodleian Library ( The collection includes works on Modern Greek studies published in main European languages (English, German, French, Italian) and Modern Greek.

Most publications (books and periodicals) on Modern Greek language and literature are currently held in the Slavonic and Greek library of the Taylor Institution. The collection covers literature in Modern Greek language from 15 th to 21 st century, including primary works and literary criticism, and also studies on history and structure of Medieval and Modern Greek language and its regional varieties (including Cypriot Greek) and the related reference literature. The Modern Greek collection in Slavonic and Greek library also includes publications on the development of Greek national identity and ideology, main reference history works and main Greek newspapers. The selection of research books in Greek language and literature held in Taylor Slavonic and Greek library is aimed at providing comprehensive coverage of the core subjects (history of Greek literature, scholarly literature on main Greek authors, studies in Greek linguistics and Greek dialectology) and reference collection for more specific topics (history of theatre, folklore). The collection does not include research books on teaching Greek language as foreign language.

Books and periodicals on Modern Greek history have been traditionally housed in the Bodleian library. The Bodleian collection includes descriptions of Modern Greece published by European travellers in 16-19 th centuries, early printed books and manuscripts of early literary works in Modern Greek language. Research books in Greek history cover history of the area that currently forms the Republic of Greece from 1453 until present time, including histories of ethnic minorities in Greece. The collection also includes scholarly publications on history of Greek communities in Asia Minor (present Turkey) and the studies on Greek Diasporas in other countries if they refer to the UK or are considered of general importance. In particular, the collection does not aim at comprehensive coverage of vast bibliography on Greek-Americans.

Other publications on special aspects of Modern Greek studies are held in the relevant Oxford University libraries. Taylor Institution has a growing collection of Greek films on DVDs and books on Greek film studies within its film studies collection. Books on the history of Ottoman Empire in general (including Greece) are held in the Oriental Institute and the Bodleian library. Works on pre-1453 Greek language and literature are held in the Sackler library, which is one of the best research libraries for Classics and Byzantine studies. Rhodes House Library houses large collection of books on post-1878 history of Cyprus, when it became part of the Items Commonwealth.