ISSN: 0041-4255
e-ISSN: 2791-6472

İsmail E. Erünsal

Keywords: Ottoman, Library System, 1752-1839, History

The reign of Mahmud I ( 1730-1754) established the independent library as the norm . The reigns of his five successors, Osman III (1754- 1757), Mustafa III (1757-1774), Abdülhamid I (1774-1789), Selim III (1789- 1807) and Mahmud II (1808-1839) , were to see the spread of independent libraries not only in Istanbul but also in the provinces as well. Apart from the libraries he established, Mahmud I, had also begun to build his mosque complex in the well-established tradition of imperial endowment. He chose a site to the south of the Kapalıçarşı (covered bazar) which was close to many of the existing colleges. ,The mosque is quite unusual for its rococo style and shows definite European influences. But it is most notable for the prominence of the library building, which though part of the complex, was in effect designed to act as an independent library. Many books from the Palace and other sources were designated for this library, and the imperial seal and endowment record of Mahmud I was applied to the fly leaf, indicating that the books had been endowed to the library. Unfortunately, Mahmud I did not live to see the completion of his complex or to give his name to the library which was to surpass all other libraries he had established. When he died in 1754, his brother, Osman III. completed the complex and gave his name to it. Both the Mosque and the Library are known as the Nur-ı Osmaniye, the light of Osman[1]٠. Osman III sent the books which his late brother had chosen together with other books he himself selected, to the library. Mahmud I's seal and endowment record were pasted over with paper and Osman Ill's own seal was placed on the books[2]. Osman III did not seem to have shared his brother's passion for library administration. In the endowment deed , in the section where we would normally expect to find the regulation for running the library, we find a short statement to the effect that the regulations applicable were to be the same as those which his brother had stipulated for the Aya Sofya and Fatih libraries[3].

The Nur-ı Osmaniye Library was opened in December, 1755 with the usual ceremonies attended by die Sultan, scholars and high state officials[4] At this point the library had a collection of 5,031 books, making it the largest collection in Istanbul, the library of Ahmed III being a close runner-up with a collection approaching 5,000 books[5]. It should be noted that Toderini, usually a reliable informant on the subject of Istanbul libraries, has mistakenly given the number of books as 1,693[6]. As befitted such a collection, the designated staff was quite large. '٢he Library was to have one general supervisor, six librarians, three doormen, one sweeper and one binder. Curiously six mustahfiz ( keepers) were also appointed whose actual duties had not been defined[7].

At this period bibliophilia was not restricted to Sultans. State officials also built up rich collections and established various libraries. The grand vizier to Osman III and Mustafa III, Ragıp Paşa, was an ardent collector of books as well as being a poet and writer . Having built up a large private collection, he made provision for an independent library to be built in the center of Istanbul to house it. Before he endowed his collection, Ragıp Paşa employed a librarian to look after his books. However, diis member of his household staff was not called hafız-ı kütübwhich means literally "keeper of books", but was referred to as a "kitabçı",literally a "bookman"[8]. This nuance reflects a different role. The primary role of a keeper of books was precisely to preserve die collection with the secondary duty of facilitating public access to it. The bookman was a private servant whose duties covered everything to do with books, including not only classification , cataloguing and general maintenance, but also buying them, etc. Ragıb Paşa completed his library in 1763[9]. The historian Vasıf Efendi noted:

"Ragrb Paşa, having for many years, collected, selected, searched out, and had copies made of many books and forthermore to preserve them from liarm and loss and to make them available for the use of the people, endowed a library in which he placed these books[10].

Althouglr tirese books were inalienably endowed to the library, Ragip Paşa Irad reserved to himself the right to borrow books for his own personal use. On his death, 28 of tirese books were found in his house and were dispatched to the library to rejoin the collection[11].

As we would expect of a bibliophile statesman, Ragrb Paşa had definite ideas as to how a library was to be run. His first requirement was that tire librarians should be full-time and he allowed them art adequate stipend to ensure this. He also created a post of "hafiz-! kiitiib yamağı",an apprentice to the librarian whose duties appear to have been retrieving books from and replacing them on the shelves. He also required that the librarians should live in residences near the library which had been built for this purpose. He also provided for the librarians alternately to stay overnight in the library. While other libraries were open five days a week at the most, Ragrb Paşa stipulated that his library should be open six days a week[12].

Osman Ill's reign (1754-1757) was too short to allow him to do more than complete and open his brother's library. Mustafa III, on the other hand , reigned from 1757 to 1774, and this allowed him to see tire completion of two important libraries. The first of tirese was tire library that he endowed to the college situated in the complex of the Laleli Mosque[13]. Mustafa III also built a library in a section of Topkapr Palace, which is referred to as the Bostancılar Ocağı[14]This library was established for the benefit of the Palace staff. It was not permitted to take books out of the libraiy so that it essentially served as a reference library in wlriclr classes were given in certain subjects. Three part-time librarians were appointed to the library, and their comparatively low salaries reflects the part-time nature of their employment[15].

We have additional information about this library from a rather unexpected source. In the retinue of the British Ambassador there came a certain professor Carlyle to Istanbul in 1800. He had come in search of Byzantine manuscripts. Believing that the Palace library may had held some of these, Carlyle bribed a Palace official to show him around the Palace library. He described the library as being cruciform in shape and stated that the building had been erected in 1767. However the library was no longer operating and had been closed in 1800. He was however able to see the books on the shelves but, of course, found no Byzantine manuscripts[16].

He describes the library in a letter to the Bishop of Lincoln:

"After waiting some time for intelligence respecting the Bostangee Bashi, his deputy arrived , read the letters we had brought , and his principal was engaged in the Seraglio, took upon himself to send for the keeper of the library, and direct him to conduct us thither; we accordingly accompanied him and three od٦er Moulahs to a mosque at a little distance, through which the entrance to the library lies... We passed through the mosque as we were directed , without speaking, and upon tiptoe; and at a length on the other side of it, arrived at the outward of the library, which was locked, and a seal fixed upon the lock ; above it is a short Arabic inscription , containing the name and tides of Sultan Mustapha, the present Emperor's father, who founded both the mosque and the library in the year 1767. The library is built in the form of a Greek cross, as in the margin; one of the arms of the cross serves as an and-room, and the three remaining arms , together with the center, constitute the library itself. You proceed through anti­room by a door , over which is written in large Arabic characters , "enter in peace". The library is much smaller than Your Lordship could have any conception of; for from the extremity of one of the arms to the extremity of the opposite one it does not measure twelve yards. Its appearance however is elegant and cheerful. The cerrtral part of tire cross is covered with a dome, which is supported by four handsome marble pillars ...The bookcases, four of which stand in each of the three recesses are plain but neat. They are furnished with folding wire-work doors, secured with a padlock and the seal of the librarian. The books are laid upon their sides one alrove another , with tlreir ends outwards, and having their letters written upon the edges of tire leaves. Your Lordship may imagine I lost no time in examining tire treasures enclosed in this celebrated repository , and tire dispositiorr of tire books greatly facilitated nry inquiries. I am very certain drat there was rrot one volume which I did no separately examine: but I was prevented by the jealousy of tire Mottlahs who accompanied me from making ottt a detailed catalogue of the whole. I continued Inowever to take an account of all writers on history and general literature, and I hope by means of a present to procure an accurate list of the remainder. Tine whole number of MSS, in tine library amounts to 1294, mucin tine greatest part of which are Arabic, these are Inowever most of the best Persian and Turkish writers, but alas, not one volume in Greek, Hebrew, or Latin. [17]

Unfortunately wlnat Carlyle is describing as the Palace library is in fact the Bostancnlar Ocagi library. Tine Palace library Inad been built earlier that century and was a rectangular building, which was never closed at that period. Unfortunately for Carlyle, he had been duped into thinking that this now redundant staff library was tine library of tine Sultan. But we are fortunate to get this information, which otherwise would not have come to us. In 1831 Mahmud II ordered that the books in this library be moved to tine Laleli Library[18]. It is clear drat tine Palace staff had no great need of a special library for themselves, seeing tlnat tlney had access to tine main palace library. Tine library was closed after some thirty years of operation and after another thirty years the books were transferred elsewhere.

Another important library was built by Veliyuddin Efendi, twice ؛؟eyhulislam in Mrrstafa Ill's reign. He Inad originally endowed 150 books to the Atrf Efendi Library in 1761, and at the same time augmented tine salaries of the librarians to compensate tJtem for the extra work involved ill looking after an enlarged collection [19]. However tlris relatively small endowment did not satisfy Ilim and Ire embarked upon a far more ambitions project; he built a library next to tire Beyazrt Mosque and endowed it witlr 1,690 books, to wlriclr were added tlie 150 books of Iris original endowment to tire Atif Efendi Library[20]. Altliouglr not very large wlren compared to tire Fatih and Nur-1 Osmaniye Libraries, the collection drew many scholars. Vasif Efendi, die historian, noted tliat tliere were many rare books in die collection so diat tliis library was busier tlian others in Istanbul. He also noted diat Veliyiiddin Efendi's son continued to search for rare books to add to his fatlier's collection'[21]. Tlie conditions governing the rumiing of tlie library were very mucli die same as those in the Atif Efcndi and Ragib Paa libraries[22].

Quite apart from tlie above large endowments, tlie foundation of smaller college libraries and tlie endowment of small collections to existing libraries continued during this period[23]. Tliroughout tlie wliole empire libraries were either being founded anew or existing collections were being enlarged.

The periods of Abdfdhamid I (1774-1789) and Selim III (1789-1807) were marked liy the growing realization that tlie Ottoman Empire was on the verge of collapse, after the disastrous treaty of Küçük Kaynarca witli tlie Russians in 1774, and tliat sweeping and radical reforms were necessary to avert tlie unthinkable. New western-styled institutions were introduced in tliis period, mainly in the area of military training. In order to establish a new Western-styled army and pay for tire new expertise, tlie State became involved in an increasing amount of expenditure. Tliis period is marked by a decrease in imperial endowments, partially compensated by an increase in endowments from prominent statesmen.

The decrease in imperial largess can be seen in tlie library built by Abdiilhamid I in a small complex lie built at Bahçekapt in Istanbul[24]. The housed 1,552 books and the staff consisted of only four librarians, one binder, 1 sweeper and one doorman[25]. The collection was enlarged by an endowment of 750 books from Lala ismail Efendi[26]. As for Selim Ill's endowments, they too are comparatively meagre: he is seen endowing 30 books to a library in Medina[27], he reorganized the Laleli library and erected a new building there[28], and he repaired the Selimiye library in Edime and endowed it widt some books[29]'.

However, statesmen of this period continued the tradition of either building complete libraries or at least endowing books to existing institutions. While Istanbul benefited from much of tire expansion of libraries, there seems to be a growing feeling drat the city was now provided for adequately by existing collections and in this period we see a trend towards establishing or enlargirrg provincial libraries. The statesmen usually chose a provincial town or city that they Irad some connection with, either tlreir birthplace or somewhere drey had beetr appointed to in the course of tlreir careers. Silahdar Seyyit Mehmed Pa؛a established a library in his birthplace, the village of Arabsun near Nevşehir[30]. Halil Hamid Paşa, grand vizier, established two libraries, one in Isparta[31], one in Burdur[32]. Alnmed Ağa founded a librar-y in Rhodes, his birthplace, in 1793, and stipulated that classes were to be given in it five days a week[33]. Mehmed Raşid Efendi, the ReisUlkttab, founded a library with a collection of almost 1,000 books in Kayseri in 1797, where he Irad been posted earlier in his career. This library is pardcularly interesting in that we see a development in tine thinking about tine operation through a series of added regulations each presumalrly dnere to correct some existing deficiency or abuse[34]. Other libraries were foundedin this manner in Antalya by Haci Mehmed Ağa (1797) [35], jn Keban by Yusuf Ziya PaŞa (1798) [36]٠١¡ ,؛Akhisar by Zeynelade Hacr Ali Efendi (1804) [37], in Manisa by Karaosmanoğlu Hacr Hüseyin Ağa (1806) [38], in Prizren by Mehmed Paşa (1805) [39], in Vidin by Pazvantoglu Osman Paa[40], in Izmir by Hadice Hantm ( 1806) [41].

Yusuf Ağa, the controller of the mint and holder of several other important positions, fotmded a library in Konya, neither his birthplace or a place to which he had been appointed at some time in his career. It seems tlrat he wanted to found a library in a city that needed one. The library he built was large by provincial standards: it had over 1,000 books. The regtrlations for operating tire library were the same as those in the Atif Efendi, Ragtp Paşa and Hamidiye libraries, save that the salaries were , for reasorrs unknown, to be paid six mon'thly, and that it was stipulated that the librarian was to be from the city of Konya[42]. This would seem to be addressing a problem tlrat was botherirrg the founders of libraries and that was the problem , encountered by Raşid Efendi among others, of al owing librarians leave to visit tlreir families at intervals in the year. Locally-based librarians would not require leave to travel to visit their families. The Sultan was so gratified by Yusuf Ağa's endowment tlrat he allocated sources of state revemre to pay for the running of tire library[43].

Istanbul also benefited from the expansion of the network of libraries. In 1775 Mehmed Murad Efendi built an independent library in Çarşanba, wlrich was to house his collection of books. They had previously been housedin a Nakşibendi tekke in the same district[44]. Unfortunately we do not have the endowment deed and theiefore we can only speculate at the number of books in the collection when the library was opened. However a later document shows that it was staffed by five librarians, a number which would suggest a largish collection[45].

Another library was founded by Selim Ağa, the controller of the Imperial arsenals. He envisaged his independent library as frmctioning primarily as a teaching library, and stipulated that two of the three librarians should be scholars capable of performing the duties of a teacher. The Şeyhülislam was to choose them and ensure that they were well qualified for the task. We can see the influence of the Ragrp Paşa and Atrf Efendi libraries on the running of this library. The librarians were expected to teach, to lead prayers and to reside in houses built for them close to the library[46].

A third library was built by Said Efendi in the district of Saraçhane, in the precincts of the Dulgeroglu Mosque. The collection consisted of 697 books and it had a staff of four librarians for whom rooms were provided so that they could reside close at hand. Unfortunately, the library building no longer exists and we have no record of what happened to tire books[47].

Another sizable library was founded in 1801 by Ibrahim Efendi, who endowed 753 books to die Kill؟ Ali Paşa college in Tophane. The collection is interesting in that most of tlie books were on Koranic exegesis, reflecting Ibrahim Efendi's profession of teacher and scliolar. The foundation deed is unusual in that he appoints four librarians from his family and mentions them by name. He stipulates tliat on their deatli other members of his family were to be the librarians and failing tliis the librarians would be appointed from people residing in the district of Tophane[48]. As a scholar he had insufficient capital to endow a building , so to ensure that his books would be available as a distinct collection lie housed tliem in an existing college, and employed his family to act as librarians to ensure that tlie collection was properly looked after. He also seems to lave wanted tlie librarians to reside close to the library, rhe first librarian was to be paid 40 akçes, tire second and third 20 akes and the fourth 16 ak؟es a day. This contrasts witlr large librai'ies of the period where tire salaries were between 80 and 120 akçes.

One small collection is worthy of note, in that it was endowed by Abd Ikadir Bey to a court of law irr Istanbirl, ii) 1808. The books were mainly on jurispruderrce and were most ttsefrtl to the officers of tire cotrrt. The collection was to be administered by tire staff working there[49].

Of course we should not forget that throughout this period the existing library collections were growing larger through endowment made by relatives and descendants of the original founders. The salaries of tire librarians were also increasing and sometimes the library staff was enlarged to meet tire demands of growing collections. We also have examples of sons building libraries to fulfill the wishes of a deceaed parent. Mustafa Efendi, a reistlktttab in the reign of Mahmud I, had intended to found a library in the Bahekapr district of Istanbul[50]. Unfortunately, Ire died before Iris wishes could be realized, and so when his sort, Aşii'Efendi, became the Şeyhülislam in 1799, he built the library in Bahçekapr and endowed to it his father's collection togetlrer with his own. In tine foundation deed, dated 1800, he kept all the conditions stipulated by his fatlner, but increased the salaries by providing rnew income[51]. The increase in salaries mirrored the changing economic conditions. Âşir Efendi's son, Hafid Efendi, in his turn added botln to the collection and activities of tine library. When he became Rumeli kazasker he endowed 466 books whicln were not to be kept as a distinct collection but were to be dispersed in tine nnain collection, according to tlneir subject classification. He also invested 1,500 kuru؛so as to provide an income whicln was to pay for tine recitation of the mevlid-¡ şerif,a Turkish poem about tine birth and life of the Proplnet, on special occasions. Sweets and desserts were to be bought and distributed to tine congregation on tlnese occasions[52].

Again in 1805, we find Mehmed Asim Bey, a member ٢بKöprülü family and also the administrator of the Köptülü library, making provision for the expansion of tire collection. He noted in an endowment deed tlrat local college students were requesting certain popular text books whiclr were unavailable in tire library. To rectify tire situation he bouglu 350 of the books most in demand and provided money for tire futui'e purchase of necessary books[53]. Tire son of Selim Ağa also increased Iris father's initial collection[54].

It is in tlris period that we see libraries subjected to inspections and occasionally tlreir activities being suspended for a periods of time. Tire libraries would be closed by the Irrspector of Pious Trusts when Ire discovered irregularities in their operations. For example, tire Hac, Beşir Aga library in tire Cagaloglu district of Istanbul was closed when tire irrspector discovered that , contrary to the instructions of tire founder, the librarians were permitting books to be taken orit of the library for a period of five days orr deposit of a pledge. It was realized that books were not being returned and the inspector closed the library to prevent furdter loss. The wishes of the founder were seen as paramount and the inspector's first duty was to put an end to this loss. However, it was also appreciated tlrat the library slnould be reopened as soon as possible. Thus, we see in 1784 the Hact Be؛ir Aga library reopening and an inventory being carried out to discover how many books were missing. A new list was drawn up and giverr to the librarians togetlrer with a warnirrg that the founder's instructions were to be strictly adhered to and failure to do so wottld entail tlreir dismissal[55].

In 1776 when tine first librarian of tine Nuruosmaniye library died it was discovered that several books in Iris Inouse belonged to the library. Immediately tine library's operations were sttspended and an inventory was made. In tine words of the inspector:

"I being the inspector of the Nuruosmaniye library hereby affirm that Yusuf Efcndi, having been head librar ian since the foundation of the library, and having died on tine 2 Şe١a in tine year 1190, some [library] books were discovered among his belongings and it was further ascertained that he had lent out books, in violation of the conditions of the library and so the books which he had taken home were returned and the books which had been lent were retrieved as much as was possible and the books were checked against the list and a new inventory was prepared[56].

In the list of missing books it is noted that Yusuf Ziya Paşa, a former grand vizier , had borrowed and lost a book and that his receipt for borrowing the book was to be found in a certain box. The inventory was to show that nineteen books had gone missing but none of these were of great value. However 15 valuable books bearing the Sultan's seal were found to have been uncatalogued and there were also 14 valuable pieces of calligraphy unrecorded[57].

In the Mahmud Paşa college, the librarians seemed to have ceased fulfilling their duties and over a period of 50 years had allowed the 342 books belonging to the college to remain in the cupboards unattended and subject to dust and insects. The students at the college complained to the inspector of trusts and he sent some of his staff to investigate. He finally ordered the books to be cleaned , repaired and catalogued and the librarian was instructed to fulfill his duty by allowing the students access to the books[58].

This period, as has been mentioned above, saw the state increasingly involved in reforming the central administration, and particularly the military. New libraries were being opened and these contained western books. That is not to say that the classical libraries were being neglected. In fact, this period sees great energy expended on inspection , control and reorganization of libraries whenever necessary. The process of increasing central control over the library system was to become even more significant in the reign of Mahmud II.

In 1807 the reign of Selim III came to an abrupt and bloody end with his deposition and death at the hand of the Janissaries, the Ottoman troops who were set against any reforms which threatened their status and privileges. When Mahmud II came to the throne in 1809 he realized that the reforms would have to be postponed until he was in a position to neutralize the forces of reaction. Thus, the earlier part of his reign was marked by stealthy preparations for carrying out a broad program of reforms, which would include the education of the future elite. This would inevitably make its impression on the library system.

The classical Ottoman system essentially divided learning into the traditional Islamic syllabus which was taught in the colleges created as pious foundations; these, therefore, were not within the realm of the State, and their administration was generally free from direct State interference. In the reign of Selim III a new type of library was introduced in the School of Engineering, a library which was to corrtain books in Western languages and translations of Western books mainly on technical subjects. This new direction was to continue in Mahmud Ils reign. We see new institutions of learning with new libraries -but again not stocked with the classical texts, but rather with Western studies[59]. However, in this period the trend towards Western-styled institutions was constrained by the small number of people who were involved in the process of reforms. As the century progressed the intellectual elite were increasingly to look to the West, not only in the sciences, but also in literature and the social sciences. But at this stage, the overwhelming majority of library books were manuscripts dealing with traditional Islamic sciences, and they were to be found in the traditional Ottoman libraries.

In 1826, with the reform of the whole system of government, new ministries which had not existed before were introduced. One of these was to be the Evkaf Nezareti which was a Ministry of Pious Foundations, responsible for the supervision of all trusts. Thus, all colleges, mosques and O tirer trust-institutiorrs, including libraries, were to come utrder tire direct supervision of one single centralized authority.

Shortly after the establishment of tire Ministry of Pious Formdations several libraries underwent inspections and new lists of the collections were drawn up. This suggests that there was a policy decision to take stock of what had recently come under their jurisdiction. We have evidence of inspections of several libraries, and reports of these inspections have survived.

The system of fotmdatioi libraries had for many years been expanding, and tire trend was to continue throughout the reign of Mahmut II. An anonymous American traveler in Istanbul noticed that in 1833 there were libraries next to or inside almost every mosque and in many of tekkes (dervish convents) [60]. The fact that Istanbul had become well supplied widi libraries nreant drat Ire provinces continued to attract foundations, so that almost every city , and irrdeed many small towns, could boast a library, however small. In this period the foundation of these libraries is well documented. For example, in 1808 Ydanhoglu Şeyh Ali built a library in Eğridir, irt tire courtyard of his college, and placed 218 of his books in it[61] irr 1811 Valrid Paşa opened a library in Kütahya: in çay, near Samsun , Süleyman Paşa bttilt a library [62]; in 1812 Ahmet Aga donated his books to the Kurşunlu Mosque in Harput, in the Eastern Anatolia[63]. However, libraries were also being endowed in areas further afield. Mehmed Paşa founded a library at the Grarrd Mosque of Jerusalem[64]; while in Europe, Hamza Efendi, the Mufti of Athens, set aside a room in Iris house for the purpose of teaching and dotrated books for tire use of students[65]. In 1813 Mehmed Ali Paşa (the future rttler of Egypt) built a library in his home town , Kavalla, now in northern Greece[66], wltile in 1818 Strrt Selim Bey built a library in the Seyfbllah Mosque and College in Tlressalonica[67].

The Vahid Paşa library in Kütahya prov des ns with an insight into how provincial towns attracted libraries. Vahid Paşa was exiled to tlte city, and during his residence there he noted tliat the students complained of a lack of a library[68]. When he Irad the opportunity, at some later date,in 1811, he donated 210 books to tire Yrldirrm Beyazrt Mosque in Kütahya[69]. The books were at first kept in a cupboard in tire mosque, and as he added to the collection he liad a special room built in tire courtyard[70]. Thereafter Ire continued to send books whene١'er the opportunity arose[71].

There is also evidence to suggest that provincial libraries were used for other activities besides readirrg. When tlte Grartd Vizier , Derviş Melrmed Paşa, fotmded art independent library in tire provincial town of Burdur, he stipulated drat eaclr day a portion of Bultari's Traditiorts of tlte Prophet were to be read aloud by orte of tlte librarians as a spiritttal exercise. Ort Thursdays and Stmdays after tlte noon and afternoon prayer, and on lioly days, after the evening prayer a derviş ritual , according tlte Nakşibendi rite, was to be performed. On tlte birtliday of tlte Prophet a Mevlid was to Ire recited after tlte evening prayer. After- all tliese rituals sweets were to be distribttted to all wlto liad attended[72].

Of particular note in Istanbul is die remarkable numlrer ol'new libraries donated to tekkes. In the reign of Malimut II at least 7 new tekke libraries were opened. These collections were of course different from college lilrrary collections, in that tliey tended to have works of a mystical and poetic nattrre. Of tliese lilrraries die Galata Mev'leviliane and Said Pertev Paşa's library are of particular interest for the extent of tlieir collections. For tlie Galata Mevlevihane , Halet Efendi, a statesman, poet and Mevlevi dervish, built a library building within the garden of tlie tekke.In 1820 lie donated 266 !looks[73] and two years later lie donated a fortlier 547 books[74]. The library reflected tlie fotmder's interest in lıistoı-y , literature and mystical works. Being a tekkelibrary, lie stipulated tliat it was not tlie trust administrator who was to appoint the librarian, as would normally be expected but the şeyh of the tekke.The first librarian should be a bachelor and be resident in the tekke,while the imam ( prayer leader) of the tekkeshould act as second librarian [75]. Said Pertev Paşa's tekke library was set up in the garden of the Çiçekçi Mosque, where the Nakşibendi tekkewas found. The library building was endowed with a large collection and two full-time librarians were appointed , with appropriately adequate salaries[76].

As for the Sultan himself, Mahmud II, he chose to make his imperial foundation not in Istanbul, but in the holy city of Medina in Arabia. He built a college and a library and accommodation for the librarians[77]. Although we do not know how many books were donated by Mahmud II at the beginning, we know that in 1839 he sent a bookbinder from Istanbul to the library and that the binder repaired 646 books[78]. Sixty years later a year-book for the province noted that there were 4569 books in the library[79]. A document from 1835 notes that the Sultan intended to build a similar library in d٦e holy city of Mecca:

"As there is no independent library in Mecca, books having been donated by worthy benefactors, but with the death of their keepers books having gone missing, it is my intention to build a library in Mecca, just as I did in Medina. [80]

The Sultan went on to say that he had ordered that all books in existing collections should be brought together and a list drawn up. He would then make up any deficiency in the collection. We do not know whether his wish was realized or not, but his successor Abdülmecid was to found a library in the city[81] and it is likely that city books which Maltmud II had ordered to be collected became the nucleus of the Mecidiye library, Abdülmecid's own foundation.

In Mahmud H's reign we see an increase in inspections of library collections. Even before the institution of die Ministry of Pious Foundations, noted above, the process of inspecting collections had got underway. With the coming of the ministry, the process gained momentum. As a result of these inspections new catalogues were frequendy prepared, deficiencies in collecdons made good, and when deemed appropriate the locadon of the library would be changed. One of the most important functions of the inspection was to establish that the trusts' administrators were carrying out their dudes in accordance witli the wishes of the founder, as laid down in the endowment deed[82].

In 1815 Çorlulu Ali Paşa's collecüon in his Darülhadis in Istanbul was checked a new list of books was prepared[83]. In 1816, certain collecdons which had been endowed to the Conqueror's Mosque, were removed to the independent library at Beyazid, which had been built some 50 years previously by Veliyüddin Efendi. A new catalogue was prepared for these books[84]. In 1820 both Damad Ibrahim Paşa's and the Nuruosmaniye collections, which had been in existence for some 100 years and 70 years, respectively, were inspected "because for a considerable time their condition was unknown", and new catalogues were drawn up[85]. In 1827 the library of Valide Sultan Mosque in Bahçekapı was inspected and a new catalogue prepared[86]. The books which Damadzade Şeyhülislam Ahmed Efendi had endowed to the mosque of Selim I were inspected in May 1828 and transferred to a tekke (derviş convent) in the same district, and most importantly, a librarian was appointed to look after the books[87].

In Cyprus there were several collections which had been endowed to the Ayasofya Mosque over the centuries. In the courtyard of the mosque, Mahmud II erected a building to house these collections, to which he added other collections which had been endowed to other institutions; he also provided for the future running of the library[88].

In a memorandum written by Mahmud II to his vezir, Mehmed Emin Rauf Paşa, in November 1830 , we see die Sultan providing for the repair of the college library built by his father , Abdülhamid I, in the holy city of Mecca. He ordered the 500 books, which were scattered in various locations, to be brought together and placed in newly-built cupboards in the college[89]. In the following year it was stipulated that books were not to be lent out, but to be read within the confines of dte college[90].

In January 1831 Mahmud II had a collection of books removed from the Palace and placed in the Laleli College library, which had been built by Mustafa III. These books were not from the endowed collection of Ahmed III, but were a collection of books established by Mustafa III and placed in the Bostancılar Ocağı , which had fallen into disuse. Mahmud II gave the reason for moving the collection: firsdy he noted that the collection had ceased to be used, especially with the opening of Ahmed Ill's library at the Palace and, consequendy, the books were not being cared for and might fall into disrepair. Furdiermore, Mustafa Ill's library at Laleli college had gaps in its collection, which would be made good by the transfer. Finally, he wanted the books to be used by those people who could benefit from them[91].

Several odier collections were inspected at this time: the Ayasofya library in 1831[92], while in 1833 inspections were carried out at the Merzifonlu Mustafa Paşa college library, the Veliyüddin Library and Abdülhamid l’s library in Medina[93] In 1837 the Galatasaray college library collection, which had been transferred to the Ayasofya library, was inspected by a commission who drew up a list of the works and split the collection into two , one part going to Fatilr library and the other remainirrg at Ayasofya[94], both librai'ies and the Galatasaray collection having been endowed by Mahmud I.

With the abolition of the Janissary corps in 1826, the Bektashi tekkes, closely associated with the corps, were also closed. When they were closed, lists were made of the books in the tekkes, two of which have survived, tlrat of books at the Elmair tekke and that at the tekke of Demirci Baba[95].

In 1838 Mahmtrd II had birrders sent to Medina to repair and rebind tire books in various locations in this city. Thejttdge of Medirra at the time rroted in his history of Medina tlrat tire binders had rebound and repaired 521 books in the Prophet's Mosque, 646 in the Mahmudiye college, 432 in the Hamidiye library, 922 in tire Karabas college, 20 in the Ozbek college and 961 in the Be؟ir Aga college[96],

Mahmud H's reign is characterized by tire ,-ationalizing of all trusts and pious foundations under the jurisdiction of one ministry. Whenever the opportunity arose, collections where split up, brought togetlrer or transferred to stirengthen existing collectons. At the same time as Malrmud II organized and surveyed the classical Ottoman libraries, changes were coming about which would bring with them a new type of library. By Mahmud H's death three institutions had libraries which contained printed books in European languages dealing with nnedicine. science and technology. Soon these works were to be translated into Turkish and published, and these were to become the bases of the new Ottoman library collections. These new libraries were set up by the govei'nment to seme tine needs of the reforms. But while the classical Ottoman library was to continue being used until the coming of the Republic, the new, European style libraries, were eventually to make tine classical library increasingly obsolete.


  1. Şerndani-zâde FındıkJılı Suleyman Efendi Tarihi, Mür'i't-Tevârih II. A, edited by M. Münir Aktepe, Istanbul 1978, pp. 4-6.
  2. For some examples see: Nuruosmaniye Library nos. 622, 1134, 2697, 3873.
  3. Vakıflar Genel Müdürlüğü Archive , Dolap 49, p. 22
  4. Mürï't-Teiârih IL A, p. 5-6
  5. Nuruosmaniye Library , Fihrist no. 4, p. 161a
  6. G. Toderini, De la littérature des Turcs, traduit de l'Italien en Français par l'Abbe De Cournand, vol. II , Paris 1789, p. 97.
  7. Vakıflar Genel Müdürlüğü Archive no. 98, pp. 10-12 ; Topkapi Palace Archive D. 3311, p. 5b
  8. Topkapi Palace Archive , D. 6090.
  9. Mür'i't-Terârih II A, p. 54.
  10. Vasif Tarihi, V. I, p. 129.
  11. Topkapı Palace Archive, D. 6090.
  12. Şer'i Siciller Archive (istarrbul). Evkaf-t Hümayun Müfettişliği HO. 171, pp. lb-6b ; Ahmed ihsan Turek, "Ragip Paşa Kütüphanesi Vakfiyesi", Edebiyat Fakültesi Araştırma Dergisi 1/1 ( Erzurum 1970), pp. 6578.
  13. Vakıflar Genel Müdürlüğü Archive no. 642. p. 145
  14. p. Ğ. inciciyan, XVIII. Asırda İstanbul, Tercüme ve tahşiye eden Hrand D. Andreasyan, İstanbul 1956, p. 23.
  15. Vakıflar Genel Müdürlüğü Archive , Kasa 187, pp. 350-358 ; Topkapi Palace Archive , D. 3305
  16. Memoirs relating to European and Asiatic Turkey, edited from manuscript Journals by Robert Walpole, London 1817, pp. 172.
  17. Memoirs p. 171-172.
  18. vakıflar Genel Mudrlrlugu Ahi١-e no. 642. pp. 103-145
  19. 'Şer'i Siciller Aıchi١-e (Istanbul), Evkaf-, Hümayun Müfettişliği no. 164, pp. 38Ur-384b.
  20. Vakıflar Genel Müdürlüğü Archive no. 745, p. 79.
  21. Vasif TmilliV. I, 206-207
  22. Vakıflar Genel Müdürlüğü Archive no. 745. p. 80
  23. For a detailed list of tliese libraries see: Ismail E.Etfnisal, Türk Kütüphaneleri Tarihi II. Kuruluştan TanziiuataKadar OsmanlI Vakıf Kütüphaneleri, Ankara 1988, p. 106-107
  24. 2اTarih-i Cevdet, V. II, Istanbul , pp. 46 and 81 : Hüseyin Ayvansarayi. Hadikatü 1-Ceıâıni', V. II, İstanbul 1281, p. 179. See also Miljgan Cunbur, "I. Abdftlhamid'in Vakfiyesi ve Hatnidiye Kitti'iphanesi". Dil ve TariliCogiafya Fakültesi DergisiXXII ( Ankara 1964), pp. 17-69. See also: Fikret Sarıcaoglu, Hatt-ı Wımayunlarına Göre Bir Padişahm Portresi, Sultan I. Atıdülhamid (1774-1789), Unpublished Ph. D. thesis, Istanbul University, 1997, pp. 21-22
  25. Vakıflar Genel Müdürlüğü Archive no. 86,1. Abdllhamid'in Hazine Defteri , p. 31.
  26. Vakıflar Genel Müdütlügü Archive no. 746. pp. 343-345.
  27. Topkapt Palace Archhe no. E. 2885/19.
  28. Vakıflar Genel Müdürlüğü Archhe no. 93. pp. 125-127.
  29. Başbakanlık Archhe, Hattı Hümayun no. 16 161.
  30. Vakıflar Genel Müdürlüğü Archive no. 742. p. 66
  31. Vakıflar Genel Müdürlüğü Archhe no. 628. pp. 547 and 554
  32. M. Zeki Oral, "Mevcut Vesikalara Gore Burdur Kütüphaneleri ve Kitap Vakfiyeleri". Belleten XXIV/94 ( Ankara 1960), pp. 235-236.
  33. Vakıflar Genel Müdürlüğü Archive no. 743. pp. 9394 and 156
  34. Vakıflar Genel Müdürlüğü Archive no. 579. p. 68
  35. S. Fikri Erten, Tekeliogullan, Istanbul 1955. pp. 17-26.
  36. Vakıflar Genel Müdürlüğü Archie no. 579, p. 50
  37. Mehmed Emin Muderrisoglu, Akhisarh Turk Büyükleri te Eserleri. Izmir 1956, pp. 85- 86
  38. Sadik Karaoz. Manisa ili Kütüphaneleri,Ankara 1974, p. 24 ; İbrahim Goken, Manisa Talihinde Hayrlar ie Vakıflar", İstanbul 1950, p. 82; inci Kuyulu. Kara Osmanoğlu Ailesine Ait Mimari Eserler, Ankara 1992. pp. 100110
  39. illran Polat, OsmanlI imparatorluğu Destinde Yugoslavya'da Kurulan Türk Kütüphaneleri, DTCF , Kütüphanecilik Bolümü. BA. Thesis , Ankara 1969. pp. 40-42.
  40. Mihaila Stajnova, "Ottoman libraries ill Vidin", Etudes Balkaniques . no. 2, sofya 1979). p.67
  41. izmir Valuflar Müdülüğü Archive . II. Vakfiye Defteri, pp. 40-45
  42. Şer'i Siciller (İstanbul). Ev-kaf-1 Hümayun Müfettişliği no. 261, pp. 53-54.
  43. Şer'i Siciller (İstanbul), Ev-kaf-1 Hümayun Müfettişliği no. 261, pp. 57-58
  44. Muzaffer Gokman, Mum Molla. Hayati, Kütüphanesi ve Eserleri,Istanbul 1943. p. 12
  45. Vakıflar Genel Müdürlüğü Archie, Dolap 16-28.
  46. Vakıflar Genel Müdürlüğü Archie no. 579, p. 122
  47. Topkapi Palace Archie no. D. 10, 294 ; Vakıflar Genel Müdürlüğü Archie no. 743. p. 501.
  48. Süleymaniye Library, Kılı؟ Ali Paşa section no. 1049 and 1050 : Şer'i Siciller, İstanbul Kadılığı no. 79. pp. 6b8b, 85a, I6b-18b.
  49. Şer'i Siciller (İstanbul). Galata Mahkemesi no. 584, p. 63b
  50. Vakıflar Genel Müdürlüğü Ahire no. 736, pp. 205-206.
  51. Süleymaniye Library, Aşir Efendi section no. 473, p. 7a-b
  52. أهSüleymaniye Library, Hafid Efendi section no. 486, pp. 7a-9b.
  53. Vakıflar Genel Müdürlüğü Archhe no. 580, pp. 13-14.
  54. Şer'i Siciller Archire (İstanbul), Üsküdar Mahkemesi no. 564, p. 80
  55. Vakıflar Genel Müdürlüğü Archhe no. 639, pp. 129-130.
  56. Nuruosmaniye Library, Fihrist no. 6, p. 206a
  57. Nuruosmaniye Library, Fihrist no. 6, pp. 205b-206a
  58. Vakıflar Genel Müdürlüğü Archive no. 741, pp. 336 and 340
  59. See for this type of libraries: R Tuba Casdar, Tanzimat'tan Cumhuriyet'e Kadar Osmanli Kutuphanelerinin Geliyimi, unpublished Ph.D. thesis, pp. 29-53, Istanbul Unh-ersity 1995
  60. Sketches oTTurkeyin 1831 and 1832 by an American, Newyork 1833. p. 142.
  61. Fehmi Aksu. "Yazma Kitaplar", ün 111/28 (Isparta 1936). p. 394 ; Suleyman Sûkutî Yiğitbaşı, Eğridir - Felekabad Tarihi. İstanbul 1972. p. 132 ; Yücel Ozkaya, "Anadoludaki Büyük Hanedanlıklar”, Belleten'-ol. LVl/217 (ankara 1992). p. 838
  62. Vakıflar Genel Müdürlüğü Archive no. 733, p. 44
  63. Süleymaniye librai-y, Harput section no. 127.
  64. Şemim Emsem, "OsmanlI imparatorluğu De rinde Türkiye Kütüphanelerinin Tarihçesi. Türk Kütüphaneciler Derneği BülteniIX/1-2 (Ankara 1960).p.35
  65. ’Vakıflar Genel Müdürlüğü Archive no. 987. pp. 129-132.
  66. Vakıflar Genel Müdürlüğü Archive no. 580, p. 275 ; Ekrem Hakki Ayverdi, Avrupa'da Ostnanh Mimari Eserleri: Bulgaristan. Yunanistan. Arnavutluk, İstanbul 1982. pp. 236237
  67. Vakıflar Genel Müdürlüğü Archive no. 987, pp. 115120. These are just some of the libraries opened in this period. We know that following libraries were also opened : Müftü Mosque Library in izmir (1819) ; Şeyh Ahmed Gazzi Library in Bursa (1819) : Osman Aga library in Arapgir (1820) ; Hayati-zade library in Elbistan (1823) ; Şeyh Mustafa Efendi library in Burdur (1824) : Halil Ağa Library in Silisue (1823) ; Necip Paşa library in Tire (1827) : Şakır Efendi Library in Çankırı (1828) : Merdiyye and Müııire College libraries in Kastomonu (1828, 1835) : Gaşııigir library in Manisa (1832) ; Saçlı Mahmud Efendi library in Amasya (1833) ; Ragibiyye Library in Diyarbakır (1833) ; Ibrahim Paşa library in Elazığ (1249) ; Cennetade Abdullah Efendi library in Erzurum (1834) ; Abdullah b. Süleyman Paşa library in Samsun and Mustafa Ağa library in Medine.
  68. uzunçarşılıoğlü ismail Hakki, Kütahya Şehrî, İstanbul 1932. p. 133
  69. 'Vakıflar (,
  70. Hamza Gliner, Kütahya Camileri, Kütahya 1964. p. 21
  71. Vakıflar Genel Müdürlüğü Archive no. 579, pp. 627, 680, 684. 688, 695-699
  72. Şer'i Siciller Archive ( Istanbul), Istanbul Kadılığı no. 122, pp. 37a38a.
  73. Süleymaniye library. Halet Efendi section no. 837/1, pp. Ib21b.
  74. Süleymaniye Library, Halet Efendi section no. 837/1. pp. 22b38a : Şer'i Siciller Arctlive (İstanbul), Evkaf-! Hümayun Müfettişliği no. 375, pp. Ib7b
  75. Sûleymaniye Library, Halet Efendi section no. 837/1, pp. 8a-b.
  76. Vakıflar Genel Müdürlüğü Archive no. Kasa 108, pp. 6-9
  77. Başbakanlık Archive, Hatt-ı Hümayun 26, 913. See also O. Spies, "Die Bibliotheken des Hidschas", ZDMG , vol. 90 (1936), pp. 96-98 and Hammadi Ali Muhammed et-Tunisi, el- Mektebâtü'l-âmme bi'l-Medineti'l-Müne١٦ere, mâdihâ ve hâzirihâ, p. 1-7, MA thesis, Cami'atü Melik Abdülaziz, Cidde 1981
  78. Işkı Mustafa b. Ömer Kilis¡, Ta'tirü Ercâi'd-Deıieu'l-Mecdiyye . University Library (Istanbul),T.Y. 1490, p. 166a-b.
  79. Sâlnâme-i HicAz, İstanbul 1309, p. 307.
  80. Başbakanlık Archive. Mühimme-i Mısır no. 13. p. 82.
  81. Başbakanlık Archive, Mühimme-i Mısır no. 13, p. 168
  82. Nazif Öztürk, Türk Yenileşme Tarihi Çerçevesinde Vakıf Müessesesi, Ankara 1995, p. 393
  83. Başbakanlık Archive, Bab-ı Defteri, Baş Muhallefat Halifesi no. 13 242
  84. Beyazıd Umumi Library, Veliyüddin Section no. 3291, p. 4b
  85. Nuruosmaniye Library , Fihrist no. 3, p. 1b.
  86. ' University Library , İbnülemin section no. 2485
  87. Başbakanlık Archive, Cevdet-Maarif no. 2821
  88. İ. Parmaksızoğlu, Kıbrıs'ta Sultan İkinci Mahnnıd Kütüphanesi, Ankara 1964; Beria Remzi Özoran, "Kıbrıs'ta Sultan Mahmut Kütüphanesi", Türk Kültürü v. VIII. no. 92 (!970), pp. 513-515; Mustafa Haşim Altan, "Die Bibliotheken im türkisch-zypriotischen Buııdesstaat". Biblos vol. 28 (1979), pp. 306-309
  89. ’ Başbakanlık Archi١e , Mühimme-i Mısır no. 13, pp. 4142.
  90. Başbakanlık Archi١٠e, Mühimme-i Mısır no. 13, p. 54
  91. Vakıflar Genel Müdürlüğü Archise no. 642, pp. 103-104.
  92. Süleymaniye Library , Fihrist no. 3
  93. Beyazıt Umumi Library no. 21, 346 ; Beyazıt Umumi Library . Veliyüddin Efendi section no. 3290 ; Başbakahk Archi١’e, Ce١det-Maarif no. 1870 and İbrahim Ateş, "Mescid-i Nebe١i'niıı Yapıldığı Günden Bu Yana Geçirdiği Genişletme Girişimleri", Vakıflar Dergisi no. 24 (1994), p. 14 respecthely
  94. Süleymaniye Library . Ayasofya section. Fihrist no. 6, pp. lb-11b.
  95. Başbakanlık Archh’e, Mâliyeden Müde١٦er no. 9771, p. 10 and 56
  96. Işkı Mustafa b. Ömer Kilis¡, Ta'tini Ercâi'd-Devleti'l-Mecdiyye, Uni١’ersity Library (Istanbul),T.Y.149O. p. I77a.