The Persian Language Rare Materials Collection is an online repository of manuscripts, printed books, lithographs (in this case referring to "chap-i sangi" which are mass produced prints formed from clay carvings), and imprints. These documents, such as the Qur’an or the Iʻtiqādnāmah (Shiite creed in Persian), have a variety of purposes, including discussing scientific, religious, philosophical and literary topics. This collection celebrates the diversity of sources both in topic, as well as in location—Persia once spanned from West Asia to Central and South Asia, and today has descendants (both in heritage and in language) in the same region.

Beyond this collection, the Library of Congress website is an open-access resource available for students and teachers to browse. It boasts a wide selection of documents, many of which are free to use. These documents include photographs, books, films, web archives, legislation and more, from a range of subjects and time periods. The Library of Congress also offers some lesson plans making use of primary sources they host, a blog describing teaching methods, and other resources to enhance both the student and teacher experience. These resources, combined with its easy to use platform, make it, as well as this collection, great resources and guides for use in the classroom.

The Library of Congress is continuing its digitization efforts with the lithographs and imprints in this collection, and will continue to add to the over 200 sources already on the collection’s website. The addition of more rare persian language materials will add to the knowledge available from this collection, although they may not be readily accessible for a novice audience. Persian and Arabic are the two dominant languages of this collection, making it useful for students of both history as well as linguistics, but not necessarily for students newly interested in the history and social legacy of Persia. But by keeping the goal of historical and sociolinguistic learning in mind when using this collection and the sources within it, students and instructors can understand the context that these documents were created in, as well as the purpose and use of the language that was used.

Reviewed by Carolyn Mason, George Mason University
How to Cite This Source
Carolyn Mason, Persian Language Rare Materials in World History Commons,