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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

West African Arabic Manuscripts: Home

This guide was created to aid in the finding of manuscripts from West Africa that are written in Arabic or in Arabic-script.

Charles Stewart's Arabic Mauritanian Manuscripts

The University of Illinois Archives are home to the collected papers of Charles C. Stewart, professor of history (1974-). The collection includes 104 microfilm reels amounting to 2,054 works from the libraries of Harun b. Baba b. Sidi Muhammad b. Sidiyya al-Ntishai'i, Ismail b. Baba, and Ya'qub b. Muhammad b. Baba. These Arabic language manuscripts and printed documents are primarily from the 19th century, and their varied topics include literature, law, Islamic religious texts and commentaries, Arabic language, and history.

The collection may be viewed in person at the University of Illinois main library, preferably by appointment. Access copy is available upon request. Please contact the University Archives or  Laila Hussein Moustafa to arrange an appointment and/or research consultation. At the same time you can search Stewart’s WAAMD/ West African manuscript database  at


This guide was created to help researchers locate manuscripts originating from West Africa, written in Arabic or in Ajami - a modified Arabic script used to write African languages. Here you will find information on our holdings here at the University of Illinois; electronic resources available for use; as well as archival holdings both in the United States and abroad. 

For research assistance, please feel free to contact Laila Hussein Moustafa in the International and Area Studies Library.

Bibliographic Resources at Illinois

The University of Illinois' library collection includes a number of reference resources that may aid in the location of Arabic texts from West Africa, including a number of catalogs of library and archival collections in the region. A selection of these resources include: 

For a list of additional resources, see the following document:


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International and Area Studies Library
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(217) 333-1501

contact the Middle East Subject Specialist

Laila Hussein Moustafa