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Cyprus and Greek Cypriot Collections at the Library of Congress

Cypriot Collections are held throughout the Library of Congress, and the European Reading Room is the main reference point for Greek Cypriot materials. This guide provides an overview of the collections in different formats.


Foreign Office, author. Cyprus. 1919, Great Britain. Library of Congress General Collections.

The Library of Congress' holdings on Greek-speaking Cyprus are historical, dating back at least to the early modern period. The Library has developed a collection that is particularly rich in the areas of the history, art, language, and literature of the Greek Cypriot people.The intent of the guide is to provide an overview of the collections from and about Greek-speaking Cyprus in the Library of Congress to enable researchers to assess if a visit to the Library will be necessary to undertake research. With descriptions of various genres of publications, as well as a bit of history of the development of the collections, the guide covers collection materials across all reading rooms and internal divisions of the Library, including our digital collections.

The buildup of Greek Cypriot material in the Library of Congress is connected to the history of the larger Modern Greek collection, and has therefore, been a part of it. According to the reports of earlier Modern Greek reference specialists, David Kraus and Harold Leich, "the systematic collection of Modern Greek materials began in 1969"  when the Library of Congress first appointed a specialist for Modern Greek in the then Slavic and Central European Division which is today part of the Latin American, Caribbean, and European Division. "Before that [1969]," the report points out, "materials were received primarily on exchange with academic, governmental, and professional organizations; transfers from other U.S. government agencies; and purchases through various agents. The results were quite good, abetted by events such as the acquisitions trip by Jennings Wood, Assistant Chief of the Exchange & Gift Division, to Athens in 1959 to improve official exchanges, and the recommendations for additions to the literature collection made in 1960 by consultant Andones Decavalles, a Greek poet who reported favorably on the Library's holdings in this field."

Modern Greek acquisitions  proved difficult in the 1970s. The impediments were manifold; they ranged from changes in dealers and unreliable receipts from exchange partners in the Greek government sector as well as from academic and professional organizations. This changed in 1984 when the Assistant Chief of the European Division travelled to Greece on an acquisitions trip and the Library was then able to "engage a reliable book dealer for commercial publications," their report goes on to say.  Finally, a reliable supplier of non-commercial publications, in the form of a bibliographic services contractor, was employed in 1988. The current coverage of the Library's Modern Greek publications may be considered excellent.

The United States and Cyprus established diplomatic relations in 1960 when Cyprus became independent from Great Britain.  In their present-day aspect, the collections described in this guide focus mostly on Greek-speaking Cyprus. The United States does not recognize the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which was established in 1974. This distinction notwithstanding, it is important to recognize that the Library's collections reflect Cyprus' transformation through time from the early modern period to the present day. Researchers seeking in formation on Turkish Cyprus should contact Joan Weeks, Turcica Area Specialist in the African and Middle East Reading Room.

Library of Congress Guides to Cypriot Resources

In addition to this overview guide of the Cypriot collections, staff of the Library of Congress have produced several other more detailed guides on Cypriot resources. They are linked below.