Manuscripts and Archival Sources of the History of Ottoman Education

The sources on Ottoman education can certainly not be limited to manuscripts and archival documents. In fact, it is possible to mention many more secondary sources in the related subject. However, for a study to be original in the context of the history of education, the need for primary and original sources is inevitable. Especially the archival sources would be most important feature of such original academic research. One would need to resort to the documents in Başbakanlık Osmanlı Arşivi (Prime Ministry Ottoman Archives), Topkapı Sarayı Arşivi (Topkapi Palace Archives) and Vakıflar Genel Müdürlüğü Arşivi (Archives of Directorate of Waqfs). Moreover, court/qadi/sharia records and tapu tahrir defterleri (registries of real estates records) should definitely be added to the list. There are many other sources which are important for researchers in this field such as Meşihat and Şer’î Siciller Arşivleri (Sharia Records) in the Office of Mufti in Istanbul, and pamphlets/manuscripts like Tarîk Defterleri, Vezâif Defterleri (registries of salaries), Menâsıb-ı İlmiyye Defterleri (registries of academic posts) and Târih-i Silsile-i Ulemâ in Süleymaniye Library and Ali Emirî Library. On the other hand, salnâmes (yearbooks), especially education yearbooks, biographical sources and vefeyatnâmes (biographies of dead people) constitute the sources of the history of education. Besides, nizamnamas (regulations) and talimatnamas (ordinance), which are occasionally issued to improve the educational institutes, are among the significant reference sources. Finally, newspapers and periodicals, which were issued in late Ottoman period, should be used as supplemental sources.


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