The Collections

The collections of the Gennadius Library reflect the many interests of its founder. Joannes Gennadius (1844-1932) conceived his library as a comprehensive collection on Greece emphasizing continuity from antiquity to the present day; it is the richest private collection of books about Greece. As a collector and bibliophile, Gennadius saw Greece as a continuum from antiquity to the present and the Library he founded still adheres to that vision. His intentions are best described in his own words: “to form a library that represents the creative genius of Greece at all periods, the influence of her arts and sciences upon the western world, and the impression created by her natural beauty upon the traveler.” New acquisitions expand the subjects collected by Joannes Gennadius.

The Rare Books and Special Collections number 50,000 items comprising manuscript codices, watercolors, engravings, historical maps, pamphlets, and various memorabilia. Rare books are classified according to Gennadius’s own cataloging scheme. 

New acquisitions are guided by a carefully-formulated Acquisitions Policy, and are classified according to the Library of Congress classification system; a general description of the holdings can be found here. Registered readers may access the Research Collection in open stacks.

Turning the Pages

Browse some highlights of the Gennadius collection as if paging through an open book. Maps of the Aegean, paintings illustrating General Makrygiannis’s Memoirs, a 16th c. costume album by Lambert de Vos, the Charta of Rigas Feraios, and one of John Gennadius’s scrapbooks from the Ballan Wars are all included here.

This award-winning system was made possible thanks to the generous support of the Stavros S. Niarchos Foundation.