The American Research Center in Eygpt




The Marilyn M. and William Kelly Simpson Library is one of ARCE’s most successful outreach operations. Available to ARCE members, staff, fellows, and members of ARCE affiliated expeditions, it is also accessible to the staff of the Supreme Council of Antiquities; faculty at Egyptian universities and students there seeking higher degrees; members of other foreign institutes and expeditions; and by courtesy to colleagues in general. The library’s large volume of publications in western languages, especially English, makes it a valuable resource to scholars in the Cairo area.

Founded in 1978 to support research on all aspects of the history and culture of Egypt, the library has grown organically over the years through a series of gifts, grants, exchanges, and ongoing acquisitions. Today the collection contains more than twenty-five thousand volumes, approximately twenty percent of which are in Arabic. The collection is particularly strong in Egyptology and Islamic studies, and includes all the standard scholarly reference works in these fields, as well as some 300 journal titles.

librarycrop2The Simpson Library collection also includes a substantial number of rare books, including a complete set of the Bulletins of the Comité de Conservation des Monuments de l'Art Arabe, a first edition of the Description de l'Egypte (one of only five complete sets in Egypt), and the catalogues généraux of the Egyptian Museum and the Musée National de l'Art Arabe (the present-day Islamic Museum).

A unique feature of the Simpson Library is the Photostat collection of important Arabic manuscripts that are held in various Middle East Libraries. Acquired by scholars working in Cairo and throughout the Middle East over the past eighty years, the collection includes many works by the Arabic philosopher Avicenna and members of his school. These works have been photocopied for public use; the originals are preserved in acid-free paper.


The Library is in the process of digitizing its catalogue.  An incomplete record of its holdings, valid through about 2011, may be accessed on the internet through the Digital Library for International Research (DLIR), a collaborative effort sponsored by the Council of American Overseas Research Centers.  Unfortunately, the DLIR lost its funding, and holdings cannot be updated.  An in-house digital catalogue is being prepared.

Limited copies of material in the library, subject to US and Egyptian copyright law, are available for a fee.

US Office: 909 North Washington St. Suite 320, Alexandria, Virginia, 22314 p: (703) 721-3479
ARCE Cairo Center: 2 Midan Simón Bolívar Garden City Cairo 11461 Egypt p: 20 2 2794 8239 

ARCE is a 501(c)(3) organization. Content on the ARCE website is available for personal use only. If content is downloaded, it must be for the sole purpose of viewing, or for "fair use" as defined in United States copyright law. Requests to publish ARCE images must be submitted in writing to

United States Agency for International Development   National Endowment for the Humanities   Council of American Overseas Research Centers   Network for Good   GuideStar"
Copyright 2020 ARCE