The Sir Aurel Stein Collections

Sir Aurél Stein
The world famous explorer of Central Asia, Sir Aurél Stein (1862–1943) sent a part of his library (1,112 books) to the Academy in 1925. In his letter of donation, Stein, who had spent most of his life away from his fatherland, said: "Many a dear memory of my youth ties me to the splendid library of the Academy.

During the years I spent in my native town as a secondary school student, I often visited its reading room. Outside my parental home, I spent my most pleasant hours there: I began my Oriental studies, started to wrangle with the Sanskrit language there…" Whenever a work of his was published, he immediately sent a copy to the "splendid library" of the Academy.

The rest of Sir Aurel Stein's library, who professed to be Hungarian throughout his life, went over to the Academy fourteen years after his death according to his last will. The Stein bequest arriving from England and India contained 2,300 books and off-prints, 180 volumes of periodicals, more than 8,000 photographs made by him (part of it arranged into 31 albums), about 1,500 letters written to him, some of his manuscripts, his maps, etc. The negatives of his shots are now preserved in the Microforms Collection.

Manuscript page from Stein's Sand-buried Ruins of Khotan
(Cat. Stein LHAS 25)
The Stein library is the core of the Oriental Collection's material concerning Central Asia, but it also enriched the fields of Iranian and Indian studies with precious works.

By way of a tribute, the Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences published his last major work, Old Routes of Western Iran, in the Budapest Oriental Reprints series, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of his death. The Catalogue of the Collections of Sir Aurel Stein in the Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences was published in two volumes in 2002 and 2007.

The digital versions of the exhibitions based on the bequest are available at and