The Research Archives of the Oriental Institute is a non-circulating collection of books and other publications relating to the ancient Near East for the reference and research of Oriental Institute faculty, staff, students, members, and authoized guests. Its materials span the history of the ancient Near East from prehistoric times through the Late Antique period and reflect the interests and work of its users and benefactors.
The Research Archives is housed in the former quarters of the old Oriental Institute Library. The Reading Room, which was described by James Henry Breasted as "the most beautiful room in the building," retains most of the original decorative elements and furnishings from when the Oriental Institute was completed in 1931. Of particular note are the "Lotus" Window in the south wall, with its Egyptian-style design, the wood carvings on the north wall, and the elaborately painted ceiling. Overlooking the Reading Room is the Minstrel's Gallery, which now houses the periodicals collection. In recognition of generous support for the Oriental Institute Legacy Campaign, the Research Archives Reading Room is named the Elizabeth Morse Genius Reading Room.
The Oriental Institute has made a substantial commitment to complete the holdings of the Research Archives in the fields represented by the scholarship of its faculty and staff. To this end, individual volumes and complete runs have been (and continue to be) purchased to complete our holdings in serial and periodical publications. With holdings of over 60,000 volumes, the Research Archives is a unique resource for the study of the Ancient Near East.
- 2013 Provisioning the Temple of the Muses: Expanding Capacity in the Research Archives through Compact Storage Installation
- 2009 A Feast of Knowledge: Libraries and Archives, Past and Present
- 2008 Recovering the Lost Story of the Rise of Man: The Research Archives of the Oriental Institute