Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies Archive
The Khayrallah Center for Lebanese American Studies (KCLDS) Archive is the foundational work of its cultural projects. It houses primary resources collected from Lebanese-Americans, cultural institutions and research on immigrants in the Americas. The center is constantly adding material to the archive and striving to improve discoverability and accuracy of our existing collections.
Core collection goals of the KCLDS Archive are historic North and South American newspapers published in Arabic between 1890 and 1950; government and institutional documents about the history of Syrio-Lebanese immigrants; and family collections—photographs, oral histories, documents—which reflect the contemporary immigrant experience as well as that of previous generations.
While a great deal of the archive is freely available online, some collections are only partially available, while others are restricted to researchers. There are many reasons why a collection may be public, partially restricted, or restricted. KCLDS Archive respects the copyright laws of the United States and all other countries of origin for the materials held herein. Donors to the KCLDS Archive also may request restrictions for any reason, which the Khayrallah Center fully respects.
This finding guide is designed to supplement the online archive and provide a full listing of our holdings. The availability of a collection is indicated in this guide, which includes both fully processed collections and new arrivals which have yet to be uploaded. If you are interested in viewing restricted material, please contact us.
This document is navigable via its Table of Contents, which links to each main section. The URLs to collection titles within the catalog link directly to the online pages if the collection is fully or partially public.
Alex Daye Census for Maronite Patriarch
Birth Records: Lawrence, Massachusetts
The Syrian Society of New York
Beirut Consulate Post Records
United States Census
Lawrence Public Library Special Collections
Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation: Lebanese in Vicksburg
Abdou, Nagib T.
Aṭlas, Salwā Salāma
Publisher: The Syrian-American Press & Al-Hoda Press
Rustum, Mikhail Asad
Misc. Restricted Books
The Syrian World
Newspaper Clippings: North Carolina
Al Fatat Boston
Newspaper Clippings: Massachusetts
Newspaper Clippings: Michigan
Newspaper Clippings: New York
Newspaper Clippings: Pennsylvania
Ameen Rihani Speech
Cedars in the Pines Documentary
Oral History Interviews
Oral Histories from AANM
These collections contain historic documents. Many of the items in this collection are digitized versions of governmental or legal documents. These collections also contain documents and reports related to institutional or organizational records. This category includes records related to churches, civic societies, and charitable organizations. Researchers interested in accessing more government documents should search Family Collections, which often have documents owned by particular families.
Additionally, the Khayrallah Center offers a searchable database of census information that we have gathered on Lebanese Americans. We have collected over 300,000 records of Lebanese immigrants from the US Census spanning the years 1900 through 1940. Because of the size of this collection, individual documents are not available for online browsing, however, you can search these records by name, town, state, and other criteria.
This collection contains letters sent from Alex Daye (Dayyeh) in North Carolina to the Maronite Patriarchate in Lebanon, May-June 1921. The letters were written in response to a call from the Maronite Patriarchate in Lebanon to enumerate Lebanese immigration around the world. Daye wrote about the immigrant communities in three North Carolina cities: Winston-Salem, Greensboro, and Burlington. He includes names, place of origin, and date of immigration.
Scope and Contents
The collection contains scans of the original letters in Arabic as well as an English-language translation of the documents.
This collection contains records from Lawrence, Massachusetts. The records were stored in the Oliver School and accessioned into the Lawrence Public Library Special Collections. This digitized selection from the larger collection contains documents pertaining to immigrants from Syria and Lebanon dating largely from 1900 to 1920.
These records were provided by children and their families in order to verify the ages of young immigrants. This was necessary in order for teenagers and young adults to prove they were old enough to work. Though nationwide laws regulating and restricting work for children 16 and under were not ratified in the United States until 1938, Massachusetts was the first state to create child labor laws in 1836. By the early 1900s, when many families settled in the booming mill town of Lawrence, various state legislation governed the ability of minors to work. Not only were children under 16 prohibited from working in factories, the state also issued fines to people who employed minors who were illiterate in English. This led to the growth of night schools and schools dedicated specifically to teaching immigrant children to speak, read, and write English. Thus, work permits were typically issued by schools. Once age and literacy were verified, teenagers would be issued a work permit. Whie it is unknown how many youth and factory owners circumvented these laws, these records indicate that many attempted to conform.
This collection displays the variety of records that Syrian and Lebanese immigrants used to prove the age of their youth. Because many did not have birth certificates, a large number of the proof of birth records consist of correspondences with clergy in Greater Syria, who consulted baptismal records to confirm age. Other records are from the process of immigration, and include documents from both Marseilles, France, and Ellis Island, New York. Some records were requested from officials or individuals in America, and consist both of missives from immigration officials and from private individuals. The collection also includes records issued by schools, which verify age through years of schooling; included among some of these school records are short documents, handwritten by young immigrants in to prove their literacy in English. In addition to records proving age, some individuals have additional documents; specifically, the Oliver School retained many work permits and physician's certificates of health. Though some individuals have only one document associated with them, other individuals had multiple documents that were kept by the Oliver School and preserved by the Lawrence Public Library Special Collections.
Scope and Contents
C. 1900-1930 (some earlier, some later)
The Petitions of Naturalization consists of several documents that reflect the process of immigrants to gain citizenship to the United States. This paperwork contains information about individuals including: Name; Birth Date; Birth Place; Physical Characteristics, Occupation, Immigration date; Port of Departure, Port of Arrival, Ship Name; Resident Town; Address; Witnesses or character references; Spouse; Children; Birth dates and birth locations of spouses and children. The naturalization documents in this collection predominantly belong to immigrants who settled in North Carolina. Naturalization documents created between 1909-1945 for and by Lebanese immigrants who settled in North and South Carolina.
The Syrian Society of the City of New York was among the first charitable associations dedicated exclusively to the interests of Syrio-Lebanese immigrants. It was organized by a group of American Presbyterians the spring of 1892 and officially incorporated on January 19, 1893. The society was headquartered in the Syrian enclave on Washington Street, and focused its activities among the population there.
Initially, the only Syrian involved in the endeavor was the well-educated Presbyterian Dr. Ameen F. Haddad, who is listed as secretary in the society’s first annual report. Though the highest chairs of office were given to Americans, according to the Society’s first president, Frederick W. Perry, Haddad was “the father of this Society … the projector and founder of this scheme to benefit his countrymen” (“First Annual Report,” 5). Haddad remained affiliated with the Syrian Society throughout its tenure, and was still serving as its secretary in 1912 (Jacobs, 377).
The dearth of Syrians involved in the initial project was noted and critiqued by Nageeb Arbeely in the English-language pages of Kawkab America. Though he expressed displeasure that he and other community leaders had not been invited to participate upon the society’s founding, Arbeely closed his critique with an offer to support any organization that would benefit his people. Arbeely was good on his word, and was among the several Protestant Syrians who contributed to the society in its first year. Despite his monetary support, Arbeely remained critical, suggesting in 1893 that Haddad--and by extension the Syrian Society--were encouraging anti-Syrian reporting in the larger New York press. Nonetheless, the Syrian Society seems to have fostered the creation of similar societies with a higher percentage of community members; for example, an 1896 notice in The New York Times stated that the Syrian Society of the City of New York was allowing the Daughters of Syria to meet in its rooms at 95 Washington Street.
As indicated by the cover of the Syrian Society’s first annual report, which depicts two young Syrian children, a central focus of the organization was the care and education of children. While it had sincere ideals to improve the lives of children, the Syrian Society also expressly aimed at linguistic and cultural assimilation. In 1892, Ameen Haddad and his brother Saleem opened a school for Syrian children at 95 Washington Street. Though the Syrian Society planned an expansion to Chicago and hoped to open a home for Syrian children whose mothers left the city annually to work as traveling salespeople, or peddlers, these goals were hampered by either financial restrictions or a lack of proven need. The Syrian Society of the City of New York was funded by charitable donations; as a result, it perpetually struggled to maintain its school, much less expand to new locales or projects. It was active until at least 1912.
Scope and Contents
This collection contains:
As of January 2017, this collection represents the preliminary scans of the Beirut Consular Post Records housed at the National Archives II in College Park, Maryland. First steps have focused on scanning records related to American citizens in Lebanon during the World War I period.
This collection also contains scans of infectious disease reports from 1899-1904
Scope and Contents
Copied images of Lebanese American death Certificates from 19 states and an excel document from data from the certificates. Year ranges refer to the ranges of the state collections rather than the range of Lebanese records within the collection.
Scope and Contents
This collection contain photographs, scans, or digital documents donated by researchers. These documents are identified, but not posted online because their source and provenance is unknown.
Scope and Contents
Documents contained in this collection are:
Extracted listing of Syrian and Lebanese immigrants listed in decennial US Federal censuses from 1900-1940. While the raw data is not publicly available, our website has a searchable database, located here.
Scope and Content
KCLDS holds five decades of extracted census data: 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940
These collections have been donated by Lebanese American families. They reflect the multifaceted experience of immigrants spanning from the nineteenth century to the present day; while varied, these collections also highlight the common threads between Lebanese immigrants throughout the decades.
Family collections contain digital reproductions of objects, documents, and photographs reflecting the history of individual families and their experiences in the Lebanese diaspora. Materials in family collections include: photographs, oral histories, letters, personal documents, videos, audio recordings, photographed objects, and more.
Unless otherwise noted, each family retains the original, physical object and full copyright over their use.
The Khayrallah Center is actively seeking new family collections from across the United States and the world. If you have material from your own experiences or family history please consider sharing your story. If you would like to learn more about establishing a family collection, please contact us.
Wael Abou-Chakra, who goes by Al Chakra in America, was born in Beirut, Lebanon, in December 1968, the third of four children. At the time of his birth, Wael’s father worked for the Lebanese military; however, in 1975, this association made the family targets by different factions during the Lebanese Civil War. Seeking safety, the family fled Beirut, returning to the Abou-Chakra’s hometown of Ammatour, Shouf, Lebanon, where the extended Abou-Chakra family lived.
Wael was academically gifted from a very young age, beginning school at the age of three. He graduated from high school early, and at age 15 he enrolled in two colleges simultaneously, studying mechanical engineering at the Arabic University of Beirut and mathematics at the Lebanese University. After nearly a year of this, Wael was granted a student visa for the United States in 1986.
Wael joined his older brother, who had left Lebanon in 1984 to attend college, in Charlotte, North Carolina. He obtained his BA in Translation from UNC-Charlotte. Immediately after graduation, Wael was hired into a support personnel position by IBM. Fearing that he was disadvantaged by his Humanities degree, Wael began studying computer science at a nearby community college and pursued certification in networking, hardware, and security, eventually receiving an MBA in Technology Management. Wael’s dedication and pursuit of education led to a series of promotions at IBM. After receiving his MBA, Wael devoted the time he had once poured into education into inventing. After just one year of inventing, Wael was awarded IBM’s Inventor of the Year Award in 2008. Currently, Wael is a Senior Release Manager and a Master Inventor for IBM, working in the Raleigh-Durham area.
In addition to his technological achievements, Wael has established himself as an active community service leader in North Carolina, among the Lebanese-Americans, and abroad. Wael is a member of the American Druze Society, and served as president of the Triangle Lebanese Association during the time it established the Lebanese Festival. Wael was among the first employees to be selected for IBM’s Corporate Service Corps; for this program, he traveled to Romania in 2008 to help nonprofit and private sector agencies integrate into the European Union. In 2011, he was chosen to be a leader for IBM’s Celebration of Service program, which coordinates nonprofit activities in Wake County with IBM employees. Wael Abou-Chakra’s energetic devotion to volunteer service has earned him the President Volunteer Service Award Certificate multiple times.
Wael is married to Lama Abou-Chakra, a fellow Lebanese-American. Lama's childhood was divided between winters spent in Haldi, a suburb of Beirut where they wintered and Lama attended school, and summers in Ammatour. Lama's parents were both natives of Ammatour and descended from a different branch of the Abou-Chakra family.
Lama's childhood in Lebanon coincided with the Lebanese Civil War: she was born in 1976 and moved to the United States in 1995. Lama graduated from high school in 1993 and met Wael the next year. Though she was young when they married, she followed the example of her parents, who had each attained their college degrees later in life. Lama studied at North Carolina State University and University of Massachusetts, attending part-time while working at IBM and, eventually, parenting. Together, the couple have two children, Katia and Nassim.
Scope and Content
This collection contains documents and photographs relating to Wael Abou-Chakra’s achievements in business and community service; photographs from Lama Abou-Chakra’s childhood in Lebanon; and images from Wael and Lama’s life together.
1994-2011 and various
These materials were provided by Maggie Saleh and primarily concern the life of her uncle, Moussa Domit, and his immediate family.
Moussa Domit was born May 24, 1932 in Mazraat al Toufah in Zghorta in northern Lebanon to Majed Moussa Domit and Jamili Yousef (Khoury) Jreige. His grandparents had spent time in Pennsylvania, and both his father Majed and his aunt, Margaret Domit (called Aunt Peggy), were born in the United States. In 1953 Moussa immigrated to Columbus, Ohio, to complete high school. After completing high school, Domit returned to Lebanon where he met Yvette Baini. Yvette was born in French Senegal, West Africa, but her parents returned to Lebanon when she was a child; she attended a French school in Tripoli.
The two married on February 11, 1960, and in 1961, Moussa and Yvette returned to Columbus so that Moussa could attend college. Though he originally hoped to become a writer, Moussa developed an interested in art, and he earned a Bachelor in History of Art at Ohio State University in 1962 and Master of Arts in Art History at Southern Connecticut State College in 1967, the same year that he became an American citizen. During this decade, the couple had four children: Maggie, Majed, Mark, and Matthew.
Domit achieved immediate success in the art field, conducting postgraduate work at Yale University before serving as associate director of the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., from 1968 to 1970, and as a curator at the National Gallery of Art between 1970 and 1972. In 1972, Moussa was hired as director of the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, North Carolina, a position he held until 1981. During this decade, Domit developed the collection, providing exhibit space for international and multicultural artists and historic art pieces, and led the campaign to move the museum away from its original location in downtown Raleigh to a newly-built, modernized facility on Blue Ridge Road. In addition to his efforts to diversify the collection and create an appropriate facility to house the artwork, Domit worked to expand the museum’s staff and public programs.
In 1974, Domit assisted in the immigration of his sister, Cecilia Saleh, and her children. In 1981, the Domit family left Raleigh for Florida, where Moussa took a position as director of the Dixon Gallery and Gardens in Memphis before moving to the Appleton Art Museum in Ocala, Florida, in 1986. Towards the end of his life, Domit spent a great deal of time in Lebanon, where he worked to restore his family’s summer home to its historic condition. Moussa Domit passed away in 2005, but he is remembered in North Carolina as a visionary who developed the North Carolina Museum’s collection to international significance while simultaneously increasing its accessibility to community members of all ages and backgrounds.
Scope and Content
The collection contains documents and articles related to Moussa Domit's career in the art field, family photographs, and early letters from Domit's adolescence in Columbus, Ohio.
Additionally, it contains valuable genealogical information in the form of family trees and an oral history. The collection also contains a diary and an autobiographical narrative written by Maron Domit Barkett, a First Wave immigrant and great-uncle of Moussa Domit. The collection also has scans of covers and title pages of books from Moussa Domit’s collection, restricted to researchers. These documents may be of interest to researchers of early Lebanese immigrants as well as scholars of immigration and diaspora.
Joseph Maroun El-Khouri was born in 1924 in Kour, Batroun, Lebanon and Mariam Thomee Yazbek El-Khouri, one of seven children. His father, Reverend Joseph Michael Maroun El-Khouri was a Maronite priest, and at least one sibling, Sister Victorine El-Khouri, followed his example and joined religious orders.
Joseph served as an intelligence agent and interpreter for Great Britain during World War II. In 1949, Joseph travelled to Minneapolis, Minnesota to help settle an uncle’s estate. Initially Joseph had no intention of immigrating permanently to the United States, but soon after he arrived he met and fell in love with Rose Isaac while visiting relatives who lived in the large Lebanese community located in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Rose was the daughter of Thanios (Thomas) Isaac and Moura (Nora) Lawandos Isaac, who immigrated to the United States in 1912 and 1914, respectively, and were married in 1917. Thanios Isaac supported his wife and five children by working various laboring jobs, including for the railroad and a local wiremill. Thanios Isaac passed away in 1939.
Joseph and Rose married in Rose’s hometown in 1950, and moved to Minneapolis where they operated a grocery store until 1953. Joseph was naturalized in 1954 with the help of his friend Vice President Hubert Humphrey, at the time a Minnesota senator. In 1955, Joseph and Rose moved to Andrews, North Carolina, to be closer to Rose’s sister Bessie Isaac Jabaley, who was living near her husband’s family in Copper Hill, TN. The Jabaley’s helped the growing El-Khouri family establish themselves in their new home by making Joseph the manager of their department store, Jabaley’s, which Joseph purchased and renamed to Khouri’s in 1965. The store remained open until 1989.
Joseph quickly established himself as a prominent civic leader in North Carolina. He served on a number of boards and service organizations including: the Andrews Lion Club, Western Carolina University Board of Visitors, Cherokee County United Way, the Andrews Chamber of Commerce, and the Daniel Boone Council of Boy Scouts. Joseph was a devoted Democrat, even serving, with his eldest son George, as an elected delegate to the 1988 Democratic National Convention in Atlanta. In addition to these civic and political accomplishments, Joseph and Rose were pillars of the Catholic community in North Carolina, holding the town’s first Catholic masses in their own home, and donating the land upon which the Holy Redeemer Catholic Church was built in Andrews, North Carolina.
Joseph and Rose had seven children: George Maron El-Khouri, Theresa El-Khouri Martin, Mariam El-Khouri Gerber, Marsha El-Khouri Shiver, Barbara El-Khouri, Catherine El-Khouri, and Anthony El-Khouri. Joseph passed away on July 22, 2012; Rose El-Khouri passed away in December, 2016. Since his passing, Joseph El-Khouri’s contributions to North Carolina have been recognized locally, and the legacies of both Joseph and Rose have been carried forth by their children and grandchildren.
Scope and Content
The collection consists of photographs, letters, documents, home videos, and articles relating to the life of Joseph Maroun El-Khouri, his wife Rose Isaac El-Khouri, and his children. The material details Joseph's career and community contributions as well as providing insight into multiple generations of Lebanese-American family life. The collection also contains information on how immigrants remained connected to their families, including a number of letters and audio missives sent between Joseph and his family in Lebanon.
The collection also contains photographs and letters relating to Joseph El-Khouri’s relatives in Lebanon, as well as materials from Rose Isaac El-Khouri’s family in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
The collection totals over 600 items, including some that are held physically at the KCLDS Archive. An itemized collection guide is viewable separately for researchers.
Dorothy Findlen descends from Samuel [Samir] “Sam” Abdo Parker (1890-1954) and Helen Kelly Parker (1891-1985). The last name “Parker” is an anglicized version of the Lebanese name Booaker. Both Sam and Helen were immigrants from the same town, which was listed as “Shba-Neeat, Syria” in naturalization documents: Helen immigrated to the United States in 1901 and Sam came several years later in 1905. They married in 1912 and over the course of the next two decades had five children: Alma, Louis, Agnes, Lillian, and Magdalen.
Sam and Helen initially worked in wholesale of produce in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. In 1931, they moved to Elizabethtown, North Carolina, where—despite the Great Depression—they opened a department store, which built upon their previous business by focusing on dry goods. Despite its opening during the Great Depression, the store was a success, and the Parkers soon became respected members of the community. Sam and Helen were also instrumental in establishing the first Catholic church in Bladen County. For a decade, Sam and Helen hosted masses, led by Father Henry Vosh of Newton Grove, within their own home. Though land for the church was anonymously donated in 1931, fundraising for construction took a decade. Helen Parker organized a fundraiser to purchase stained-glass windows while Sam drew upon his business contacts to contribute to the construction. Our Lady of the Snows was dedicated on November 30, 1941.
Sam and Helen Parker emphasized the importance of advanced education and careers for their children, regardless of gender. For example, Alma, their eldest daughter, attended Sacred Heart College (now part of Belmont Abbey College) in Belmont, North Carolina, where she studied business; youngest child Magdalen attended the College of Notre Dame in Baltimore, Maryland, and had a long and successful career as a teacher. Louis Francis Parker, the only son in the family, was a leader in the establishment of Bladen Community College, and served on its Board of Trustees. Alma, a shrewd businessperson, was a lifelong supporter of other women in business: she was a charter member of the Gray Moss Chapter of the American Business Women’s Association in Elizabethtown, and throughout her life encouraged young women to pursue higher education and enter business. The family’s commitment to education lives on at this college through several scholarships: the Alma Parker Farris Scholarship for Business, which Alma established to encourage young women to study business; the Louis & Louise Parker Scholarship; and the Sam & Helen Kelly Parker Scholarship, established by Agnes Parker Najam to honor her parents’ love of education.
While her siblings pursued other careers, Alma Parker took over proprietorship of the family department store. Alma married Shikralla Doumit (“S.D.” or “Shik”) Farris (1910-1964) in December of 1941. Shik was a graduate of the American University of Beirut who immigrated to the United States in 1937. His parents also immigrated, and lived in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Alma and Shik ran the department store together, renaming it the Farris Department Store. Under their ownership, the store shifted away from dry goods to focus more on clothing. When Shik passed away in 1964, Alma continued to run the store until she retired, closing the business in January 2007 after nearly 75 years. Alma and Shik had three daughters—Kathryn, Anne, and Dorothy—who all followed in the tradition of their parents and grandparents in their pursuit of higher education.
Scope and Content
This collection contains official documents, newspaper articles, and photographs related to two generations of the Parker and Farris families. Included are naturalization documents, birth and death certificates, obituaries, family photographs, articles detailing the accomplishments of family members. Some elements of the collection—official identification documents and naturalization material--are restricted and available only upon request.
Abed [David] Salam Itani was born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1952. His parents were Khalil and Nadia Itani, and David was the first born of their nine children. Khalil Itani struggled with alcoholism and, though he worked to support his family, was often absent in the lives of David and his siblings. Nadia Itani had come from a very impoverished family; unable to attain education, she married Khalil at the extremely young age of thirteen and had David when she was just fifteen. Despite her lack of education and early poverty, Nadia Itani was an intelligent and formidable woman. She was a dedicated parent who worked to provide her children with food, clothes, and a stable home. From her, the Itani children learned strong morality and values of family, hard work, and determination.
Both Khalil and Nadia’s extended families were also a large presence in the Itani children’s lives. David was particularly close to his paternal grandmother, who doted on the children of her youngest son. David was born with a congenital heart condition, which required surgery; his grandmother helped with the money to afford the surgery when he was approximately 10. The Itani children’s aunts and uncles were also important figures in their lives. One of David Itani’s uncles provided him with a job at his restaurant when David began working as a young teenager, and his uncles helped him get jobs and advance.
At age 15, David began working as a hairdresser and quickly excelled at the profession. In 1977, at age 21, David left Lebanon to escape the Civil War. He moved to Saudi Arabia, where he attempted to work as a hairdresser, but was pushed out by prohibitions against men doing women’s hair. Though he returned briefly to Lebanon in 1978, the violence of the war again prompted him to leave, and he moved to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Over the next several years six of his siblings and his parents all moved to Australia to escape the violence of the Civil War. In 1983, he met Faye, a young American who had moved from North Carolina to Dubai. After a whirlwind romance, the two married; in 1984, their daughter Natalie was born. They moved to North Carolina where their second child, a son Khalil, was born. In 1987, David and Faye opened a salon in Raleigh, NC; they have been in business together ever since. The family has been involved with the Triangle Lebanese Association when their busy work schedule allowed, a role that their daughter, Natalie, took up as an adult.
Scope and Content
The collection contains several photographs of the Itani siblings and relatives during their childhood in Lebanon. It also includes an oral history conducted by Dr. Akram Khater circa 2010. The interview includes David Abed Itani, his wife Faye, and his daughter Natalie. The 1 hour and 35 minute interview discusses the Itani family history, the complexities of race and faith, the impact of 9/11 and prejudice, and the relationship between immigrant parents and their children. The interview is available to researchers upon request.
Naoum Antoun Mokarzel (1864-1932) and Salloum Antoun Mokarzel (1881-1952) were influential intellectuals who immigrated to the United States from Lebanon in the late nineteenth century. Both were prominent Lebanese-American intellectuals who used their family-owned publishing house, the Al-Hoda Press, to preserve their heritage for diaspora communities across the world and to educate English-speaking audiences about the rich history and culture of Lebanon.
The Mokarzel brothers were the sons of Antoun Mokarzel, a Maronite Priest, and Barbara Akl Mokarzel. They were born and raised in Frieke, Lebanon. Naoum Mokarzel emigrated to the United States in 1890, at the age of 26. Naoum explored various career options as a young man, including: shopkeeper, bookkeeper, journalist, and medical student. While working as a bookkeeper in Philadelphia he founded Al Asr, a fledgling newspaper which quickly failed. Shortly after, in 1898, Naoum founded Al-Hoda [Guidance] as a biweekly publication; the first issue was published on February 22 of that year. In 1902, Naoum moved the paper from Philadelphia to New York and began publishing it as a daily. Newspapers proliferated among the populous Lebanese immigrant community in New York City, but among them Al-Hoda stood out in its wide circulation and international sphere of influence. Though Naoum frequently insisted upon his own journalistic integrity and objectivity, Al-Hoda was guided from the start by a fierce devotion to the cause of Lebanon; it also initially leaned towards Maronite interests, against Orthodox views. In his editorials and articles, Naoum was quick to rise to the defense of both his homeland and himself, a tendency that often stirred controversy even as it furthered Naoum's political goals.
Around the time that Naoum founded Al-Hoda, his much younger brother Salloum joined him in the United States. Though Salloum travelled back to Lebanon to obtain his higher education at St. Joseph’s University, he was quickly folded into the new family trade of publishing. Salloum quickly established himself as an innovator in his own right: in 1909, he catalogued and published The Syrian Business Directory, an inventory of Syrian businesses in the United States. In the next year, he patented the first Arabic linotype machine, an invention which helped modernize Arabic publishing; this innovation contributed to the explosion of the Arabic press in both North and South America. In the 1910s and 1920s, Salloum published scholarly works through the imprint called The Syrian-American Press; he also carried forth his interest in Lebanese business endeavors through the monthly journal Al Majallah Al-Tijariya [Syrian-American Commercial Magazine], which he edited from 1918 to 1926.
Despite their shared vocation, the two brothers had very different personalities and political goals. Naoum had a fiery commitment to Lebanese independence: in 1911, he founded the Lebanese League of Progress in an attempt to unite the Lebanese diaspora behind the cause of Lebanese independence. Naoum was among the delegation from Lebanon sent to the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. Though Naoum was an outspoken and passionate figure whose devout Maronitism, Lebanese nationalism, and willingness to critique the diasporic community often created controversy. By contrast, Salloum was known as a gentler figure, more interested in building new communities and hybrid cultural identities than in influencing political change in the homeland. Despite his very different aims, Salloum, too, was a formidable influence both to his peers and to younger generations of Lebanese-Americans.
The difference between the brothers’ personalities and political goals is represented by the differences in their publications. Throughout World War I and the following years of geopolitical chaos and decolonization, Naoum was deeply involved in nationalist movements. His decision to publish Al-Hoda in Arabic indicates his continuing commitment to a diasporic community which faced towards and participated in the culture and political realm of the homeland. By contrast, Salloum was interested in translating and modifying his birth culture to thrive in various new homelands. To facilitate this goal, in 1926, Salloum launched The Syrian World, which he initially conceived as an academic journal aimed towards a hybrid audience of second-generation children of immigrants and Americans of non-Lebanese descent. Between 1926 and 1932, The Syrian World was published as a monthly journal. During this time, it served as an outlet for scholarship on Syrian and Lebanese history, as well as topics pertinent to the immigrant community such as health, current events, and preserving Lebanese heritage for younger generations. In served as a platform for Salloum to initiate his plans for community formation through his editorials; for example, Salloum put out a call for the formation of regional federations like the Southern Federation of Syrian and Lebanese American Clubs in a editorial in the late 1920s. Significantly, the paper brought together the circle of immigrant authors who formed the New York Pen League: notably Khalil Gibran, Ameen Rihani, and Mikhail Naimy. In 1932, the combined factors of the Great Depression and the death of Naoum Mokarzel led Salloum to scale back his involvement in the paper; its format was changed from the style of an academic journal to a more traditional newspaper. This incarnation of the paper--which lasted from 1932 to 1935--consisted of daily news on both transnational and local levels.
Naoum Mokarzel had three marriages: Sophie Shishim, between 1898 and 1902; Saada Rihani between 1904 and 1908; and Rose Abillama, from 1910 until Naoum’s 1932 death. Naoum had no children, and Salloum and his family were Naoum’s heirs. In 1908, Salloum married Helen Abu Khalil. Together, the couple had five daughters: Mary, Rose, Alice, Yemna, and Lila. By 1919, Salloum and Helen moved their family to Cranford, New Jersey; however, the children were raised to be highly educated world citizens, encouraged towards literacy in both English and Arabic. In 1925, Helen took her five daughters to Lebanon, where the girls travelled and attended school until returning to America in 1927.
Naoum died in 1932 on a visit to Paris, where he was serving as a representative of diasporic communities for Lebanon’s transition from French colony to independent nation. This led Salloum to take up the role of editing Al-Hoda. During this time, Salloum became increasingly well-known, contributing to the Lebanese pavilion at the 1939 New York World’s Fair and serving as a dignitary at the 1946 opening of the United Nations. Salloum died in 1952. The bodies of both brothers were repatriated by the government of Lebanon, and are buried together in the family tomb in their native city of Freike, Lebanon.
The Mokarzel brothers’ legacies were carried on by Salloum’s five daughters. After a struggle over the ownership of the paper, Salloum’s eldest daughter, Mary Mokarzel, carried on the publication of Al-Hoda. In 1954--perhaps in remembrance of her father’s English-language journal The Syrian World--Mary acquired The Lebanese American Journal, which she published in tandem with the Arabic paper until September 1971. Yemna was also committed to the family business, supporting her sister’s social, political, and business endeavors and serving as a correspondent for the papers.
Neither Yemna nor Mary married. Rose Mokarzel married Joseph Tanous; the two had three children: Peter J. Tanous, an investment banker, author, and community leader; Dr. Helene Tanous, who specialized in radiology; and Evelyne Nala Tanous, J.D., who served as Chief Counsel of the United States Small Business Administration district office in Houston. Peter has three children with his wife Ann-Christopher Tanous, Helen Tanous Bartilucci, and Will Tanous--and five grandchildren. Evelyne Tanous has one daughter, Chantal Tanous D’Laurenti, and two grandchildren.
Alice Mokarzel married Edmond Jaoudi and had two children: Dr. Maria Jaoudi, a professor of Comparative Religion who has one child, Harrison Smith-Jaoudi, with her husband, Harry Smith; and Edmond Jaoudi Jr., a technology administrator who has three children with his wife Barbara: Michael, Steven, and Anna.
Lila Mokarzel married George Hatab. The two had five children: Dr. Lawrence Hatab, a professor of Philosophy and author; Helen Hatab Samhan, a non0profit executive; Anne Hatab Dill, an educator; Paul Hatab, a senior statistician at Micron; John Hatab, an art and drama teacher. Lawrence and his wife Chelsey Carter have one daughter, Stephanie Carter, and two grandchildren. Helen Hatab Samhan married Dr. Muhammad Kamal Samhan; they have two children, Leila Samhan Soliman and Zaid Samhan, and one grandchild. Anne Hatab married Francis Dill; the two had five children--James, Clare Dill Cruz, John, Peter, and Teresa—and four grandchildren. Paul and his wife Christine have two children, Jemma Hatab Langland and Will Hatab, and have two grandchildren. John is married to Mary Ann Hatab and they have two children, Ryan and Jeffrey Blaine.
Scope and Content
This collection, generously provided by Salloum Mokarzel's great-niece Helen Hatab Samhan, contains material related to three generations of the Mokarzel family. It consists of: historic and more recent photographs of the Mokarzel brothers and their descendents; articles about the family; journals; and correspondences between members of the family. The collection has a special emphasis on the papers of Mary Mokarzel; these include: correspondences, including Mary Mokarzel's letter drafts and notes; and business papers, particularly relating to the family property in Freike, Lebanon.
This collection was donated by [Mitchell] Carter and Stephen Carter Rabil. It contains material related to their branch of the Rabil family who settled in Smithfield and Rocky Mount, North Carolina. It contains material about their extended family as well as images of their parents and grandparents.
Carter and Stephen Rabil descended from Edward George Rabil (1987-1974). Edward Rabil was born in 1897 in Hammana, Lebanon. He immigrated from Lebanon at the age of twelve, in 1909, and settled in Smithfield, North Carolina.
At least one of Edward’s brothers, Abdallah George [A.G.] Rabil, also immigrated; the two lived in Smithfield for most of their lives. In 1921 Edward married Mary Farfour Shelby (1892-1986), who had also been born in Hammana. While Abdallah opened a department store in Smithfield, Edward and Mary entered the restaurant business. They owned and operated Ed’s Café in Smithfield for many years.
Together, Edward and Mary had two children: Edward George Rabil, Jr. (1923-2007) and Mitchell George Rabil (1924-1987). Edward Rabil Jr. married Cecil Mae Bradley and Mitchell Rabil married Gertrude “Trudy” Marie Carter. Carter and Stephen Rabil were among their children. This generation of Rabils were talented in various sports, and pursued sports even as they received their college educations. The third generation of Smithfield Rabils were mainstays in both North Carolina and Lebanese-American communities.
Scope and Content
This collection contains official documents, newspaper articles, and photographs related to the Rabil family of Smithfield and their extended family throughout North Carolina. The collection has an emphasis on the athletic activity and achievement of the Rabils. A number of additional research--including newspaper clippings, obituaries, and documents--gathered by Khayrallah Center staff during research, are available upon request. These restricted materials relate to branches of the Rabil family beyond Smithfield and throughout North Carolina.
Charles “Charlie” Ibrahim Abed was born in Kano, Nigeria, in 1959, to Lebanese immigrants. The second youngest of five children, Charlie spent his early childhood in Nigeria before his father sent him and his younger sister to Lebanon to attend boarding schools; their mother died shortly after. Charlie was in high school when the Lebanese Civil War broke out; because of the war, the graduation test was not administered in 1977/1978, and Charlie had to come to the United States to complete his education.
Aided by a friend who was already studying in the United States, Charlie entered university in Detroit, Michigan. However, in 1979, Charlie chose to join his brother Samir in North Carolina. He attended UNC-Charlotte, where he met his future wife, Susan Walsh. The two married after graduation, in 1983, and in the 1990s had four children: Mira and triplets Sasha, Richard, and Erica.
Though he originally intended to be a Civil Engineer, through the course of his education Charlie discovered Operations Research, which he pursued to the graduate level. Both Susan and Charlie worked in Pennsylvania for IBM throughout the 1980s. The two returned to North Carolina in 1987, where they have lived ever since. In 1994, Charlie left IBM to start his own business, while Susan moved into consulting in order to homeschool their children. Charlie was a successful business owner: his first business, an oil change shop located in Charlotte, North Carolina, grew into many other ventures, including a UPS store, a car wash, and a donut shop.
Scope and Content
This collection consists of photographs and documents which record Charles Abed’s childhood in Nigeria and Lebanon, his immigration to the United States as a young man, and his family life.
These materials were provided by Bearta Al-Chacar Powell. Bearta Al-Chacar Powell was born on January 26, 1966, in Ma’asser El Chouf, to Ramiz Al-Shakar and Isabelle Maalouf. When Bearta was five years old, her mother died; her father died of a heart attack about six months later. Bearta was the fourth of five children: her oldest sibling was ten-years-old and her youngest was about two.
Shortly after, one of Bearta’s uncles took the children to the Children’s Village S.O.S. orphanage in Bikfaya, Lebanon, where she lived, together with her siblings, from 1971 until 1985. Though most of her extended family perished in the Lebanese Civil War, Bearta and her siblings had relatively happy childhoods in the interfaith orphanage, though the awareness of the ongoing civil war impacted their daily lives.
When Bearta turned 18, an older brother—who had married a missionary and immigrated to the United States—helped her and their youngest sister, Nina, come to Henderson, North Carolina.Bearta attended Vance Granville Community College and then, with the support of an American family, went to North Carolina State University, where she studied business management.
Bearta married in 1990, after her graduation, and supported her husband until 1996 while he completed his doctorate. In 1996, the two began a family, and Bearta left work to raise her children. She has since become an author, and has produced two books: a memoir about her childhood, The Orphans of War, and Authentic Lebanese Cuisine: From Our Homes to Yours.
Scope and Content
This collection contains the transcript of an oral history taken from Bearta Al-Chacar Powell by Dr. Akram Khater and photographs of her childhood.
These materials were provided by Philip Augustine Baddour, Jr., and Richard Allen Baddour and primarily document the lives of their parents and grandparents, the Baddours and Farfours of Goldsboro, North Carolina.
The Baddour family of Goldsboro, North Carolina descends from Shickrey Baddour, who immigrated from Hammana, Lebanon in 1893, and his second wife Victoria Alkazin, a Lebanese immigrant who grew up primarily in Atlantic City, New Jersey. In addition to the twins Seef Charles and Joseph, Shickrey’s two surviving sons from his first marriage to Mary Abeyounis, Victoria and Shickrey had six children together: Evelyn, Philip, Isabelle, Mary, Mitchell, and Lorraine.
Shickrey and Victoria moved from Atlantic City, NJ, to Goldsboro in 1915. Shickrey worked as a peddler until 1926, which he co-founded the Mt. Olive Pickle Company. In addition to their business ventures, Victoria and Shickrey were active members of North Carolina’s Lebanese-American community: both were both members of the Hammana Club of North Carolina, and Shickrey served as president of the Syrian-American Association of North Carolina. The two also hosted numerous social events with other Lebanese in Goldsboro, including Victoria’s sister Rose Alkazin Reyes, who moved from Atlantic City with her husband George and their children around 1917, and the Farfour family, neighbors who became family members upon the marriage between Louise Farfour and Philip Augustine Baddour, Sr.
After Shickrey’s 1938 death in an automobile accident, Victoria lived with her adult children, all of whom built upon their parents’ business success and community involvement. Philip Baddour, Sr., owned a clothing shop on John Street in Goldsboro, and served as a City Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem of Goldsboro. His son Philip Augustine Baddour, Jr., carried on the tradition, serving in the North Carolina House of Representatives between 1993 and 2002; his brother Dick Baddour was athletic director of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill for fourteen years.
Scope and Content
This collection contains studio portraits and family photographs of individuals and groups from the Baddour and Farfour families. It also contains early twentieth-century newspaper clippings in Arabic as well as letters and documents relating to the memorialization of Shickrey Baddour.
Materials provided by Houda Bracewell. Houda Rizk Bracewell was born in Beirut, Lebanon, the only daughter of Soumaya Sokhn and Nassif Elias Rizk. She had three brothers: Elie, Tony, and Michel. Nassif Rizk was a self-made man who studied aircraft engineering in Scotland and worked with the English army during World War II. He worked as an aircraft engineer in Lebanon.
The Rizk family lived in Lebanon until the outbreak of the Lebanese Civil War. Prevented from attending school by the severity of the bombing, Houda and the older children were sent to the United States on student visas for their safety, first staying with family in Boston and then Philadelphia. After their youngest child was struck by shrapnel, Soumaya and Nassif followed their older children, moving the whole family to the United States.
Houda completed high school in Florida and then studied in California, where her parents moved following their immigration. She married her husband, Greg Bracewell, in 1982. The couple had two children together: Stephen and Susana Bracewell.
Greg was a Southerner, and the two moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, soon after their marriage. In North Carolina, Houda became an active member of the Metrolina club, a group of Lebanese-Americans devoted to sending support to Lebanon in the form of fundraising for hospitals and orphanages, providing scholarships, and educating younger generations in Lebanese culture.
Scope and Contents
This collection contains photographs documenting Houda Bracewell’s childhood in Lebanon. Though undated, they date from circa 1960s.
This collection contains photographs taken and compiled into an album by the twentieth-century missionaries Clara Elise Linn and Roy Creighton.
Clara Elise Linn was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1892. As a child and young woman she was active in her family’s church, particularly in the missionary society the Christian Endeavor and the Student Volunteer Movement. After high school, Clara took business and secretary courses, working as a secretary first for Houghton Mifflin and then for the Ludlow Manufacturing Company in Boston. Though she easily gained employment with the help of an older sister who was secretary to the president of Ludlow Manufacturing, Clara remained active in church and missionary groups, hoping to become a missionary herself.
In 1913, Clara met Roy Creighton through their mutual activity in the Christian Endeavor programs. Roy Creighton was born in 1889 in Arizona; at the time that he met Clara, he was studying architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. At the beginning of 1916, Roy left the architecture school to join the YMCA, where he was stationed in China. In the same year, Clara Linn entered the school of pedagogy at the Hartford Theological Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut. It was here that Clara met and became friends with Ruth Hahn, a missionary nurse who had worked in China and was on furlough in Connecticut. In 1916, Hahn accompanied Clara on the lengthy trip to China to join her fiance Roy. The two married in 1916 in Kuling, China.
The Creightons served as missionaries for the first half of the twentieth century. Though Roy began as a YMCA secretary, his experience in architecture soon led him to become a “missionary architect:” he trained and supervised local craftsmen in Western construction methods in order to erect YMCA buildings, missions, and school. The Creightons lived and worked primarily in China from 1915 to 1949. However, after a lengthy furlough in the United States throughout the 1920s, the Creightons were stationed in Beirut, Lebanon from 1928. The family lived and worked in Lebanon for a total of two years.. In Beirut, Roy worked to help construct new buildings at the American University of Beirut.
The Creightons had three surviving children: Linn, Roger, and Phyllis. A second daughter, Marjory, was born in 1921 and died in infancy in 1922. The Creighton children were raised abroad with their parents; the images in this collection depict them in their young childhoods, often posed at the various historical and cultural sites that the family visited during vacations from their work.
This album, and other materials that are primarily textiles, were donated by their daughter, Phyllis Creighton Danby, to the Gregg Museum of Art & Design in 2012. Phyllis Danby grew up in China; she was married to Dr. “Tony” Danby, professor at North Carolina State University.
Scope and Contents
This collection contains an album of personal photographs documenting the lives of an early-twentieth century American missionary family serving in Lebanon shortly after its establishment as an independent country. In addition to documenting the family life of Clara and Roy Creighton and their three young children, these images depict the landscape and culture of Lebanon during a time of transition for the young country. Of particular interest to researchers may be the series of images depicting Creighton working with Lebanese builders to construct the American University of Beirut.
These materials were donated by Carolyn Monsour Dorroll and concern her life.
Carolyn Monsour Dorroll was born February 11, 1928, in Garland, North Carolina, the oldest child of Lebanese immigrants Mary Solomon Monsour and James Ellis Monsour. Carolyn excelled in her education, graduating Valedictorian from Roseboro High School and continuing on to Elon College, where she worked as assistant to the Dean after her graduation. She married Nicholas Dorroll on April 16, 1950, and the two raised three children while running their own jewelry and diamond business together.
As a first-generation Lebanese-American, Carolyn embraced her heritage and devoted much of her life to supporting the Maronite Catholic Church. In 1973, she helped to establish St. Michael the Archangel Maronite Catholic Church in Fayetteville, North Carolina, which has served as a gathering place not just for faith but for the Lebanese community. She and her sister, Rosalie Mansour Berti, helped to organize the church’s first hafli; the annual celebration has been held there ever since. She served as President of the Parish Council and Choir Director, and was on the executive Board of Directors and Executive Committee for the National Apostolate of Maronites. In 1997, St. Michael’s awarded her the Silver Massabki Award in recognition of her service.
Carolyn was also active in promoting her heritage on a state and nation-wide level, serving as a member of the Order of Saint Sharbel and helping to establish the Saint Sharbel Maronite Catholic Church Mission in Raleigh, North Carolina. Carolyn passed away on March 26, 2014.
c. 1935, 1950
These materials were provided by Franklin Hanna Habit and concern his life and those of his immediate family members.
Frank Habit was the youngest son of John Francis Habit, a Lebanese immigrant. The four Habit brothers—Joseph, John, Edward and Sam—immigrated to the United States from what is now Lebanon in the first decades of the twentieth century. After first settling in New York and New Jersey, the brothers moved south to Edenton, North Carolina, where John Habit worked as a merchant before moving into other business ventures which included a store and a hotel, Habit’s Motor Court.
John Habit married Vivian Craddock in the late 1920s and the two had three children: Jeanette Teresa Habit Dowd, John “Jack” Francis Habit, and Franklin Hanna Habit. In 1950, Frank married Marjorie Miller. Their son, Tony Habit, is president of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation North Carolina New School Project, a position appointed by Governor Mike Easley.
Scope and Content
This collection contains photographs, documents, and images of family artifacts from the personal collection of Frank Habit.
c. 1920s, 1950s, 2010
Materials provided by Doumit and his daughter Karmina Ishak, undated.
Doumit Ishak was born in Lebanon in 1983. In 1997, at the age of 14, his parents moved Doumit and his four siblings to America to join his mother’s family, who had immigrated to the United States in the mid-1970s.
The Ishak family settled in North Carolina, where Doumit completed high school before going North Carolina State University, where he studied engineering. After graduation, Doumit attended law school.
The Ishak family are active participants in the Raleigh-area’s Triangle Lebanese Association.
Scope and Contents
This collection contains photographs of an Ishak family trip to Lebanon and features various members of the family.
These materials were donated by Matthew Kannan.
Patrilineally, Matthew Kannan descends from Charles Kannan and Nora Rabil Kannan, immigrants from Lebanon who settled in Goldsboro, North Carolina. The two had seven children before Charles’ death on January 6, 1929: Addie, James, Magdaline, Kattie, Louis, and Francis. On his mother’s side of the family, Matt Kannan is descended from Shickrey Baddour, a businessman who immigrated from Hammana, Lebanon in 1893, and Victoria Alkazin. The two moved to Goldsboro, North Carolina, from Atlantic City, New Jersey, in 1915. The Kannans, Baddours, and Rabils all had their origins in or near Hammana, Lebanon. The three families remained close for decades and generations after their immigration, creating the Hammana Club together in order to preserve their shared cultural origins and support their patriotic, enterprising, and communal participation in American and North Carolinian life.
Shickrey and Victoria’s youngest son, Mitchell David Baddour, was the grandfather of Matthew Kannan. Mitchell served in the United States Navy from 1943 until March 19, 1946, when he was honorably discharged due to injuries sustained in service in the Mediterranean, Southern France, North Africa, and Sicily. Mitchell attained the rank of Quartermaster 3rd class, and received the American Campaign Medal, the Europe-Africa-Middle East Medal, and the Victory Medal of World War II. After his service, Mitchell returned to North Carolina to attend college. He married Doris Baddour in 1953, and the two had four children together: three sons Michael, Paul, and Tony, and one daughter, Mary Anne “Pixie” Baddour Kannan.
Pixie Baddour married Charles Louis Kannan, the son of Marguerite Rabil Kannan and Louis Joseph Kannan. Louis Kannan was one of the youngest sons of Charles and Nora Kannan; though born in North Carolina, he raised his family Franklin, Virginia. Charles and Pixie had two children together: Matthew and Mariam Kannan.
Scope and Contents
This collection contains studio portraits and family photographs of individuals and groups from the Baddour, Kannan, and Rabil families; material relating to Mitchell Baddour’s service in the United States Navy during World War II; and material documenting the Hammana Club in North Carolina.
Materials provided by the families of Wadea and Aelyas Kassab.
Wadea Kassab was born in Damascus in 1872 to an Orthodox family that had long and deep connections to British and American Protestant missionaries in Damascus and Beirut. His uncle, Salim Kassab, was a long-time assistant to, first, Lady Hester Stanhope and later to Elizabeth Bowen Thompson, who helped found British mission schools in Greater Syria.
Wadea left Syria in 1889 with two companions and arrived in the United States that same year. He went directly to Chattanooga, Tennessee, where a teacher of his had settled. He worked first in a stove factory, a physically taxing and low-paying job, and later became a molder in a factory making brake shoes for the railroad. After leaving the factory, he spent several years scrabbling for a living: working on a farm, peddling fancy goods, and the like. During this time, he met and became friendly with a number of Americans, including the O’Neill family of Chester, Pennsylvania. The O’Neills befriended him and altered the course of his life. With their encouragement, he graduated from dental school in Philadelphia in 1895 and set up a practice in Chester. Although the family started out as his benefactors, he ultimately became their caregivers as their positions reversed. His memoir reads as a classic Syrian rags-to-riches story, except for the fact that he lost everything when he speculated in real estate just before the Great Depression. The family lost its large house in Wallingford, PA, and was forced to live in small quarters in a building they still owned. His honesty and humility regarding these losses give the story its poignancy.
Aelyas (Elias) Kassab, Wadea’s younger brother, was born in the Kassabs’ summer residence in Bloudan, Syria in 1883. His memoir first describes the family history, especially the career of his uncle Salim Kassab. Aelyas followed Wadea to the United States in 1899. After completing high school in Chester, he too went to dental school and set up practice in Wadea’s office. Thereafter their lives ran close and parallel courses.
Both brothers married women in Syria and brought them back to the United States. In 1905, Wadea married Sara Hajjar, who had been educated at an English boarding school and was teaching at a mission school for Jewish children in Damascus prior to her marriage. In 1921, Aelyas married Soumaya Khoury of Beirut, Lebanon; by all accounts the two were deeply in love, and they died within 48 hours of one another. The Kassab brothers both raised their families in Chester, where they also practiced dentistry. Aelyas kept the practice going while Wadea gave himself to real estate; when Wadea lost everything, he was able to resume his practice seamlessly by rejoining his brother. Wadea died in February, 1972; Aelyas in October, 1987. Wadea and Aelyas Kassab are both buried in Pennsylvania.
Scope and Content
This collection contains an undated photograph of Wadea and Aelyas Kassab and scans of two typed manuscripts. One is titled “Memoirs” by Wadea Kassab; it is 210 pages and was written in 1954. The second is "Kassab Family History” by Aelyas Kassab; it is 125 pages and was composed circa 1958. Together, the manuscripts provide a detailed look into nearly a century of one family’s history in Syria and the United States, as well as a rich insight into the social fabric and workplace challenges faced by early immigrants.
Materials provided by Raja Khalifah.
Raja Khalifah was born in Lebanon. As a young man, Khalifah attended the American University of Beirut, where he excelled at tennis while simultaneously completing a BS in Chemistry. After graduating from the American University in Beirut in 1962, Khalifah came to the United States to continue his education. From 1962 to 1967, he obtained a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Princeton University; he then held a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Harvard University before moving to the Stanford Medical School to conduct research in pharmacology.
Though he had come to the United States with the intent of returning to Lebanon after completing his advanced education, Khalifah realized that returning home was becoming unlikely as conflict and strife escalated into the Lebanese Civil War. When open conflict erupted, Khalifah helped his mother come to America. Though Khalifah found great professional success in the United States, he has striven to preserve his culture and community ties through active participation in both the American University of Beirut Chapter of alumni and the Triangle Lebanese Association.
Between 1993 and 2000, Khalifah served as a Research Professor in Biology at the University of Kansas Medical Center. At the turn of the century, he shifted to the sphere of public pharmaceutical research, working for Biostratum Inc. and then NephroGenex Inc. In 2009, he started his own consulting firm, Raja G. Khalifah Consulting, where he provides scientific consulting related to scientific research, clinical trials, development, and pharmaceuticals related to diabetes. Khalifah holds numerous patents related to the pharmacological treatment of diabetes.
Scope and Contents
This collection is composed primarily of photographs. These images cover a wide variety of subjects including: Raja Khalifah’s family members and ancestors in early-twentieth century Lebanon; biomedical pharmacology and research; and the Triangle Lebanese Association.
Materials provided by Moise and Vera Khayrallah.
Dr. Moise Anton Khayrallah was born in Ghbaleh, Lebanon in August 1959. In 1981, Dr. Khayrallah graduated with a BA in Psychology from the American University of Beirut; soon after, under a USAID scholarship, he began graduate studies in the same field at the AUB. In 1983 Dr. Khayrallah married former wife Vera Tayeh in Lebanon. One week later, the couple boarded an airplane in Beirut bound for Raleigh, North Carolina. Though they had no family members or connections in North Carolina, the Khayrallahs quickly began to put down roots in Raleigh. The Khayrallahs became naturalized American citizens in 1993.
Dr. Khayrallah pursued his graduate education in North Carolina. He was accepted into UNC-Chapel Hill; he graduated with a PhD in Psychology in 1993. During this decade, Dr. Khayrallah began working at the Burroughs Wellcome Fund on pharmaceutical research and development. This became the foundation of his successful career in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. Throughout the 1990s, he advanced quickly in this field, and in 2002 he founded what was to become the first of several pharmaceutical consulting and development companies.
Dr. Khayrallah is an avid philanthropist, using his success to give back to various communities and causes in both Lebanon and the United States. These philanthropic efforts are wide-ranging and encompass both science and the arts. Moise and Vera Khayrallah remained deeply connected to their families in Lebanon and committed to preserving and celebrating their culture in the United States. They are active members of the Lebanese-American community and are leaders in North Carolina organizations like the Triangle Lebanese Association.
In 2010, Dr. Khayrallah joined with Dr. Akram Khater of North Carolina State University in a pilot project to research, preserve, and celebrate the history of Lebanese immigrants in North Carolina; this project resulted in a PBS documentary film, a museum exhibit, and a K-12 curriculum. The success of this initial program led Dr. Khayrallah to establish the Moise A. Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora studies, an endowed research center dedicated to the production, preservation, and dissemination of knowledge and memory about the Lebanese in the United States and throughout the world.
Scope and Content
This collection contains photographs of Moise Khayrallah and Vera Tayeh Khayrallah. It includes images from their youths in Lebanon, photographs of their wedding ceremony, and pictures taken following their immigration to the United States. The latter makes up the bulk of the collection and primarily span the 1980s and early 1990s.
circa 1970s-1980s and undated
Hanna Makhoul Fakhoury was born in Roum, Lebanon and—on the encouragement of a friend who had settled in Marion, South Carolina—emigrated to the United States in 1903, leaving behind his wife, Naceem, and their children Charles, Nora, Side (Sahid), Lucille, Sophia, and Bahia. As he passed through Ellis Island, the clerk anglicized “Hanna” to “John” and shortened “Makhoul” to “Mack,” completely disregarding the man’s surname of “Fakhoury.” While some of Hanna’s descendants regret the loss of their family name, with its obvious Lebanese heritage, their ancestor accepted his new moniker and pursued his new life in America as John Mack. Unable to speak any English, John arrived by mistake in Marion, North Carolina; aided by a kind station master, he was directed to F.A. Jacobs of Charlotte, North Carolina, a Lebanese American who helped Mack. John Mack purchased merchandise and began selling items door-to-door in North Carolina.
In 1905, John Mack decided to return to Lebanon to visit his family and help them move back to the United States with him. However, Naceem was unsure about moving to a new country, and John returned only with his two oldest children, Nora and Charles, in 1908. A year later seventeen-year-old Side, the second son, decided to join his father and travelled with two friends to the country. Unfortunately, John and Naceem’s hopes to reunite were never fulfilled, for Naceem passed away suddenly in 1912, after which John retrieved the rest of his children.
After an early attempt to open a store in Charlotte failed due to a fire, the family opened John Mack & Sons in Mooresville, North Carolina, on December 24, 1912. While the children of John Mack grew and took on greater responsibility in the department store, John Mack himself continued his work as a travelling salesman. With Side, Nora, and—as she grew up—the youngest child Bahia all helping to run John Mack & Son, Charles, the eldest, pursued his own business enterprises. After opening a shoe store, Charles found success in a Confectionary store, providing candies, peanut brittle, and sweet ingredients at wholesale to other companies. At first Charles ran this shop with John Ikall, who married one of the Mack daughters, Lucille; after Joe left to open a restaurant, Charles continued to successfully run the business on his own.
Side Mack married Joe’s sister, Tabitha (Tabetta) Ikall Mack. The couple had four children together: Edward, Madeline, Margaret, and Side Mitchell. Side, taught himself to speak flawless English, became a well-respected member of Mooresville. In addition to leading and supporting local Boy Scouts, Side Mack served as a volunteer fireman and a member of the Masons for over fifty years; John Mack & Son sponsored the Mooresville Recreation Department’s athletic teams, further developing Mooresville’s community spirit. Side Mack passed away at age 79 in 1971, a beloved member of Mooresville’s community.
Side and Tabitha’s children built upon their successes and carried forth their values. Of their four children, the eldest daughter and youngest son carried on the tradition of running John Mack & Son. Madeline, the eldest daughter, was a talented artist and designer who left her education at Maryland’s Institute of Art and Design to help her family during the Great Depression; after the outbreak of World War II called her brothers to serve in the military, Madeline assumed a prominent managerial role in the business, helping her father to sustain it throughout the depression and World War II. Mitchell, the youngest son, attended college after his military service; though he had planned to pursue a graduate degree at Harvard Business School, he decided to return to Mooresville and start a family with his spouse Delores Corey Mack, after his brother, Edward, chose to pursue a career elsewhere. Mitchell, himself a lifelong Scout and recipient of the Silver Beaver Award in 1962, ran the store’s scouting department and the menswear, while Madeline managed womenswear, advertising, and merchandising. The store remained open and thriving until 1993, when the siblings decided to close the business in order to retire. Madeline passed away on March 31, 2006.
Scope and Content
This collection contains photographs, articles, photographs of family artifacts, and interviews related to the history of John Mack & Sons as well as the Mack family, particularly Side Mack and his children.
Materials provided by Eddie, Ernie and Virginia Mansour.
This collection contains images and documents pertaining especially to the branch of the Rabil family descended from Butrous Dahar Rabil and Susie Safy Rabil as well as material documenting the Mansour and Hedeen families of South and North Carolina. B.D. Rabil was the son of Robert Dahar and Marcia Rabil. He was born on April 1, 1883 in Hamana, Lebanon and immigrated to the United States sometime in the early twentieth century. B.D. had three brothers: Frank Assad, Ameal Peter, and Michael Rabil. The four brothers settled in North Carolina together. Ameal and Michael settled in Weldon, North Carolina, where they married the orphan daughters of a distant branch of the Rabil family, Roslyn and Madeline Rabil, children of Lebanese immigrants Joseph and Bertha Rabil. Ameal and Michael went several different business ventures together, including the Rabil Brothers Department Store, located at 209 East Fourth Street, Weldon, North Carolina. In addition to operating the department store until Michael’s death in 1981, Michael co-owned five rental houses in Weldon with T. Allen Buck (1902-1991) and also invested in B.D’s property enterprises in Rocky Mount. The Weldon Rabil brothers were frequent contributors to charities and pillars of the community. Frank Assad Rabil, the eldest, married Mary Hawa; while he moved throughout North Carolina, he seems to have settled in Weldon, near his brothers, between 1920 and 1930.
Unlike his brothers, B.D. settled in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, where he attained great success in real estate and property management. In 1907, B.D. married Beula Davis, a native-born American of non-Lebanese descent. The two had five children together: Albert, Lester Frances, Thelma, Veronica, and Margaret. They separated and divorced between 1920 and 1925. In 1926, B.D. remarried, this time to a fellow Lebanese American, Susie Safy, whose husband, George Joseph Safy, had died in 1924. Susie had five children at the time of her marriage to B.D.: Sophie Mae Safy Rabil (1909-1987), Alice Eugene Safy Lewis (1914-1977), Sue Olga Safy (1916-1937), George Joseph Safy (1921-1944), George Victor Safy (1924-1977).
B.D.’s children with Beula appear to have lived with their mother and their stepfather Anthony C. Striman, who married Beulah in 1930, throughout their childhood and young adulthood. The Safy children appear to have spent time in the Epworth Orphanage in Columbia, South Carolina, where they are listed in the 1930 census; why the children were living here and the duration of their stay are unknown. The children rejoined their mother and stepfather in North Carolina by the late 1930s: Olga was living in Rocky Mount and working as a sales lady at the time of her death from complications from acute appendicitis on January 14, 1937.Both Victor and Joseph served in World War II. Joseph was killed in action when his plane was shot down over Germany on September 9, 1944. He is buried in the Lorraine American Cemetery in France. The surviving children of Susie’s first marriage married and started families of their own after World War II. Sophie Mae Safy married Albert Rabil, B.D.’s son from his first marriage to Beula Davis Striman. Together the two had two children: Albert Rabil, Jr., and Carolyn Joan Rabil. Alice Eugene Safy attended Winthrop College in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and became a teacher at Lincoln School in Kingsport, Tennessee. In 1946, she married Frank Milton Lewis. Victor Safy married Agnes Harper Ellen in 1951.
Susie Safy and B.D. Rabil went on to have two additional children together, Virginia Dell Rabil Mansour (1927-) and Betrus Dahar Rabil, Jr (1929-2004). B.D. Rabil, Sr., passed away in 1964. Susie Safy Rabil lived for an additional five years, passing away in 1969.
Virginia Dell Rabil was born in 1927. She attended the University of North Carolina Women’s College in Greensboro, North Carolina (later made co-ed as University of North Carolina-Greensboro), where she was a member of the Gamma Alpha Sorority. Virginia married a fellow Lebanese American, Ernest Norman Mansour (1918-1983). Ernest Norman Mansour was the child of Michael Norman Mansour and his wife Nellie Heeden Mansour. Virginia and Ernest both grew up in the community of North Carolina Lebanese Americans who had immigrated from Hamana, Lebanon, and maintained close ties amongst the families based on their common hometown. Like Virginia, Ernest was the child of financially successful immigrants. Michael Mansour settled in Goldsboro, North Carolina, where he opened and operated Mansour’s Department Store (later renamed to Hub Department Store). By 1928, Mansour was such a prominent businessman that future president Franklin Delano Roosevelt reached out to him by mail requesting that he support New York Governor Alfred Emanuel Smith in his bid for presidency against Herbert Hoover. His wife, Nell Hedeen, was the daughter of Lebanese immigrants Cater and Herley Heeden, who originally lived and owned a business in Rock Hill, South Carolina, before moving to North Carolina. The exact date of the Hedeen’s move to North Carolina is unknown, but it may have been spurred by a fire, in 1914, which damaged C. Heedeen & Co., Cater’s dry goods store in Rock Hill. Nell’s father, Cater or Cotar, owned a business store at 111 E. Walnut Street in Goldsboro, North Carolina; her brother, Ernest Heeden, served in World War I and assisted his father in the business; he married fellow second-generation Lebanese American, Alice Saleeby. Younger son William Hedeen was a writer, with occasional contributions to the Goldsboro Daily Argus in the 1920s; he later married Essie Joseph Heeden.
Michael Norman Mansour and Nell Heedeen remained in Goldsboro, where they raised two sons: Nernest Norman Mansour and Edward Francis Mansour. Edward married Juanita Mathis; the two had two children together: Michael Fredrick Mansour and Juanita Mansour. Virginia and Ernest also had two children, boys named Ernest Norman Mansour, Jr., and Edward Francis Mansour II.
B.D., Jr. was born on July 4, 1929, to Susie and B.D. Rabil, in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. He attended the Rocky Mount City schools and the Edwards Military Institute in Salemburg, North Carolina. He served in World War II, and was stationed in Germany with the Peace Keeping forces after the war. Upon his return to Rocky Mount, he entered the profession of real estate. B.D. was an avid fan of sports, and he was inducted into the Rocky Mount Bowling Association Hall of Fame in 1988. He married Elsie Asad Rabil in 1962; together, the couple had three children: Richard J. Rabil, Robert Joseph Rabil, Sr., and Cynthia Rabil Williams. B.D. Rabil, Jr., passed away in 2004.
As a result of the complexity of this large blended family--which, with B.D. Rabil, Sr.’s children from his earlier marriage, totalled eleven children who survived to adulthood--led the heirs of Susie Safy to enter into a legal dispute over the execution of her will. Specifically, Sophie Mae Safy Rabil and Albert Rabil, Sr., brought suit against Virginia Dell Rabil Mansour and B.D. Rabil, Jr., over which of two wills should be given priority: a joint will created by B.D. Rabil, Sr., and Susie Safy Rabil, or a subsequent will made by Susie Safy Rabil following the death of her second husband. The case was settled in 1970 by the North Carolina Supreme Court, which upheld the bequeathal of B.D. Rabil, Sr.’s real estate and personal property to his two youngest children, Virginia Mansour and B.D. Rabil, Jr.
Scope and Content
This collection contains materials related to the Rabil family as well as the Mansour family, both major Lebanese American families in North Carolina.
1926-1974 and undated
Images donate by Trey Matthews. Contains images from the Safy and Rabil families.
This collection contains images and documents pertaining especially to the branch of the Rabil/Safy family descended from George Joseph Safy and Susie Safy, who later married Butrous Dahar Rabil. George Joseph Safy immigrated to America in 1894, at age 26; he lived in New York City for nine years, and was naturalized in 1903. In 1907, he and returned to Lebanon, presumably to either marry or to accompany his preexisting spouse to America. His returned with wife Susie (Soosan) Safy and her husband George Joseph Safy immigrated together to the United States; they arrived in New York on August 21, 1907, on the ship the S.S. Majestic.
By 1910, the couple settled in Mullins, Marion County, South Carolina. Joseph was successful in business in Mullins, and became highly respected in the city due to his membership in Macedonian Methodist church and the local Masonic Lodge. In the 1920s, George and Susie moved north to Weldon, North Carolina; however, after his death, Joseph was buried in Mullins at his request.
Together, the couple had 5 children: Sophie Mae Safy Rabil (1909-1987), Alice Eugene Safy Lewis (1914-1977), Sue Olga Safy (1916-1937), George Joseph Safy (1921-1944), George Victor Safy (1924-1977). Four additional children died in infancy: Alice (1910-1911) Joseph (1912-1912), Kafa (1917-1917), and Eveline (1918-1918).
Joseph Safy suffered a heart attack and passed away on July, 18, 1924. Susie remarried in 1926 to Betrus Dahar (B.D.) Rabil. The Safy children appear to have spent time in the Epworth Orphanage in Columbia, South Carolina, where they are listed in the 1930 census; why the children were living here and the duration of their stay are unknown. The children rejoined their mother and stepfather in North Carolina by the late 1930s: Olga was living in Rocky Mount and working as a sales lady at the time of her death from complications from acute appendicitis on January 14, 1937.
Both Victor and Joseph served in World War II. Joseph was killed in action when his plane was shot down over Germany on September 9, 1944. He is buried in the Lorraine American Cemetery in France.
The surviving children of Susie’s first marriage married and started families of their own after World War II. Sophie Mae Safy married Albert Rabil, B.D.’s son from his first marriage to Beula Davis Striman. Together the two had two children: Albert Rabil, Jr., and Carolyn Joan Rabil. Alice Eugene Safy attended Winthrop College in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and became a teacher at Lincoln School in Kingsport, Tennessee. In 1946, she married Frank Milton Lewis. Victor Safy married Agnes Harper Ellen in 1951.
Susie Safy and B.D. Rabil went on to have two additional children together, Virginia Dell Rabil Mansour (1927-) and Betrus Dahar Rabil, Jr (1929-2004). B.D. Rabil, Sr., passed away in 1964. Susie Safy Rabil lived for an additional five years, passing away in 1969. As a result of the complexity of this large blended family--which, with B.D. Rabil, Sr.’s children from his earlier marriage, totalled eleven children who survived to adulthood--led the heirs of Susie Safy to enter into a legal dispute over the execution of her will. Specifically, Sophie Mae Safy Rabil and Albert Rabil, Sr., brought suit against Virginia Dell Rabil Mansour and B.D. Rabil, Jr., over which of two wills should be given priority: a joint will created by B.D. Rabil, Sr., and Susie Safy Rabil, or a subsequent will made by Susie Safy Rabil following the death of her second husband. The case was settled in 1970 by the North Carolina Supreme Court, which upheld the bequeathal of B.D. Rabil, Sr.’s real estate and personal property to his two youngest children, Virginia Mansour and B.D. Rabil, Jr.
Scope and content
This collection contains documents and photographs pertaining to the lives of the Rabil and Safy families between 1894 and 1951. Researchers should also consult the Rabil and Mansour collections.
Materials provided by Narges Moussa for Moussa family and Abdulbaki family, 1967-2011 and undated.
Noha Nasrallah was born in Lebanon on November 22, 1956. She was educated at Lebanese University in Beirut, Lebanon, where she studied sciences and mathematics. In 1981, she was engaged to Chuck [Chaoukat] Nadir Nasrallah, also from Lebanon; the two married in 1983. In the 1980s the two immigrated to the United States and settled in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Noha is a math teacher at the Southern Wake Academy. Noha and Chuck have four children: Lana, Layal, Nader, and Sammy.
The Nasrallah family is active in the Triangle Lebanese Association (TLA), preserving and promoting their Lebanese heritage throughout North Carolina. Noha has served as a board member of the TLA, and has organized many events throughout the years including the annual Lebanese-American Festival in Raleigh, NC.
Scope and Content
This collection contains several photographs of the Nasrallah family taken in Lebanon and the United States.
Materials provided by George and Patricia Raad, 1984-2009 and undated.
This collection contains materials contributed by George and Patricia Shaia Raad. Both George and Patricia are of Lebanese descent. Patricia’s grandparents immigrated from Lebanon; her father was born in New York and her mother was born and raised in Gaffney, South Carolina. Her father, William Harry Shaia, was a physician; her mother, Beth Shaia, was a homemaker and community leader who began the Catholic Social Services in Charlotte in order to bring women together to assist in community aid. George’s mother was also the children of Lebanese immigrants; however, his father was an immigrant who came to the United States as a young man of fourteen. George’s paternal grandfather planned to move his whole family from Lebanon to the United States; however, he only managed to bring his two eldest sons before the Great Depression destroyed his finances and shattered his plans: the family never reunited, and George’s paternal grandparents died on different continents, never having managed to raise enough funds to bring the family together again.
George and Patricia met at a hafli, and were drawn together by the shared cultural and religious values that they had learned from their Lebanese parents and grandparents. In particular, both were raised with a deep respect for their elders, an appreciation of the opportunities afforded by America, and a reverence for education. Though his own father had never received more than a high school education, George became a physician; his siblings became a lawyer, a dentist, and an educator. Patricia, whose parents valued education equally for both their sons and daughters, fulfilled her childhood dream of becoming a teacher, and she obtained a Masters in Education. Together, Patricia and George Raad have three children: George Jr., Anthony, and Alice.
1984-2009 and Undated
This collection contains oral histories and recollections created by members of the North Carolina branch of the Saleeby/Saliba Family.
Members of the Saleeby/Saliba family have maintained strong ties to one another throughout the generations, for a century, even as they spread geographically throughout the United States and the world. In addition to the strong family values which they have preserved throughout generations, this cohesion was aided by the 1916 creation of the Saleeby-Saliba Relief Association. The Saleeby-Saliba Relief Association served to unify and support disparate members of the family, and it often served to sponsor members who immigrated from Syria/Lebanon, aiding them in their transitions to new countries. While branches of the family spread across the world, the most common destinations were to North and South America, England, Africa, and Australia.
The oral histories and interviews presented in this collection represent inter-generational experiences of members of the Saleeby family in North Carolina. All of the pieces are descended, by blood or marriage, from the same Saleeby ancestor who lived in Souk-el-Gharb in modern-day Lebanon.
Over the years, the mission of the Saleeby-Saliba Association of Families has grown and changed. Since the turn of the twenty-first century, the Association has been increasingly interested in promoting unity through the preservation of family history and culture, particularly through the practice of genealogy. Members of the extended Saleeby/Saliba family have contributed several publications documenting the family’s history within the diaspora: A Brief History of the Saleeby/Saliba Clan and Their Branches: N.D. Saleeby, Souk El-Gharb, Lebanon, 1950 andits major update, helmed by Callie R. Saleeby Stanley, the 2008 Worldwide Saleeby-Saliba Family from Ancient to Modern Times. Researchers are encouraged to seek out the latter source by contacting the family or by visiting the Moise A. Khayrallah Center.
Scope and Contents
This collection contains an interview with Callie R. Saleeby Stanley, author of the 2008 genealogy Saleeby-Saliba Worldwide Family From Modern to Ancient Times as well as two long-form recollections written by the children of Nellie Arab and Nasry Rasheed "Charlie" Saleeby.
Materials provided by Samir Saleh, 1940s-2007 and undated.
Samir Saleh’s maternal great-grandparents had spent time in Pennsylvania, and both his grandfather Majed and great-aunt, Margaret Domit (called Aunt Peggy), were born in the United States. However, Majed Moussa Domit returned to Lebanon at some point, where he married Jamili Yousef (Khoury) Jreige. The two had two children, Moussa and Cecilia, who born and raised in Mazraat al-Tuffah. Mazraat al-Tuffah was known for its agriculture—in particular, its apples, pears, and grapes, and as a young child Cecilia expressed a talent for baking with the area’s native fruits.
While Moussa immigrated early to the United States to pursue his education in 1953, Cecilia stayed and married Fahd Saleh, a carpenter who had also grown up in Mazraat el-Tuffah. The two had six children together: sons Samir (Sam), Mounir, Youssef (Joe), DeGaulle and daughters Lamia Saleh Ishak and Maha Saleh Sfeir.
As they reached young adulthood, Sam and his siblings planned to migrate one-by-one as they reached college age. Sam, the eldest son, began to follow this plan, moving to North Carolina to attend college in the early 1970s; he was joined by his father. However, the escalation of violence which climaxed in the Lebanese Civil War changed their plans, and the family decided to leave Lebanon together rather than individually. With assistance from Moussa Domit—who was living in Raleigh, North Carolina and serving as director of the North Carolina Museum of Art—Cecilia and four of their five remaining children (the eldest daughter remained in Lebanon) immigrated to North Carolina in 1974.
In 1977, with a financial investment of $20,000 from Moussa, the Saleh family opened a wholesale bakery located in Morrisville, North Carolina. Mounir and DeGaulle graduated from Campbell University and North Carolina State University, respectively. While Joe and Sam had intended to continue their higher education, the unexpected success of the bakery demanded their full time. In 1987, the brothers expanded their business to include a deli, using family recipes developed by their mother Cecilia. In 2000, the business expanded once again, as they opened a second location and relocated their wholesale facility and corporate offices to a 20,000-square-foot complex in Morrisville. Outside the location, Fahd Saleh planted a half-acre garden to provide herbs and vegetables for the restaurant, which he attended until his death in September of 2007.
Scope and Content
This collection contains photographs and newspaper articles on the Saleh family, primarily surrounding the establishment and growth of their family business, Neomonde.
Materials provided by Joseph and his son Ron Salem, 1910s-2007 and undated.
This collection contains materials related to the life of Joseph R. Salem. Joe was born in Hamana, Lebanon on May 5, 1909 to Freda George and Shikery Salem. Freda and Shikery had four children together: Renee (also called Rena), Bertha, Joseph, and Abdon (later called Albert). In June of 1912, when Joe was about two and a half years old, Shikery initiated the family’s immigration to America. The Salem family planned to be permanent immigrants from the start: soon after his arrival in New York City, on June 29, 1912, Shikery filed an immediate petition for naturalization. Soon after, Shikery joined members of Freda’s family, who had already immigrated to New Bern, North Carolina. He went to work as a peddler in rural North Carolina, selling goods primarily by foot. Through this hard work, Shikery hoped to save money enough money to quickly bring his wife and children to America to join him.
The family’s plans to reunite in America were derailed by the onset of World War One, which interrupted communications between the United States and the blockaded Ottoman Empire. Freda and her three small children were increasingly isolated: though Shikery’s parents were still in Lebanon, the older generation of the Salem family were supporters of the French. Shikery’s father, Mackoul Salem, was executed by the Turkish during the war, and his mother, Lucy Joseph Salem, died from unknown causes--perhaps sickness or starvation. Freda and her children were forced to work in fields by the German and Turkish allies, and the famine that struck the country led Joseph and his siblings to beg for food in order to survive.
Though Shikery and Freda had no way of communicating to one another that they were still alive for the duration of the war, Shikery took action to reunite his family. In 1917, he enlisted in the United States Army. He was the first Lebanese American from Eastern North Carolina to do so, and according to a 1917 issue of the Morning New Bernian, he gave up a thriving business in order to serve his adoptive country. Shikery served in Battery A of the 113 Field Artillery, where he fought throughout French battlefields, including the Argonne Forest. He was awarded honors for bravery for saving the lives of two superior officers. In 1918, having proven his commitment through military service, Shikery re-applied for naturalization and was given citizenship.
Service in the military provided Shikery with an opportunity to reunite with his family: he even hoped to travel straight to Hamana from France after the war. Though Shikery was returned with his unit to North America, Shikery was assisted by friends he had made in the army, including Robert Haines. With support from his fellow soldiers, Shikery was able to locate his family and bring them to New Bern, North Carolina, in 1920. Freda Salem settled into America as a homemaker while Shikery returned to business. A partnership with Frederick Habeeb allowed the two Lebanese Americans to purchase the New Bern Bargain House. This grew into a series of other business ventures including: in 1926, the Craven Fruit Store; and, in the 1930s, a gas station, convenience store, and taxi service. Though originally Maronite Christians, the family attended the Roman Catholic St. Paul’s church in New Bern.
The two older Salem children, Renee and Bertha, struggled with learning a new language, and soon left school. Renee married David Halen of New Jersey; in the 1930s, Renee and her family assisted Shikery in running his businesses; later, she moved to New Jersey, where she lived until her death. Bertha married Charles K. Fadel, a Lebanese American from Charlotte. The two lived in several cities across North Carolina, eventually settling in Fayetteville, where they opened and operated the Palace Grill. The two had three children together: Frieda, Albert, and Shikery.
Joe and Albert, both much younger, soon began to excel in school. Joseph, in particular, had an innate gift for language: already bilingual in both Arabic and French, he quickly learned English, augmenting his formal lessons by exchanging English lessons with a classmate in return for teaching Arabic. Joseph soon began to excel in school, and by high school he was a top student, not only in his school in New Bern, but also in North Carolina. He graduated as valedictorian in 1929; Albert graduated in 1932.
Joseph attended the North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering (now North Carolina State University) and studied electrical engineering. In 1942, Joseph married Amelia Wehbie, daughter of Mickel Mettrey and Mary Saliba Wehbie. That same year, he followed in his father’s footsteps of service and joined the United States Army, where he served as a cryptanalytic officer, using his language skills for translation and code breaking. Amelia also served as a member of the Red Cross. Joseph remained in the Army Reserves until 1963, when he was transferred to the Retired Reserves, having achieved the rank of Major. Joseph remained in the army until After World War II, Joseph and Amelia had four children together: Jay, Michael, Donna, and Ronald.
Albert, the youngest son of Freda and Shikery, married Vivian Zaytoun, daughter of Ellis and Isabel Zaytoun, on July 14, 1937. Like his older brother, Albert served in the military, working as a Radio Operator for the United States Navy and earning seven Battle Stars. After his service, Albert and Vivian had two children: Albert, Jr. and Mary Isabel. The couple lived in North Carolina for most of their lives, eventually retiring to Tampa, Florida.
Scope and Content
This collection contains photographs, certificates, and newspaper articles documenting the life of Joseph Salem and his family in North Carolina.
Materials provided by Michael Shadroui, 1920s-1950s and undated.
Materials provided by Philip Shehdan, 1925-1993 and undated.
Beshara Shehdan Hatem was born in Hamana, Lebanon. He and his brother, Chicory (Chick) immigrated to the United States as teenagers, just before World War I. They first traveled the Lawrence, Massachusetts, where some of their relatives had already settled. In order to distinguish himself from the large number of Hatems already living in Lawrence, Beshara dropped his last name and began going by his first and middle name, Beshara Shehdan; while he never legally changed his name, this new surname was passed down to his children and grandchildren. From Massachusetts, Beshara and his brother moved south to North Carolina.
After moving to North Carolina, Beshara married a young, American-born woman named Susia Smithie Barnhill in Bath, North Carolina. Beshara went into the dry-goods business with his brother, Shikery, “Chick,” in Greenville, NC. In the mid-1920s, he moved his family to Henderson, NC, where he first entered the restaurant business. He and Susie had five children together: two sons, Joseph and Linwood; and three daughters, Hazel, Helen, and Martha. Susia died in November of 1920, perhaps from complications in childbirth. For five years, Beshara and his brother Chick worked together to raise Beshara’s five young children while continuing to build their restaurant and dry-goods businesses in Henderson, North Carolina.
In the mid-1920s, Beshara was introduced to Serina Hakeem through a mutual friend, Mrs. Victoria Baddour of Greensboro, North Carolina. Like Beshara, Serina was born in Hamana, Lebanon; however, the two had never met in their hometown. Immediately after World War One, Serina’s father and two older brothers immigrated to the United States, settling in Princeton, North Carolina, and working as traveling salesmen. Serina, whose mother had passed away, stayed behind in Lebanon, attending school at a French convent, or boarding school. In order to pay for her education, Serina taught both French and English at the school in order to cover the fees for her board and education. After graduation, she joined her family in North Carolina, and became close friends with Victoria Baddour, who introduced Beshara and Serina. On November 19, 1924, Beshara and Serina married in St. Mary’s Church in Goldsboro, North Carolina. The two had five more children together: two sons, Philip and Frederick; and three daughters, Victoria, Theresa, and Evelyn.
In 1929, the growing Shehdan family moved to Raleigh, where Beshara established himself with a corner grocery store, which, with the help of Serina, he expanded into the restaurant business. The couple first owned a snack bar on south McDowell Street in Raleigh. After building their success with these businesses, the Shehdans went into business with Edgar Kannan. The two purchased the Monticello Cafe on Fayetteville Street. Edgar left to open the Whispering Pines--one of the first drive-in restaurants in Raleigh--while Beshara operated the cafe until illness forced him to retire in 1948, when he was sixty years old. Philip Shehdan declined to carry on the restaurant, and the cafe was sold approximately in 1950. He lived until 1975.
Though they moved to Raleigh, the Shehdans maintained close ties with other Lebanese Americans throughout North Carolina, remaining particularly close with other emigres from Hamana, Lebanon. The five younger Shehdan children grew up referring to Victoria Baddour as “Aunt Vicky,” and Louise Farfour--who later married Philip Baddour, the eldest of Victoria’s children--served as a flower girl in the wedding between Serina and Beshara. The families saw each other frequently during gatherings of the Hamana Club, and the children of the Shehdans, Baddours, Farfours, and Kannans grew up with close ties to one another and to their parents’ culture.
Philip Shehdan graduated from high school in 1945; as soon as he turned eighteen, he joined the coast guard, where he gained hands-on experience with mechanics. After discharge, he first studied mechanical engineering at North Carolina State University, and then obtained a certificate in diesel mechanics. Drawn to work with his hands, he worked first as a mechanic and then went to a hairdressing school. Through the course of a long career, he opened five hairdressing shops called Philip’s Hairstyling. In 1991, at age 65, he retired, but then went to work for the State of North Carolina in the division of services for the blind.
While many of the second generation of Lebanese Americans whom Philip grew up with married individuals not of Lebanese descent, Philip married Alberta “Bertie” Baddour, a third-generation Lebanese American. She was born and raised in Lawrence, Massachusetts, which had a large population of Lebanese Americans, to parents Alice Hashem and Albert Baddour. Philip and Bertie met in 1958, at the wedding of one of Bertie’s cousins, who was marrying Philip’s closest friend, Art Samia. They married in July of 1959, and had two children together: Philip Shehdan, Jr., and David Shehdan.
Scope and Content
This collection contains photographs documenting the lives of Beshara and Serina Baddour and their children.
Materials provided by Dahr Tanoury, 1944-2008 and undated.
Lorraine Thomas interview with Mandy Benter, 2014
The Willett family is descended from John Rasheed (Richard) Saleeby (February 15, 1896-June 16, 1969), who was one of the seven children of Labibee Courie and Rasheed Saleeby. In the early twentieth century, the Saleeby family already had three cousins—Elias, Mitchell, and Thomas Saleeby—who had moved to and settled in Wilmington, North Carolina. Inspired by their relatives, and interested in saving their many sons from being drafted into the Ottoman Empire army, Labibee and Rasheed began making plans to gradually move their family to America over a period of years. First the eldest son, Gibran (G.R.) came to North Carolina, planning to establish a family business before his parents and younger siblings joined him. However, the family’s immigration plans were hastened by the death of their father, Rashid Saleeby, in 1912; his passing pushed the family to leave their home town of Souk el Gharb, Syria (in modern-day Lebanon) earlier than planned. In December, 1912, Nasry Rasheed “Charlie” Saleeby arrived in America with his mother, Labeebee Khoury Saleeby, and younger siblings: Michael, John, Elijah, George, and Mary. G.R. remained in the Goldsboro, where he had married and established a family. In contrast, the Saleeby siblings purchased a house in Wilson, NC, at 508 S. Park Avenue, and started a candy shop and soda fountain, which was located on Nash Street in Wilson, North Carolina.
Unlike many other immigrants, this branch of the Saleeby family was advantaged upon their arrival due to the fact that they had studied fundamental English at the Presbyterian Church School in their hometown of Souk el Gharb as children. The family’s initial candy business was successful; however, a disagreement over the lease led Charlie to close the shop. At this point, the brothers decided to enter into the wholesale business together, and even the established eldest brother G.R. joined in and relocated his family to Wilson. The wholesale business was called G.R. Saleeby and Bros. John worked at this family business for years until starting a wholesale business of his own, located on Barnes Street. John specialized in shipping, with particular emphasis on bananas; he came to own a small fleet of three large trucks.
In 1925, John returned to Lebanon, where he met and married Helen Massaad. Helen left her mother and her brother, Elias, to immigrate with her new husband to Wilson, North Carolina. They lived in the family home on Park Avenue for several years until moving to a house of their own on Bruton Street, where most of their eight children were born; in 1944, they relocated to West Nash Street, where their youngest child, Shirley, was born. Family members remember Helen fondly as an excellent cook and a lifelong lover of music who sang in the church choir for 59 years. Their houses were gathering places for the other children of Labibee and Rasheed and their own growing families; as well as other members of the extended Saleeby/Salibi family.
John and Helen had eight children together: Frederick John; George John; Wade Samir; Laurence; Mitchell; Ralph; Claudette; and Shirley. During World War II, their four eldest sons served in the United States Armed Services. Frederick John Saleeby (1926-2013) served in the Pacific during World War II, where he witnessed the official Japanese surrender; he was a first lieutenant during the Korean War, and retired from the Army Reserve as a captain. Wade Samir Saleeby, Sr. (1929-2003), served in the Army from 1946 to 1952, when he was honorably discharged. He served in the Honor Guard for General Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Frederick married Eileen Patricia "Pat" McKenna in 1951; the two had five children together. Wade married Kathleen Berry Saleeby in 1956; the two had seven children together. Their youngest daughter Shirley Libbie Saleeby married Michael Richard Willett on August 7, 1971. The couple had two children, Nathan and Evan.
Scope and Contents
This collection contains photographs and images documenting the lives of the descendants of Labibee and Rasheed Saleeby after their early-twentieth century immigration to North Carolina.
This collection contains material documenting several generations of the Zaytoun family’s personal and entrepreneurial history in New Bern, North Carolina.
Ellis Zaytoun was born in Hammana, Lebanon on May 30, 1890. He immigrated to the United States in 1906, at the age of 16, along with two of his brothers. Five years after his immigration, in 1911, Ellis submitted an application for naturalization; he was naturalized in 1916. During this time, Ellis established himself as an integral member of New Bern’s immigrant and native communities: in 1913, he volunteered in the local fire department; and in 1916, he served as a member of the Syrian Brotherhood Society of New Bern, an early humanitarian group dedicated to providing aid to Lebanese, Syrians, and Armenians.
In 1914, Ellis married Isabel DeKash, a fellow Lebanese immigrant who had also originated from Hamana, Lebanon. Isabel and Ellis had six children who survived to adulthood: Evelyn Gladys Zaytoun Farris (1915-2012), Vivian Grace Zaytoun Salem (1917-1995), Constance Teresa Zaytoun Lamar (1919-1971), Joseph Ellis Zaytoun (1920-), Agnes Zaytoun Murman (1923-1935), and Henry Zaytoun.
By 1910, the brothers had moved to New Bern, North Carolina. Ellis began work as a peddler and dry goods clerk, but soon shifted into diversified business ventures. In 1917, Ellis expanded his fruit stand into a permanent grocery. In 1930, he owned a restaurant; and by 1950 he had opened the Zaytoun News Agency. In 1940, Ellis was employed at John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company, and in 1957 he founded Zaytoun and Associates with his eldest son, Joseph.
All of Ellis and Isabel’s children assisted in the family businesses throughout their childhood and adolescence, and when they reached adulthood they carried on the family business ventures in various ways. Joseph studied economics at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1942, and began his service after his graduation in 1943. Joseph, who had worked for the UNC-CH student newspaper, the Daily Tarheel, helped his mother and sisters run the Zaytoun News Agency. Later he served as president of the family insurance company. From there, he co-founded the Capital National Bank in 1973, which was merged with BB&T to become one of the largest banks in the Carolinas.
The youngest son, Henry Zaytoun, also became a successful businessman. Henry studied at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and continued at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry. After a stint serving in the United States Navy, Zaytoun began practicing dentistry in Rocky Mount. In 1958, he pursued a Master of Science in Orthodontics from the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Dentistry; soon after, he and his family moved to Raleigh, where he established Zaytoun Orthodontics in 1959. Zaytoun Orthodontics was very much a family business: Henry’s wife Martha served as business manager, a job she was succeeded in by two of her daughters; two more children, Mary Paula Zaytoun Steele and Henry Zaytoun, Jr., followed their father into orthodontics.
In 1946, Joseph married Thelma Knuckley, the daughter of Lebanese immigrants from South Carolina. Thelma was committed to advocacy and community betterment: she volunteered at Rex Healthcare for decades, and was a tireless advocate for child health. Between 1977 and 1985, she was a member of the Governor's Advocacy Committee on Children and Youth; following this, she was a member of the N.C. Child Advocacy Institute. In the 1990s, Governor Jim Hunt appointed her to the North Carolina Commission on Volunteerism and Community service in the 1990s. In recognition of her commitment to volunteerism, Joseph Zaytoun established the Thelma Knuckley Zaytoun Scholarship for nursing education as a gift for their 45th wedding anniversary.
Together the two had four children: Stephen Zaytoun, Mary Zaytoun Benton, Robert Zaytoun, and Albert Zaytoun. Stephen Zaytoun joined the family business, extending Ellis Zaytoun’s insurance business into a third generation. Joseph also carried on his parents' commitment to community service. He served a four-year term on the North Carolina State Board of Elections beginning in 1961, under Governor Sanford. Later, Joseph served on the Cary Chamber of Commerce and the Cary Cultural Arts Commission. Joseph was also a leader in preserving North Carolina’s history: he was an instrumental part of the Tryon Palace Commission, which preserved and established Tryon Palace in New Bern from 1977 to 1985, and the Wake County Historic Preservation Commission. All of the Zaytoun children remained active in the Catholic church, and in 1999 Joseph was awarded the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Award from Pope John Paul II.
Scope and Content
The collection consists of photographs, letters, documents, and articles relating to three generations of the Zaytoun family.
These collections contain materials that predominantly come from a single community, organization, or collective and tend to have a provenance from collaborations (projects & events) between the Khayrallah Center and other groups. They may include photographs, documents, local publications, and other materials that reflect the history and contemporary Syrio-Lebanese in various communities. Unless otherwise noted, the KCLDS Archive does not hold reproduction rights for the materials in this collection.
This collection contains materials housed at the Lawrence Public Library Special Collections. They were digitized and provided to the Khayrallah Center by archivist Louise Sandberg in fall 2017 as part of an ongoing research project into the substantial Syrian/Lebanese population that lived in Lawrence, Massachusetts.
This collection contains materials collected at the Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation in Vicksburg, Mississippi by Senior Researcher Marjorie Wilson in February 2017. The SCHF is a nonprofit heritage organization which preserves the diverse history and culture of the Vicksburg. Housed in the former St. Francis Xavier Convent and Academy, it hosts community gatherings and cultural events.
In winter of 2017, the SCHF partnered with the Moise A. Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies and the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi to highlight the history of Lebanese immigration to the Mississippi and the multigenerational contributions that individuals of Lebanese and Syrian descent have made to the region. The partners offered a Community Oral History Workshop and the SCHF hosted The Lebanese in America, a traveling museum exhibit developed by the Khayrallah Center. This collection contains scans of photographs created by staff at the Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation. These images were contributed to the event by the Farris family, the Nassour family, and the Thomas family.
These collections contain fully digitized copies of books pertaining to the Lebanese diaspora. Some books are collected in full, while others are excerpted. Reflecting the multifaceted nature of the Lebanese diaspora, books may be in English, Arabic, or other languages. These books were either public domain works fully digitized by the Khayrallah Center staff or digitized with permission from the authors or owners. KCLDS researchers have also collected dissertations and articles which may be viewed by visitors to the center, and holds a growing library of physical books related to the Lebanese diaspora.
Researchers interested in accessing more print material should search Family Collections, which contain additional digitized volumes and print material. Additionally, items in the Newspapers and Journals Collections may contain excerpts from or serialized versions of books.
If you have research questions or have a volume which you would like to share, please contact us.
Digital copies of Lebanese business directories which list merchants in North and South America. While some are public (and contained in other collections), others are restricted.
Scope and Contents
Dr. Nagib Tannous Abdou was born in Beskounta, located in modern-day Lebanon, on February 10, 1876. Around 1892, he left the Levant for South America. Initially educated in French institutions in Beirut, he sought a medical degree after immigration, receiving his M.D. Laval University in Montreal, Canada in 1900; at some point soon after he moved to the United States and began working as a physician. He held various civil positions: in his 1908 volume Dr. Abdou's Travels in America and Commercial Directory of the Arabic Speaking People of the World, he mentions having worked as a United States Medical Officer. In 1904 he worked for Immigration Service in New Orleans. The United States Register of Civil, Military, and Naval Service lists him as working as an interpreter for Immigraiton Service in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, in 1905. In the late 1910s, Abdou worked for the State of New York’s Department of Health Officer of the Port of New York as an assistant medical officer, a position which he resigned from on January 15, 1919. In addition to his writing and civil positions, Abdou worked as a private physician on Greenwich Street, near Manhattan’s Syrian Colony.
Much of Abdou’s family remained in their native town of Beskounta. The Abdou siblings appear to have been well-educated and successful in Lebanon: his brothers Joseph and Habib worked in machine manufacturing in Beskoutna while their sister Asma was manager and head of a Greek Catholic School in Khunshara. Despite settling permanently in the United States, Abdou remained connected to his family—the travels which provided the basis for his 1908 book were undertaken with his father, Tannous Abdou. Sometime before the 1920 census, Nagib Abdou married an Irish immigrant named Anna. Little is known about Abdou after 1922.
Scope and Content
Two pdfs of books by Abdou.
Salwā Salāma was born in Homs, Syria in 1883. As a young girl, her avid interest in reading and writing was encouraged by her brothers, Ḥabīb and Qablān, who became her first teachers. Eventually, Salwā’s family sent her to a school for girls in Homs where she excelled in her studies and went on to become a teacher in Homs and later Zahle, in the region of Mount Lebanon. During this period, Salwā’s writing is first reported to have been published in the burgeoning Arab press in the Levant.
Salwā’s literary pursuits distinguished her within her community and more widely. In fact, her reputation as a writer and intellectual led to her engagement and marriage to Jūrj Aṭlas, a polyglot writer, poet, and preacher educated in American Protestant schools on several continents. Shortly after the death of his first wife, Jūrj made a trip to his birthplace of Homs specifically to meet Salwā Salāma, and they were married there in 1913. Their extended honeymoon took them to the main capitals of Syria, Lebanon, Europe, Egypt, and Brazil. However, the outbreak of World War I forced them to stay in Brazil where they became active participants in the cultural and intellectual life of this vibrant outpost of Syrian life in the mahjar, or diaspora.
Shortly after their arrival in Brazil, in 1914, Salwā and her husband founded the magazine al-Karma (A Vinha, The Vineyard). Subtitled “majalla ‘āmma takhdim al-mar’ā wa-‘l-rajul” (“a general magazine serving women and men”), al-Karma would later become the “official organ” of the prominent Syrian social club, al-Nādī al-Homsi, founded by Jūrj Aṭlas and several others in 1920. It was within the walls of this club that the Syrian community in Brazil convened, including the many writers who would later go on to establish prominent literary societies, including al-‘Uṣba al-Andalusiyya (The Andalusian League). Salwā continued to edit al-Karma following her husband’s death, apparently, in collaboration with his son Julio.
In addition to being the owner (ṣāḥiba) of al-Karma, Salwā published a collection of short stories, entitled, Amāma al-mawqid (In Front of the Fireplace) (São Paulo, 1948), a collection of her speeches, entitled Jarrat al-mann (A Jar of Manna) (São Paulo, c. 1930), and Ḥadīqat khuṭab (Garden of Speeches) (São Paulo, 1928). Following her husband’s death, Salwā arranged for a collection of his speeches and writings to be published in a 1928 collection she called al-Kalimāt al-Khālida (Sincere Words), with an introduction by prominent Syrian writer Da‘ūd Shakūr.
Salwā was a prominent figure in the Syrian community in Brazil. She opened a school in São Paulo in 1914 and later became headmistress at the Syrian orphanage in that city, Dār al-Aytam al-Suriyya. At the Silver Jubilee for al-Karma, she was recognized as a feminist and a Syrian nationalist and was honored for her many contributions to Syrian life in Brazil. Salwā is an exemplar not only of the intellectual influence of Syrian immigrants on Brazilian society during the early 20th century, but also of the active and prominent roles played by Syrian women in social and cultural lives of their communities.
Biography by Dr. Elizabeth Saylor
Scope and Content
‘Afīfa Karam (1883-1924) was fourteen years old when left her homeland of ‘Amshit, Lebanon and made a new life for herself in the American South. It was in Shreveport, Louisiana, where ‘Afīfa – or “Afifi” as she is affectionately called by her American family – mastered both her English and her literary Arabic. She would later go on to become an internationally recognized figure in the emerging world of feminist Arabic literature and politics.
Without children of her own, Karam’s books were her progeny. Karam’s career was nurtured by the Syrian immigrant press, whose hub was in the “Little Syria” neighborhood on Manhattan’s Lower West Side. As a teenager, Karam began publishing articles in the New York City-based Arabic newspaper al-Hodā (Guidance). By 22, she became director of her own column dedicated to the discussion of women’s issues, and was later appointed as editor-in-chief of the newspaper for a period of six months. Karam founded the first Arabic women’s journals outside of the Arab world, al-Imrā’a al-Sūriyya (The Syrian Woman) and al-‘Ālam al-Jadīd al-Nisā’ī (The New World: A Ladies’ Monthly Arabic Magazine), both of which circulated internationally.
In addition to publishing some of the first Arabic novels in existence (predating by several years what is generally recognized as the “first Arabic novel,” Zaynab (1914) by Egyptian author Muhammad Husayn Haykal), Karam translated several novels from English to Arabic, including Nancy Stair (1904) by the Southern American woman author Elinor McCartney Lane (1864-1908). In her Arabic novels – published between 1906 and 1910 – Karam articulated a feminist politics that was far ahead of its time. She was fearless, pushing the limits of acceptability and risking the rejection of her family and community in order to express her ideals, to fight for the rights of women, and to make their voices heard. Through immigrant stories of love and romance, Karam criticized social conventions that created obstacles to women’s empowerment, and boldly defended women’s rights to work, to travel, to self-expression, and to choose their own partners. She even went so far as to specifically identify “the government and the church” as the patriarchal institutions responsible for the oppression of women in Mount Lebanon.
When ‘Afīfa Karam died in 1924 of a cerebral hemorrhage, she was only 41 years old. Following her death, letters and poems flooded the pages of al-Hodā from all over the United States, as well as from Egypt and the Levant. She was praised as a leader of the women’s movement and of the “women’s literary awakening” (“al-nahḍa al-adabiyya al-nisā’iyya”). She was honored by such titles as the “defender of the Syrian woman,” “Princess of the Pen,” “the carrier of the torch of women’s freedom,” and the “genius of Lebanon” for her remarkable contributions to the development of the Arabic novel, Arab journalism, and Arab feminism. Despite the fact that her writings were published over a century ago, her words are still as relevant today as they were during her lifetime. In her first novel, Badī‘a wa-Fu’ād (1906), she wrote the following words: “When an honorable woman sees another woman insulted, she feels as though the insult is directed at all women, not just one.”
Biography by Dr. Elizabeth Saylor
Scope and Content
The Syrian-American Press was established by Salloum Mokarzel in the early twentieth century. It published books for the Syrian (or Lebanese) American community in both English in Arabic. It also published Salloum Mokarzel's monthly journal, The Syrian World. The Mokarzel family also owned and operated Al-Hoda Press.
Most publications were produced for commercial sale or subscription. However, the press occasionally produced small runs of limited edition or commemorative works. The Mokarzel family was well-connected with Arab-American and diasporic literary community. The press primarily published scholarly works.
Scope and Content
This collection contains full texts and excerpts published by the Syrian-American Press.
This collection contains books published by miscellaneous authors and publishers based in the United States; these are books which we have only one representation from a given publisher or author. Publishers or authors that the center has multiple representations of are in collections of their own. Books are presented in full or as selections, and are fully searchable whenever possible.
Scope and Content
Mikhail Asad Rustum [al-Rustum] was an early Arab-American author born in the mid-nineteenth century in what is today considered Lebanon. He immigrated to the United States in the 1880s; though he initially settled in Philadelphia, he had close social ties with the community of intellectuals and writers located in New York City. Rustum participated in the burgeoning press, contributing both literature and opinion pieces to Kawkab Amirka.
Rustum is best known for his 1895 book كتاب الغريب في الغرب, or Kitab al-Ghareeb fi al-Gharb [Strangers in the West: The Trip of Mikhail Asad Rustum to America, 1885-1895], which is considered to be among the first—if not the first—travelogue written by an Arab traveler in and about America. Rustum published two more editions/extensions of this travelogue, one in 1904 and one in 1909. In addition to his literary output, Rustum served as editor of the newspaper Al-Muhajer.
Scope and Content
This collection contains three books by Rustum. The first is a facsimile reproduction of the 1895 Strangers in the West. The second is a portion of the 1909 reprint, containing only the back matter: advertisements, short pieces, and photographs of Rustum and other prominent Syrian-Americans. The last book is a collection of Rustum’s work, including contributions of other prominent authors responding to his work.
Salmā Sā’igh (1889-1953) was a writer, orator, and literary figure born in Beirut. A member of the wealthy and prominent Sā’igh family, Salma grew up in the Beirut neighborhood of al-Muṣayṭaba. Sā’igh studied and mastered literary Arabic under the tutelage of Ibrahīm al-Mundhir, and finished her Arabic studies at a secular school for girls in Beirut. She became passionate about literature and began to write at the age of 17 under the pseudonym Salwā. Her first published articles are said to have been published in the Beirut-based magazine, al-Barq (Lightning).
Sā’igh’s brief marriage to a dentist in Beirut produced a son who died very young, and a daughter, ‘Ā’ida, who was born after her separation from her husband. Forced to support her daughter following their separation, ā’igh became a teacher. Alongside her teaching, Sā’igh wrote openly about women’s issues in a number of other newspapers and magazines, among them al-Ḥasnā’ (The Beautiful Woman), al-Fajr (The Dawn), Minīrfā (Minerva), and al-Mar’a (The Woman). She also published a number of literary works, including al-Nasamāt (Breezes) and Ṣuwar wa-dhikrayāt(Pictures and Memories). Sā’igh is also said to have published her memoirs, Mudhakkirāt sharqiyya (Memories of an Eastern Woman) and a translation of the novel Fatāt al-furs (Daughter of the Persians) from French, though no evidence of either of these works has yet been found.
In 1939, Sā’igh immigrated to Brazil to search for her missing brother who had taken up residence in a remote rural area and suffered from mental illness. Despite the fact that her brother died soon after her arrival in Brazil, Sā’igh continued to live there for the following eight years. In Brazil, Sā’igh met the founders of the literary movement “al-‘Uṣba al-Andalusiyya,” (The Andalusian League), and became an active member of the movement. While in Brazil, Sā’igh mastered the Portuguese language and translated literary works from Portuguese to Arabic.
Following her return to Beirut circa 1947, Sā’igh founded the organization “al-Nahḍa al-nisā’iyya” (The Women’s Awakening), which brought women together to reject sectarianism and advocate for religious pluralism and unity in Lebanon. She also directed Orthodox Christian charity schools in Beirut for a period of five years. Sā’igh is known to have described her legacy and her work in women’s organizations, saying “like a piece of mud that we threw against the wall; even if it does not stick, it will leave a trace.”
In the 1940s and 1950s, Sā’igh hosted a prominent literary salon in her home on Batriārk Street in Beirut. Some of the leading literary figures of the era attended her salon, including Emily Fāris Ibrahīm and Salāḥ Labakī (1906-1955), a well-known poet and the son of prominent journalist Na‘ūm Labakī. Salāḥ Labakī would later go on to marry Sā’igh’s daughter ‘Ā’ida. Feminist scholar and literary critic Emily Fāris Ibrahīm reported that Sā’igh had several extended friendships and romantic attachments with leading nahḍa intellectuals, including Yūsuf Eṣtefān and Felix Fāris, the uncle of Emily Fāris Ibrahīm. Ibrahīm also states that Sā’igh fell in love with a dentist, Adīb Maẓhar, who died tragically in a car crash, adding to the list of tragedies that followed Salmā Sā’igh throughout her life.
Late in her life, Sā’igh, who suffered from debilitating eye problems, went to Paris for treatment. While she was there, she met the well-known mahjar writer and intellectual Amīn al-Rīḥānī (1876-1940), inspiring a chapter about him in her collected volume of essays, Ṣuwar wa-dhikrayāt (Pictures and Memories). Sā’igh died in Beirut in 1953 from pneumonia at the age of 64. Her elegy was published by Yūsuf Yazbek.
Biography by Dr. Elizabeth Saylor
Scope and Content
These books were collected by employees of the Khayrallah Center during various research projects. They were digitized by other institutions and were available online. They are considered restricted due to the fact that the center has not received direct authorization to make them public; while they are fully accessible to researchers, we cannot grant permission for reproduction.
Scope and Content
These collections contain historic newspapers and journals.
The collections in this group consist two main categories. The first are
digitizations of newspapers created by immigrant communities for distribution
throughout the diaspora. These tend to be in Arabic. The Khayrallah Center
strives to centralize complete runs of these papers, and these collections
represent selections from digitized papers that often span months, years, or
decades. The other category is select articles from regional news sources
relating to the Lebanese diaspora gathered by our staff in collaboration with
The KCLDS Archive is actively seeking collaborations with institutions or individuals to
aid in the location and digitization of newspapers and journals published by
immigrants from Greater Syria and Lebanon. Please contact us with specific research questions, if you have copies of a paper that you would like to see digitized, or with questions regarding copyright or reproduction of individual articles.
Al-Hoda, or الهدى, [The Guidance] was the longest-lived of the early Arabic newspapers, published from 1898 until 1972. It was distinguished by its wide circulation--which ranged throughout North America but also stretched, by some claims, across 40 countries worldwide--and its corresponding transnational sphere of influence. Throughout its 74-year run it was owned and published by the Mokarzels, an influential family of Lebanese-Americans: it passed from the hands of its founder Naoum Antoun Mokarzal to his brother Salloum Antoun Mokarzel; upon Salloum’s death in 1952 it was published by Salloum’s daughter Mary Mokarzel. It served as an outlet for the Mokarzel brothers to shape both the Lebanese independence movement and to craft and transmit cultural and linguistic cohesion throughout the mahjar, or Arabic diaspora. In addition to its close association with Naoum and Salloum Mokarzel, it was a launching point and platform for the careers of many important writers; significantly, it published work by the women writers Marie T. Azeez and Afifa Karam. It also published numerous pieces from foreign correspondents throughout the Arab world. Though its format and content shifted throughout the decades, particularly as ownership changed hands between members of the Mokarzel family, Al-Hoda was consistent in its journalistic commitment to transnational issues and events and its engagement with the Arabic-speaking diaspora.
Al-Hoda was founded on February 22, 1898 by Naoum Mokarzel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and was moved to New York City in 1902, where it remained until it ceased publication. The paper was initially published on a weekly or semi-weekly basis and was a lengthy 24 pages. During this period it was characterized by its longform pieces rather than its news reportage. These essays ranged in subject matter from political philosophy, science, history, religion, immigration and diaspora, and politics in the Levant region of the Ottoman Empire.
The paper shrank to eight pages around the turn of the twentieth century, and became a daily upon its 1903 move to New York City, continuing at this rate and format until 1963. In 1899 Naoum was joined by his younger brother Salloum, who helped to innovate and modernize Arabic-language linotype printing. The typographic techniques pioneered by the Mokarzels became standards for Arabic-language newspapers around the world. Together, the brothers established a productive printing house which produced not only Al-Hoda but other journals, papers, and numerous books.
The first editor of Al-Hoda was Ameen Gorayeb, but Naoum was a frequent contributor and the editorial tone of the paper often reflected his fiery, famously combative personality. Though Naoum frequently insisted upon his own journalistic integrity and objectivity, Al-Hoda was guided from the start by a fierce devotion to the cause of Lebanon; it also initially leaned towards Maronite interests, against Orthodox views. In his editorials and articles, Naoum was quick to rise to the defense of both his homeland and himself, a tendency that often stirred controversy even as it furthered Naoum's political goal. In the 1910s, Naoum became increasingly involved in the movement for Lebanese independence, founding first the Lebanese Union and then the Lebanese League of Progress to further the goals of independence and political reform in Lebanon. During World War I, Al-Hoda published numerous articles calling upon the immigrant community to volunteer their military service in service not only to the United States, but also as an opportunity to shake off Turkish rule from the Levant. Naoum was a member of the Lebanese delegation to the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, and following independence he worked tirelessly to advance Lebanese politics and cultural identity.
In service to Lebanese independence, Naoum increasingly traveled away from New York City. During these times, Salloum increasingly oversaw publication of Al-Hoda even as he pursued his own projects which ran more towards encouraging commerce and fostering an adaptive culture among Syrio-Lebanese immigrants in the Americas than in the homeland. Though involved in the family business, Salloum spent the first quarter of the twentieth century advancing these interests through scholarly publications such as the Arabic-language Syrian-American Commercial Magazine and the English language journal The Syrian World.
Naoum died in 1932 on a visit to Paris, where he was serving as a representative of diasporic communities for Lebanon’s transition from French colony to independent nation. Initially, Naoum’s widow Rose Abillama Mokarzel took over management of Al-Hoda, hiring Najib Arida as editor. However, the Great Depression threatened the newspaper’s financial stability. In order to save Al-Hoda, a coalition of influential figures in the Lebanese-American community came together under the Al-Hoda Company to purchase the paper. However, the corporation’s first published issues elicited such backlash from its readership that the newspaper was swiftly sold back to Salloum Mokarzel. Salloum gave up his own publishing endeavors to devote his time and efforts to restoring the prestige and financial stability of Al-Hoda-- a continuance of his brother’s legacy. During this time, Salloum became increasingly well-known, contributing to the Lebanese pavilion at the 1939 New York World’s Fair and serving as a dignitary at the 1946 opening of the United Nations. Salloum died in 1952. The bodies of both brothers were repatriated by the government of Lebanon, and are buried together in the family tomb in their native city of Freike, Lebanon.
The Mokarzel brothers’ legacies were carried on by Salloum’s five daughters. After a struggle over the ownership of the paper, Salloum’s eldest daughter, Mary Mokarzel, carried on the publication of Al-Hoda. Another of Salloum’s daughters, Yemna, was also committed to the family business, supporting her sister’s social, political, and business endeavors and serving as a correspondent for the papers. In 1954--perhaps in remembrance of her father’s English-language publications--Mary acquired The Lebanese American Journal, which she published in tandem with the Arabic paper until September 1971.
Scope and Content
The Khayrallah Center holds a large run of digitized Al-Hoda newspapers, spanning from February 22, 1898 to May 26, 1941. This paper is an unparalleled historical resource for anyone interested in Middle Eastern diaspora and specifically the Syrio-Lebanese immigrant community. The contents of the paper include:
A portion of the newspaper is available freely online. Researchers should contact us to arrange to view the rest of our holdings.
February 22, 1898 to May 26, 1941
Al-Majalla al-Tijarriya [المجلة التجارية], or The Syrian-American Commercial Magazine, was an Arabic-language monthly journal published under this title by Salloum A. Mokarzel from 1918 to 1926.
The journal evolved from al-Alam al-Jadid [The New World], published between 1909 and 1918. The origins of this journal are somewhat unclear; it appears to have been founded by Mokarzel by Mokarzel with the involvement of Khalil Aswad. At some point, it may have been sold to Afifa Karm, who continued publishing it under this title. The journal returned to Mokarzel and was published by the Syrian-American Press from December 1918 until June 1926. With the exception of several December issues, the journal was published monthly between January and November.
The last iteration of the journal was heavily shaped by Salloum Mokarzel's interest in domestic and international trade and commerce. Under Mokarzel's editorialship, the magazine was--according to its tagline--"devoted to the promotion of commercial relations between America and the Arabic-speaking peoples throughout the world." Subscriptions were offered both within the United States and across the globe, and many of the articles were aimed to promote transnational commerce.
Scope and Content
The Khayrallah Center has all issues of The Syrian-American Commercial Magazine from December 1918 to June 1926. The journal is published in Arabic, with an English-language index of titles included in each issue. The journal articles include:
Mira’at al-Gharb, [Mirror of the West], was one of the longest-running Arabic newspapers in the United States, published from 1899 until 1961. It was founded by Najeeb Diab and owned by his family until its closure. In addition to its significant longevity, Mira’at al-Gharb is important for its affiliation with the Orthodox faith. As a counterpoint to the Maronite viewpoints that are often predominantly associated with the early Syrio-Lebanese immigrants, Mira’at al-Gharb provides valuable insight into the religious, political, and intellectual diversity of the early immigrants from Greater Syria.
Najeeb Moussa Diab was born in Roumieh, Mount Lebnaon, on August 6, 1870 and died on July 11, 1936. He immigrated to the United States in March 1893, at the age of 22. He was naturalized five years later, in 1898. Almost immediately upon his arrival, Diab began working with the Arbeely family, apprenticing on the first Arabic-language newspaper in the United States, Kawkab Amirka. Though young, Diab displayed a talent for newspaper work, for he was soon writing and editing the paper.
In 1899, Diab left Kawkab Amirka to found his own newspaper, Mira’at al-Gharb, or Mirror of the West. Though the early years of the newspaper have been largely lost—presumably consumed by a fire that took place in the paper’s offices—Diab seems to have established a unique voice very quickly. In part he accomplished this by taking an oppositional stance against Al-Hoda and its firebrand, Maronite-affiliated publisher, Salloum Mokarzel. The two men often exchanged spirited—and occasionally hostile—exchanges with one another through the respective platforms of their editorials, sparring particularly over their differing views of the future of their homeland. While Mokarzel was a Lebanese nationalist, Diab favored an undivided Syria; in fact, his viewpoints may be seen as an early expression of pan-Arabic identity.
Like Mokarzel, Diab was politically active. He was a founding member of America’s United Syrian Society, and in 1913, he attended the first Paris-Arab Syrian Conference as its delegate. At this event he gave a speech outlining a plan for an autonomous state of a united Syria within the Ottoman Empire—a position that he upheld, in part, due to his opposition towards French involvement in Syria. Still, his editorials and newspaper were slanted against Turkish rule, a position which—according to the English-language newspapers that reported on it—led the Ottoman Empire to confiscate his land in 1902, an action which Diab reported to the U.S. State Department. This, however, had little impact, and Diab’s land and standing in his homeland were not restored until after World War I.
In addition to international politics, Diab used Mira’at al-Gharb to advocate for Syrian immigrants in the United States, participating in national debates over Arab-American citizenship that characterized the 1910s. He encouraged political participation from his reader, emphasizing the importance of voting. He also supported Arabic literature in the United States: the newspaper had an affiliated publishing house, Mira’at Press, which published both nonfiction and fiction, including many works by the writers affiliated with the Pen League, such as Mikhail Naimy, Kahlil Gibran, and Elia abu Madi.
Just as Diab had begun his career under the mentorship of the Arbeely family, in the 1910s and 1920s he provided similar experience to younger immigrants. Most notably, in the 1920s Diab hired the poet Elia abu Madi to write for and then edit Mira’at al-Gharb. Madi marred Najeeb Diab’s eldest daughter, Dorothy, in 1920. Following the example of his father-in-law, in 1929 Madi left his position as editor-in-chief to found his own newspaper, As Sameer. The newspaper business ran in the family in other ways: after Diab passed away in 1936, his wife, Angelina Diab, managed the paper until her death in 1961.
Scope and Content
A portion of the newspaper is available freely online. Researchers should contact us to arrange to view the rest of our holdings.
The center has: April 1910-April 20 1922 and August 12 1925-June 30 1927
The Syrian World was founded by Salloum Mokarzel, a Lebanese-American intellectual. Salloum Mokarzel was the younger brother of Naoum Mokarzel, publisher of the Arabic-language newspaper Al-Hoda. Salloum Mokarzel assisted his brother with Al-Hoda Publishing, and in 1909 published The Syrian Business Directory.
Mokarzel created The Syrian World in order to document and celebrate the culture and history of "Syria," which referred at the time to the modern-day countries of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Palestine. The publication was primarily aimed towards second-generation children of immigrants, but Mokarzel hoped that it would also appeal to the general American public.
The Syrian World was published between 1926 and 1932 as a journal. In 1932, the format was changed from an academic journal to resemble a newspaper; though the length of the articles was greatly reduced, the spirit of the publication remained unchanged. The Syrian World was published in this form until 1935, when several factors--the death of Naoum Mokarzel, which led Salloum to shift his energies towards running Al-Hoda, and the Great Depression--led to the journal's end.
Scope and Content
The rich and varied articles in The Syrian World cover a variety of topics, including, but not limited to:
Sample issues of The Syrian World are available, along with full indexes and tables of contents for The Syrian World between 1926 and 1932. To access the complete, fully-searchable archive of The Syrian World, please contact the Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies.
الفنون, Al-Funun [The Arts] was an Arabic-language literary journal published in New York City by Nasib Arida (1887-1946). Arida was born in Homs, Syria in 1887 and immigrated to the United States in 1905. Initially he worked in a textile factory, but the well-educated Arida soon moved into publishing, working as an editor before establishing his own press in 1912. His press, al-Atlantic Publishing Company, was renamed al-Funun Publishing Company in 1916. Arida published the first issue of al-Funun in April of 1913; it continued through the end of that year, when publication was interrupted by the outbreak of World War I. Two years later, in June of 1916, the publication was revived, and it was published semi-regularly until August 1918. The paper ultimately folded due to financial difficulties and the shortage of both material and manpower caused by the war.
Despite its irregular publication, al-Funun was an important early forum for the creation of Arab-American literature. Within its pages, authors such as Amin Rihani, Elia abu Madi, Kahlil Gibran, and Mikhail Naimy experimented with new literary applications of the Arabic language in short stories, essays, and poems. The journal also published drawings and woodcuts by Kahlil Gibran, along with reproductions of art and photographs by other artists. The journal also published numerous translations from English from authors as diverse as Oscar Wilde, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ivan Turgenev, and Friedrich Nietzsche; of particular interest to Arida was the work of Russian and Eastern European Symbolist poets. Though the focus of the journal was on literature and art, it was not disengaged from politics: the October 1916 edition of the journal was a special issue dedicated to the “Crisis in Syria” as a result of World War I.
Al-Funun is significant for its relationship to al-Rabita al-Qalamiyya, or the Pen League. In 1915, Arida and Abd al-Masih Haddad—owner of the newspaper as-Sa’ih [The Traveler]—officially formed the Pen League in 1915. On June 29, 1916, as-Sa’ih published a manifesto for the literary society, stating that its primary goal was to revitalize Arabic as a literary language. Though this first formation of the Pen League dissolved within a matter of months, by September 1916, authors identified themselves as members of the Pen League in both al-Funun and al-Sa’ih. Throughout its years of publication, al-Funun brought together the era’s most prominent male Mahjar authors, furthering a common goal of crafting a distinct Arab American literary movement. The forging of a shared identity throughout the 1910s undoubtedly contributed to the (re)formation of the Pen League in 1920. This version of the Pen League was stronger and longer-lasting, and many of its core members are translated and widely read to this day. Moreover, the original poetry, essays, and fiction printed in the pages of al-Funun were republished throughout the Middle East in the ensuing decades. The new style of poetry and prose pioneered by the authors affiliated with the Pen League left an indelible legacy upon global Arabic literature.
Scope and Content
This collection contains the full run of al-Funun in pdf format; some, however, display damage from the microfilm or from the original books from which the microfilm was photographed. The journal contains:
Date: V. 1-3, 1913-1918
Al-Wafa was digitized by the Khayrallah Center in collaboration with the Lawrence Public Library and with thanks to Dr. Linda Jacobs. Al-Wafa [Fidelity], or الوفاء, was a semi-weekly Arabic-language newspaper published in Lawrence, Massachusetts between 1907 until approximately 1910. In the early twentieth century, Lawrence was home to one of the largest Lebanese populations in the United States; unlike other large communities, such as New York City, it is unique for the high percentage of immigrants who worked in factories. Al-Wafa was an initiative of the Zahley Association, a group of immigrants who had largely originated from Zahlé, Lebanon. They maintained ties with one another, and were involved in the formation of the Al-Wafa Publishing Company. The paper was edited by Joseph M. Khoury. Its religious leanings were Christian and its political orientation was fairly neutral, not yet distanced from the Ottoman identity.
The paper was one of two that was published in Lawrence in the first decades of the twentieth century; at least two more Arabic-language newspapers were published out of Boston. Though short-lived, Al-Wafa apparently had a transnational circulation. Copies were read in Mexico and the Caribbean as well as in the United States. As such, despite Lawrence’s large working-class population, the intended audience of the paper appears to be middle-class immigrants.
Scope and Content
The collection contains digitized newspapers from March 29, 1907 to May 5, 1910. The paper offers rich insight into an early Arab-American community outside of New York. It chronicles visitors to Lawrence from other places throughout the diaspora; business openings and job opportunities; conflict between the Syrio-Lebanese and other immigrant communities; and advertisements for businesses. It also contains news on events in the United States and around the world.
كوكب أمريكا, or Kawkab Amirka [Star of America] was the first Arabic-language newspaper published in the United States. It was published in New York City between 1892 and 1908; at first it was released on a weekly schedule, but in 1898 it was upgraded to a daily paper. The roughly 300,000 copies per issue were circulated to subscribers across the world: the paper claimed an audience that spanned from North to South America and across the Ottoman Empire and Arab-speaking world.
Kawkab Amirka was founded with the goal of "bringing its eastern and western readers into closer and more intimate relations." The paper published articles from correspondents in Turkey, Egypt, India, Persia, Syria (modern day Syria and Lebanon), and the Barbary States of Morocco, Algiers, Tripoli, and Tunis. Though it circulated in the Ottoman Empire as well as in the United States, in its first issue it stated its intent to express the "true interests" of the early Arabic-speaking diaspora: "the 150,000 Ottoman subjects scattered throughout Europe, North and South America" ("Introduction," vol. 1., no. 1). To this end, the newspaper was primarily published in Arabic; however, many of the article titles were rendered in English, and many of the issues included articles in English. English-language newspapers in New York City often pulled from Kawkab's reporting for news from the Levant.
The founding of this seminal paper is shrouded in mystery. According to Elizabeth Boosahda, historians have traditionally believed that the paper was founded by brothers Ibrahim [A.J.] and Najeeb Arbeely[Arbili], and that the paper's first editor--and thus the first Arab editor in America--was Najeeb M. Diab. However, Lillian George Shoucair [Choucair] has argued that her father-in-law Said Shoucair, who was living in America as a political exile due to his criticism of the Ottoman Empire, was both the founder and the first editor of the paper, and that the Arbeely brothers merely provided financial support (85-86). In addition to their involvement in the newspaper, the Arbeely brothers went on to have distinguished careers: Najeeb worked at Ellis Island, interviewing and assisting new Arabic-speaking immigrants; Ibrahim, following in the tradition of his father Dr. Joseph Arbeely, was a physician.
The paper is broadly representative of an Orthodox Christian view, and directs itself to an audience with similar beliefs. Like Shoucair, the Arbeely brothers had fled the Ottoman Empire after criticizing the Sultan; however, the paper took a predominantly neutral, or even complimentary, tone towards the Ottoman Empire. Nonetheless, the paper was associated with the Young Turks movement in the Ottoman empire at various times of its publication.
Scope and Content
The Khayrallah Center is proud to present digitized copies of the surviving issues of Kawkab Amirka, which begin on April 15, 1892 and end on February 28, 1896. The English portions of the pdf are fully searchable, providing a simple index of the topics covered in these years of the paper. This valuable primary source material will be useful to scholars of early Arab immigration, diasporic identity formation, religion and politics, and many more.
April 15, 1892-February 28, 1896
This collection is comprised of newspaper clippings from Wilmington papers that refer to Syrians that ranges from 1877 to 1942, and local newspapers from Burlington, High Point, Kannapolis, Gastonia, Lumberton, Raleigh, and Statesville ranging in date from 1919-1972.
Al-Akhlak, Ethics, was founded by Yaqub Rufail; it was an Arabic-language journal. It was published between 1920 and 1932.
1920 volume 1
Al-Ayyam, الأيام, or The Chronicle, was published by Ussef Namaan Malouf in New York City from 1897 to 1902.
The center has January 1 1898-May 17 1900
Al-Bayan, or البيان, or The Explanation, was published by Suleiman Baddour out of Brooklyn, New York. The newspaper was begun in 1911 and lasted until 1967.
The center has January 24 1911-January 22 1916, January 25 1917-July 31 1926, January 25-December 31 1938
Al-Fatat Boston was published in Boston, Massachusetts by W.E. Shakir from 1914 to 1922.
Date: The center holds December 28 1917-May 8 1919
Al-Gurbal [La Criba, The Screen], was a magazine published by Lebanese immigrants in Mexico City, Mexico, from 1922 until 1992. Though primarily written in Spanish, it included Arabic sections. In the publication was edited by Salim George Abud Andraues. Under his guidance, the journal Reporters for the publication traveled to and reported on events that impacted the Arab diaspora in the Middle East, Africa, and the Americas.
Al-Kown was an Arabic newspaper published weekly in New York City by Najeeb Sawaya, Nafi Adham, and Hafiz Malik. It was published in Manhattan’s Syrian Colony, at 60-62 Washington Street.
Date: January 1, 1907-December 23, 1910
Al-Nisr, النسر, The Eagle was published by Najib Badran. It was published in New York City between 1914 to 1943.
January 3, 1916-December 29 1916
السمير, As-Sameer, (also known as Al-Samir and translated to English as The Entertainer) was an Arabic-language newspaper published in Brooklyn, New York. It was founded in 1929 and published until 1959. Initially, as-Sameer was a monthly journal. In 1931, it acquired its own printing press, and on November 2, 1936, it moved to a semi-weekly news format, publishing three times a week, except for legal holidays, with few irregularities.
The newspaper was started by Elia abu Madey, إيليا أبو ماضي (also known as Elia Daher Madey, Elia abu Madi, and Iliya abu Madi). Abu Madey was born on May 15, 1889 in al-Muhayditha, Syria (now Bikfaya, Lebanon) and immigrated to the United States in 1911, settling first in Cincinnati before moving to New York City in 1916. Though he had very little formal education, Abu Madey was drawn to literature from a young age, publishing his first collection of poetry in 1911. In New York, abu Madi became associated with the Arabic literary movement al-Rabita al-Qalamiyya, or the Pen League, and was published in their literary journal al-Funun. Abu Madey was widely recognized across the Arabic-speaking world for his skill as a poet, and he remains a highly influential figure to this day.
In addition to his literary works, abu Madey was a successful and influential publisher. Both professionally and personally, Abu Madey became indelibly linked with Najeeb Diab, founder of the long-running newspaper Mira’at al-Gharb [Mirror of the West]. In 1918, abu Madi became editor in chief of this long-running paper; two years later, he married Diab’s daughter Dorothy, or Dora; the two had three children together. In 1929, he departed from his position at Mira’at al-Gharb to create As-Sameer. When the paper expanded from monthly publications in 1936, abu Madi wrote regular columns and editorials. The paper reported rigorously on world events, particularly as they related to the impact that the world wars and decolonization had on the Arab world. Abu Madi was recognized for his prominent role in journalism, and in 1948 he was one of the representatives of the immigrant press to the third UNESCO in Beirut. As-Sameer ceased publication in June 1957; several months later, on November 3, 1957, Elia abu Madi passed away.
Date: The center holds November 2 1936-June 28 1957
This collection is comprised of newspaper clippings from English-language Massachusetts papers that refer to Syrians. Many of these articles are about Boston and surrounding towns such as Lawrence. They were collected by staff researchers from databases for the purpose of research only. Khayrallah Center staff cannot grant reproduction rights for these clippings.
The center has: 1896-1905
This collection is comprised of newspaper clippings from English-language publications from Grand Rapids, Michigan.
The center has: 1908-1928
This collection is comprised of newspaper clippings from English-language New York papers that refer to Syrians. While there are some clippings from cities across the state--for example, Buffalo--the majority of these clippings are from New York City newspapers. They were collected by staff researchers from databases for the purpose of research only. Khayrallah Center staff cannot grant reproduction rights for these clippings.
The center has: 1896-1900 and various.
This collection is comprised of a selection of newspaper clippings from English-language Pennsylvania papers that refer to Syrians. They were collected by staff researchers from databases for the purpose of research only. Khayrallah Center staff cannot grant reproduction rights for these clippings.
The center has: 1900-1904.
These collections have two main categories: historic recordings and contemporaneous recordings. The historic material contains speeches by prominent individuals in the immigrant community and early records of Arabic music. The contemporary recordings are primarily oral histories collected by KCLDS staff or affiliate institutions. Other audio or visual material may be located in the family collections.
Ameen Rihani (1876-1940) is one of the earliest Lebanese American intellectuals who dedicated his life to linking and negotiating between Arab and American cultures. He wrote extensively leaving a corpus of 29 Arabic volumes and 26 English works (click here for a list). In the process he helped re-invent Arabic as a modern language, and molded English to express his Arab heritage. Influenced by Walt Whitman, he introduced free verse in Arabic literature, and was a major figure in the mahjar (Arab diaspora) literary movement developed by Arab emigrants (including Gibran Khalil Gibran) in North America, and an early theorist of Arab nationalism.
Rihani was politically active in the US and the Middle East, championing Arab causes here and abroad. Rihani, spoke out against Zionism and said the only "possible and practical solution [in Palestine] would involve a decision that the Jewish National Home was now complete, and henceforth to be developed from within and not from without. Jewish immigration and land buying would be stopped at once, and a national representative government would take the place of the [British] Mandate."
Amongst his many speeches on this topic, one was recorded on June 5, 1937 at Town Hall in New York City and broadcast on WNYC radio. The Khayrallah Center, in collaboration with the Rihani Museum in Freike (Lebanon), has digitized the speech (as well the speeches by other speakers introducing Rihani), and re-mastered them. This is the beginning of a project to create a 3D virtual recreation of the speech.
Scope and Contents
This collection contains two recordings:
June 5, 1937
Some materials reproduced with permission by Department of Special Collections, University Libraries, University of California, Santa Barbara.
Record labels include: Alamphon, Arabphon, Columbia, and Victor and other
Formats: MP3, Waveform audio
Misc. video and audio files (other than interviews) produced for the Khayrallah Center’s documentary Cedars in the Pines.
These are restricted to visiting scholars and KCLDS staff. The final documentary may be viewed on the Khayrallah Center website. For more information, see documentary key.
Interviews and oral histories gathered by or given to the center. Many are connected to people for whom more information is available in the Family Collections.
These are restricted to visiting scholars and KCLDS staff.
Scope and Content
Oral history transcripts requested by KCLDS for in-house research from AANM.
These are restricted to visiting scholars and KCLDS staff. KCLDS cannot grant reproduction permissions for these; permissions, and access to full collection, should be obtained through AANM.
Scope and Content
KCLDS has the following transcripts from this AANM collection: