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Library Guide for Modern Middle East: Manuscripts & Archives

Selected Archival Collections

Al-Ahram Digital Archive: Al-Ahram ("The Pyramids") is one of the longest-running newspapers in the Middle East. It has long been regarded as Egypt’s most authoritative and influential newspaper, and one of the most important newspapers in the Arab world

Afghanistan and the US, 1945-1963 : Records of US State Department Classified Files: covering 1945 to 1963, this collection accesses U.S. State Department Central Classified Files relating to Afghanistan, including 9,674 images of documents from U.S. diplomats, such as: special reports on political and military affairs, studies and statistics on socioeconomic matters, interviews and minutes of meetings with foreign government officials, court proceedings and other legal documents, full texts of important letters, instructions, and cables sent and received by U.S. diplomatic personnel, reports and translations from foreign journals and newspapers, translations of high-level foreign government documents, including speeches, memoranda, official reports, and transcripts of political meetings and assemblies. The collection is arranged topically and chronologically.

American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, Near East. Records, 1820-1965: a collection consisting of the reference materials used by the ABCFM, later known as the United Church Board of World Ministries. It includes pamphlets, informational brochures, yearbooks, unpublished reports and a small amount of correspondence which describes the work of the ABCFM in the Near East from 1820-1965. The material in this collection describes the schools, hospitals, centers and rural programs that were established by the missionaries. The collection also includes many general reports and articles on Christianity in the Near East, and it touches on the work of other religious organizations which were also working in this area. Microfilm available in Microforms (Lamont) Film A 467.

Associated Press 4: Middle Eastern Bureaus Collection, 1967-2008: accesses records from some of the AP's most active international bureaus, delivering exclusive stories behind the headlines from 1967 to 2005 with stories stemming from Jerusalem, Ankara, Beirut and their surrounding areas; records include news stories in the form of typescript carbons or wire copy, the version that AP sent on to its member newspapers, which members were free to alter; most-covered topics include military operations, civil and global wars, diplomacy, refugees, cultural clashes, and terrorism, with real-time insights into the second half of the twentieth century regarding issues of global importance

Confidential print: Middle East 1839-1969: is a collection originated by the need for the British Government to preserve  the most important papers generated by the Foreign and Colonial Offices; some papers were one page letters or telegrams and others were large volumes or texts of treaties. All items marked “Confidential Print” were printed and circulated immediately to leading officials in the Foreign Office, to the Cabinet, and to Heads of British missions abroad. This collection includes the following classes from The National Archives, Kew in their entirety: CO 935/1-25 Middle East General, 1920-1956; FO 402/1-33 Afghanistan, 1922-1957; FO 406/1-84 Eastern Affairs (Middle East), 1812-1946; FO 407/1-237 Egypt/Sudan, 1839-1958; FO 416/1-113 Persia, 1899-1957; FO 423/1-70 Suez Canal, 1859-1947; FO 424/1-297 Turkey, 1841-1957; FO 437/1-9 Jordan, 1949-1957; FO 464/1-12 Arabia, 1947-1957; FO 481/1-17 Iraq, 1947-1969; FO 484/1-11 Lebanon, 1947-1957; FO 487/1-11 Middle East General, 1947-1957; FO 492/1-11 Israel/Palestine, 1947-1957; and FO 501/1-10 Syria, 1947-1956. All documents are full-text searchable.

Digital Persian Archive: includes "public" and "private" documents: royal decrees and orders, official correspondence, and shari'a court documents, such as contracts of sale and lease, vaqf deeds, marriage contracts, and court orders. It also serves as a bibliographic reference tool, being a continually updated repertoire of published historical documents.

Digitized Press and Documents from the Middle East:

East View Global Press Archive: the GPA includes both stand-alone titles and databases aggregating multiple titles from a specific region and time period. Wherever possible, titles are presented in their complete runs from the first issue. Many titles appearing in GPA will be first-ever digital versions of these publications and collectively this activity presents immense new value for scholarly research.

Harvard University Archivesthe HU Archives collects records (paper, visual and electronic), papers and manuscripts, publications, and other historical materials documenting the intellectual, cultural, administrative and social life of Harvard University from the 17th century to the present. The Archives serves as the principal repository for the institutional records of the University and faculty archives, including papers and manuscripts. The Archives seeks to document the faculty, students and academic programs at the University, as well as Harvard’s central administration, its libraries, museums, research centers and affiliated organizations. For example, the Archives holds the Papers of George A.R. Reisner, 1932-1948 (inclusive); 21 cubic feet (1 document box); Reisner graduated from Harvard in 1889 and taught Semitic languages, Semitic archaeology and Egyptology at Harvard.

Iranian Oral History Project: this is a unique resource for the study of modern Iranian history. The collection consists of the personal accounts of 134 individuals who played major roles in or were eyewitnesses to important political events in Iran from the 1920s to the 1980s. Of these, 118 narratives have been digitized and are available to researchers through this database. The collection provides scholars and practitioners the opportunity to listen to and read the personal accounts of many of Iran's former political leaders as they recall the times and events that shaped their lives and the life of their country.

Islamic Heritage Project: this is a multi-disciplinary collection of high-quality digital reproductions of more than 270 Islamic manuscripts, more than 300 published texts, and 58 maps from Harvard's renowned library and museum collections. Subjects represented include religious texts and commentaries; Sufism; history, geography, law, and the sciences (astronomy, astrology, mathematics, medicine); poetry and literature; rhetoric, logic, and philosophy; calligraphy, dictionaries and grammar, as well as biographies and autobiographical works.

U.S. Intelligence on the Middle East, 1945-2009: , this document set sheds light on the U.S. intelligence community’s spying and analytic efforts since 1945 in the Arab world, including the Middle East, the Near East, and North Africa. It covers the time period from the end of World War II to 2009, including the 2002-2003 Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) assessments, the Global War on Terror, the Iraq War, and Iran’s nuclear program

Women’s Worlds in Qajar Iran: this collection explores the lives of women during the Qajar era (1796-1925) through a wide array of materials from private family holdings and participating institutions. It provides bilingual access to thousands of personal papers, manuscripts, photographs, publications, everyday objects, works of art and audio materials, making it a unique online resource for social and cultural histories of the Qajar world