SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY RECEIVES A LARGE MIDDLE EASTERN BOOK COLLECTION


The MESP extends a warm thank you to Dr. Khalil I. Semaan, Professor Emeritus of Arabic at Binghamton University, for donating his personal book collection on the Middle East to Syracuse University Library. Dr. Semaan’s gift consists of approximately 3,000 items, and constitutes his personal research library collected over a period of more than forty years. The extensive collection provides a strong core of research support for the developing Middle Eastern Studies Program.

Dr. Semaan was born in 1920 in Safita, Syria and immigrated to the United States in 1950. He taught exten- sively on Islamic Culture, Islamic Government, Islamic Law and Jurisprudence, Medieval Arabic Thought, Ibn Khaldun’s Muqaddima, and the Linguistic Structure of Arabic. The collection reflects Dr. Semaan’s particular interest in the study of the Middle East, Arabic, and Islamic culture and history. Additional subject coverage includes the Crusades, medieval history (Middle East and Europe), linguistics, politics, economics, modern history, and development. Consisting primarily of 20th century items, the gift includes many seminal works in Arabic, English, French, and German; significant runs of several periodical titles; and a number of items in Spanish, Persian, and Hebrew. A particular strength of the collection is the number of works by modern and contemporary Arab literary writers.

“Professor Semaan’s gift represents the largest donation of books related to the Middle East in the universi- ty’s history and will help us improve our collection in the vernacular languages of this important region,” said Mehrzad Boroujerdi, founding director of the Middle Eastern Studies Program at Syracuse University.

“Professor Semaan was particularly gratified for his collection to go to Syracuse University Library, in the knowledge that it would make a real contribution to the development of Middle Eastern and Islamic stud- ies there,” said Ali Houissa, Middle East and Islamic Studies Librarian at Cornell University, who, along with Gurnek Singh, Asian Studies Librarian at Syracuse University Library (now retired), met with Dr. Semaan and conducted an on-site evaluation of the collection.

To discuss a possible donation, please contact Martha Hanson, Social Sciences & Area Studies Bibliographer at (315) 443-1947 or mjhanson@syr.edu.