Ministry of Tourism
Collection Type: State agency/ Ministry
Collection Size: 10,000-50,000
Period: 1860-1900 1900-1930 1930-1960 1960-1980 Later than 1980
Type of Material & Format: Black and White images Colour images Digital files Film-based negatives
The photograph collection of the Ministry of Tourism was established for the promotion of tourism in Lebanon. It mainly dates from the 1940s until the present day, but also includes photographs from the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. The collection includes more than 12,000 photographs, and is composed of six collections authored by Lebanese and International photographers. The Library was created in 1967, renovated in 1993 and officially inaugurated in 1997.
In 2003, under Director General Mrs. Nada Sardouk, the collection was restored, documented, digitized, and made available to the public. The collection is accessible upon request.
Name: Ibtissam Fawaz
Address: Ministry of Tourism – Bank of Lebanon Street – Beirut
Tel: +961 1745412 ; +961 3760439
The Fouad Debbas Collection
Collection Type: Private collection
Collection Size: 10,000-50,000
Period: 1860-1900 1900-1930 1930-1960
Type of Material & Format: Black and White images Colour images Digital files Film-based negatives Glass plates positives and/or negatives Prints
The Fouad Debbas Collection (TFDC) is a private collection of postcards and photographs from the Ottoman and French mandate periods in the Middle East, covering over one hundred years from 1830-1960. The collection, assembled over twenty-six years, comprises about 35,000 images. These include approximately 16,000 postcards, 15,000 original prints (as individual prints, cabinet cards and cartes de visite or prints mounted in albums), 600 stereographs, as well as 500 slides or glass plate negatives and positives. Documents, such as letters dating from the 1860s, engravings and drawings from the first half of the 19th century, and manuscripts containing images, are also conserved in The Fouad Debbas Collection.
The documents deal mostly with the beginning of photography in the Middle East and especially in Lebanon, during the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. The photographs originate largely from professionals who had their studio in Beirut, Jerusalem, Constantinople or Cairo, such as Sebah (1823-1886) in Constantinople and Cairo, Charlier (1822-1907) and Dumas (1830-1905) in Beirut, and Beato (ca.1835-1906) in Luxor. The collection also holds an important collection of Bonfils photographs by Félix, father (1831-1885), Adrien, son (1861-1929), and Lydie, Félix’s wife (1837-1918). Based in Beirut from 1867 to the 1910s, the French Bonfils studio can be considered the most prolific producer of images of the Middle East for the European market. Other holdings include early photographs of the monuments of Egypt and Palestine by the likes of Nau de Champlouis (1833-1978), Frith (1822-1898) or Bedford (1816-1894), as well as aerial views taken by the French aviation in the 1920s-1940s, with a focus on archeological sites and city views.
The collection is catalogued and partly available on the website.
TFDC is the subject of exhibitions in Lebanon and abroad as well as a number of publications by Fouad C. Debbas: Beirut Our Memory, an illustrated tour in the old city from 1880 to 1930 (ed. Folios, 1986, reed.1994); Des photographes à Beyrouth 1840-1918 (ed. Marval, 2001); Early photographs of Mount Lebanon (ed. Folios, 1996), and Voyages en Orient, Journal de la Comtesse de Perthuis, 1853-1855 et 1860-1862 (ed. Dar An-Nahar, 2007).
Name: Yasmine Chemali, Collection representative
Other online resources: