Collection Type: Library Research center
Collection Size: 1,000-10,000
Period: 1900-1930 1930-1960 1960-1980 Later than 1980
Type of Material & Format: Film-based negatives Glass plates positives and/or negatives Slides (positives)
The Institute for Palestine Studies (IPS) is a private, independent, non-profit organization, established in Beirut in 1963. It is dedicated to documentation, research, analysis, and publication on Palestinian affairs, as well as the Arab-Israeli conflict.
The IPS began seriously collecting photographs in the early 1970s as a vital part of the cultural heritage and historical record of the Palestinian people. IPS is particularly proud to have amassed an archive in which photographs by Palestinians predominate.
Together, the various IPS collections total over 10,000 photos, many of them historical and unique, constituting a precious resource for those interested not only in the history of Palestine but also in the history of photography. The collections span the late 19th century to recent times, but by far the richest holdings are from the pre-1948 period. The subject matter ranges from Palestinian daily life (occupational, cultural, and leisure pursuits of all classes and population groups), through landscape and architecture, to military, public, and political activities and events. The some 400 photographs showcased in Walid Khalidi’s classic Before Their Diaspora: A Photographic History of the Palestinians, 1876-1948 (first published in 1984) were all selected from the various IPS collections. With regard to the post-1948 period, the photographs cover in particular life in refugee camps, the 1967 war, and periods of the Lebanese civil war, including the 1982 Israeli invasion. The collections came to IPS by donation or purchase.
The most important of the IPS collections is that of Khalil Raad, comprising some 3,000 photographs dating from the late 19th century to the eve of the 1948 war. Acquired from Khalil Raad’s family in 1978, it constitutes the photographer’s own personal archive and is the largest collection of his work in existence. The photographs portray all aspects of Palestinian life, urban and rural, from the Ottoman to the late Mandate period, as well as landscapes, towns, and villages, religious and archeological monuments, portraits of prominent personalities (especially political and religious figures), and religious and public event.
Another important collection is the Jawhariyah collection, containing seven albums of photographs (around 859 photographs) carefully selected over a period of decades by the Palestinian musician and memoirist, Wasif Jawhariyah, and seven corresponding notebooks describing the photos, covering the photographic history of Palestine during the late Ottoman and British mandate periods.
Other holdings include: the IPS Photo collection, comprising 469 photographs, mostly from 1900 to 1948, donated to IPS by various individuals, families, and institutions; the PLO collection, comprising 107 photographs from the PLO Information and Culture Department from the period 1920-1948; the Fifth of June Society collection with 185 photographs by Khalil Raad covering the period 1900-1945; the Imperial War Museum collection, which contains around 202 photographs, and covers the period of the British mandate in Palestine; the Eric Matson collection, which includes around 229 photographs of Palestine under the British mandate originating from Jerusalem’s American Colony hotel and purchased by IPS from the U.S. Library of Congress; the Husayni collection, which contains around 55 photographs given to IPS by Hajj Amin al-Husayni, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, depicting the Mufti both in Palestine and during visits abroad; the UNRWA collection, comprising around 630 photographs given to IPS by UNRWA and showing the refugee camps in the early years, from the late 1940s into the 1950s; the Arif al-Arif collection, consisting of 412 photographs mainly relating to the 1967 war, including the Palestinian exodus it triggered and scenes of destruction; and the IPS photo archives, comprising some 3,500 photographs from various sources (e.g. the United Nations, PLO, news agencies) amassed by IPS over the years of pre-1948 Palestine, the June 1967 war (including military action, destruction, and Security Council meetings), and Israel’s attack on Jordan in 1968.
The collection is housed at the IPS Library in Beirut. It is catalogued and available on an internal electronic database, with plans to make the collection accessible on the website. The collection has been featured in journals including Majallat al-Dirasat al-Filastiniyah, Jerusalem quarterly and Journal of Palestine Studies, and in publications such as Family Papers: Social modern history studies of Palestine, and British Mandate Jerusalem in the Jawhariyah Memories.
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