This collection of a few hundred books, manuscripts, correspondence, and serials was partially donated to the AUB Libraries by Dr. Najm's daughters (the rest was purchased). It contains some important first editions of early Arabic imprints, classical dictionaries, linguistic treatises, Islamic studies works, tabaqat literature, early encyclopedias, and a few rare items (including the first original edition of a full run of Abū-Naẓẓāra). It also contains some correspondence with Arab authors and scholars, as well as a few manuscripts of early Arabic and Egyptian plays, some of which were never published. Examples of items in the collection include: ʻAbd al-Maʼmūn, al-ʻaskarī wa Daryūs, Kalyūbātirā; works by Aḥmad Abū Khalīll Qabbānī: Nākir al-jamīl, al-Qāʼid al-khāʼin; Badīʻ Khayri; Najīb al-Rīḥānī: titles include: al-rijālā mā yaʻrifūsh yakdibū, min ayna laka hadhā, Mīn yiʻanīd Sitt.
This is an important resource for researchers interested in Arabic language, poetry and literature, the Arabic novel and short story, the theater, as well as the history of Arabic printing and cultural studies in general.
A graduate of the Arab College in Jerusalem, Professor Najm earned his BA and MA (Arabic Literature) from AUB in 1946 and 1948, respectively, and his Ph.D. in Arabic Language and Literature from Fouad Al-Awwal University in Cairo in 1954. He held several teaching positions at the International College (IC) as well as at AUB where he served as Professor of Arabic Literature from 1964 to 1990. He also served as librarian for the Arab League Institute for Graduate Studies in 1953-54 and as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Welfare Association of Geneva. Dr. Najm was a pioneer scholar, a beloved teacher, and a fine scholar who worked hard to promote, support and highlight the social and cultural significance of the Arabic novel and short story, of the theater and of poetry for Arab societies. He was known for his love of al Mutanabbi. Part of his personal book and periodical collection is available at the Institute for Palestine Studies.