Introduction

Women Pioneers in Arab Press (1892-1925)

 

During the 19th century, the Arab world witnessed the rise of pioneer figures who struggled to revive Classical Arabic literature. They produced important works, which paved the way for further future achievements. They were succeeded, in the late 19th  and early 20th  centuries, by a group of committed authors, who laid the foundation of modern Journalism, drama, fiction and poetry. They produced  neo-classical literature, and their works were characterized by deep interest in social reform. 

 

Women, as well as men, participated in the movement and several women writers emerged. Those writers, alongside their claims in women’s emancipation, joined in the general claim for national independence, social justice, and educational reform.

 

 

Their claims were presented in papers and magazines, and their movement was translated by the birth of many women associations, literary salons, and publication of books and journals. 

 

The exhibition “Women Pioneers in Arab Press (1892-1925)” introduces ten pioneer women, beginning with Hind Nawfal, who was the first to start a women’s magazine in 1892, and ending with Fatima al Youssef, with her well-acclaimed newspaper “Rus el Youssef”, published in 1925. Biographies also include Alexandra Khoury, Rose Antun, Labibah Hashem, Mary Ajami, Mary Yanni, Najla Abi Lama’, Julia To’meh, and Afifah Saab.  

 

These pioneer journalists chose the press to raise awareness about specific issues they encountered as Arab women, such as access to education, public life, and economic independence.  

 

The exhibition also highlights the journals they published, exhibiting the first issue editorial whenever available, in addition to sample articles they wrote, and other supporting material. This online version is based on a physical exhibition that was on display in Jafet Library from March 8 until April 8, 2022.

 

Exhibit Curator: Mirna Kalash

Acknowledgments: With much appreciation to Dr. Mariette Atallah for her support in content development, Mrs. Fatme Charafeddine for her feedback, Mrs. Mona Assi for technical support, Mr. Elie Kahale and the digitization team for digitization, Mr. Jad Zahran and the conservation team, Mrs. Sahar Ghandour for text editing, and Ms. Sara Jawad for design. 

 

American University of Beirut / University Libraries / Bliss Street / P.O.Box 11-0236 / Riyad El-Solh, Beirut 11072020 Lebanon / ulcontactus@aub.edu.lb