AUB Libraries Online Exhibits


Forward Reading Club, 1906.jpg

Forward Reading Club, 1906; Archives and Special Collections, Jafet Library, AUB

Few primary source documents have survived that give us a first-hand or "grassroots" account of what it was like to be a student at a nascent American College in the Middle East at the end of the nineteenth and early part of the twentieth century, right as the region was taking shape with the formation of many nation states as we know them today. SPC in Beirut was the second American college to be founded in 1866 after Robert College which was established in Istanbul, Turkey in 1863. Many official, administrative, institutional and academic documents detailing the founding and evolution of one of the earliest and most influential American Liberal Arts Colleges in the region have survived. Most of these documents are currently housed at the Archives of Jafet Library, but unfortunately, very few of them were written from a student's first person perspective. By contrast, the many titles displayed here, which were edited, written and published by students, and for the most part, for students, do describe life on campus and beyond in the students' own voices, and thus constitute an invaluable and unique source of information for researchers.