AUB Libraries Online Exhibits

Per Kongstad Collection (1959 - 1964)

In the 1960s the researchers Per Kongstad and Samir Khalaf from the University of Copenhagen (UC) in Denmark and the American University of Beirut (AUB) respectively, joined forces to investigate the urban development of several neighborhoods in Beirut. The project focused on the demographics of the city and its influence on the diverse development of its districts. An extensive survey was carried out of the Hamra District of Ras Beirut (northwestern part of Beirut) between 1964 and 1967. The results of the research were published in a book entitled "Hamra of Beirut – A case of Rapid Urbanisation" in 1973. This collection includes primary source documents compiled for the book, and the survey. Dr. Rasmus Ole Rasmussen from the Roskilde University Center (RUC) (Denmark) donated the valuable material to the AUB Archives, in the hope that it would play a substantial role in supporting further research on urbanization and urban planning of the city.

The collection consists of black and white as well as colored photographs and slides of Lebanon mainly Beirut, Chouf and Saida; slides and photographs of Kuwait, and Jordan along with personal notebooks of Kongstad as well as postcards of Lebanon: Beirut, Aley, Beit Mery, Jordan, Syria, Palestine and Turkey. Per Kongstad’s wife Mette Mønsted lent the materials, after his death in 1982, for storage at RUC to make it available for further research, and from there, Mr. Rasmus Rasmussen reached out to us to repatriate the material at AUB.This collection fills a gap in the AUB Archives collections. It documents Beirut and specifically the Hamra area during the golden days of the 1960s and sheds light on the Kuwait and Jordan during the same era. It is important for researchers interested in urbanization, sociology and anthropology.