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Middle East & North Africa Collections at the Hoover Institution Library & Archives

Introduction to the Collection

The Middle East collection was formally established in 1948 with the appointment of its first curator, Dr. Christina Phelps Harris, and the acquisition of the libraries of James Heyworth-Dunne, Hidayet Dağdeviren, and Richard P. Mitchell. Building on this foundation, the collection now includes materials on political and social movements in the Middle East and North Africa, relations with the U.S. and Europe, education development, and military affairs.

View the holdings by country/region on the left side. 

Afghan Serials Collection


With the launch of the Afghan Serials Collection, the Hoover Institution Library & Archives hosts the largest single collection of digitized publications from Afghanistan. To date more than 850,000 pages have been digitized and are now available online. The collection includes over 400 publications from the 1960s through the 2000s, ranging from royalist to revolutionary and covering a wide range of topics from political movements to cultural life.

The Afghan Serials Collection is a major contribution to the preservation of Central Asian history, especially as its online presence increases the accessibility of this material for research. It originally began as a collection of under 30 titles, which were digitized and made available online in 2016. Later that year, the Library & Archives acquired the Wahdat Library Newspaper and Journal Collection, which included hundreds more titles.

The digital collection is now available to Stanford affiliates. Transcriptions have been machine-generated using optical character recognition (OCR) for material in English, Pashto, Farsi, and Arabic, making full text searches and machine translation possible. The digitization of the collection also includes robust descriptions and metadata for all the online records. The collection is a valuable resource for students, scholars, humanitarian organizations, and area experts seeking to understand recent Afghan history.

History of the Collection: Middle East

The Middle East Collection was formally established in 1948, nearly thirty years after the founding of the Hoover Institution. The Institution has, however, held materials on the Middle East since its earliest days, including documents on the role of the Ottoman Empire in World War I; records of the American Relief Administration (ARA) in Turkey, the American Red Cross, and the Near East Relief, which cooperated with the ARA and the Red Cross in Turkey, Iran, and Syria; and documents from the Paris Peace Conference of 1919.

The establishment of the Middle East Collection in 1948 placed the collecting of Middle East materials on a systematic footing. Building on the foundation of holdings from World War I and its immediate aftermath, the Collection was developed by a combination of major purchases and a program of systematic acquisitions. Early major purchases included the libraries of James Heyworth-Dunne, Hidayet Dagdeviren, M. Huseyin Tutya, and Richard P. Mitchell.

In the 1960s and late 1970s and briefly in the early 1980s, the Middle East Collection participated in the Middle East acquisitions programs run by the Library of Congress office in Cairo, Egypt. In 1976, the work of the Middle East Collection was measurably curtailed for budgetary reasons and acquisitions reduced. In 1983 the collection was restored to full activity, and a new program of acquisition of Arabic, Turkish, Persian, and Western-language materials was inaugurated and remains in effect.


1948–1957: Christina Phelps Harris, Curator
1957–1958: John Derek Latham, Curator
1958–1962: Nicholas Heer, Curator
1962–1963: Peter Duignan, Curator
1962–1977: Michel Nabti, Assistant Curator
1963–1976: George Rentz, Curator
1976–1995: Peter Duignan, Curator
1983–2001: Edward Jajko, Deputy Curator
2002–2002: Edward Jajko, Curator