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Sneak Peek: Mapping Syrian-American businesses

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In 1908 Salloum Mokarzel (the brother of Naoum Mokarzel, the publisher of Al-Huda, one of the earliest Arabic newspapers in the US)  and H.F. Otash published an Arabic/English directory of the businesses owned by “Syrians” (as all early immigrants from the Eastern Mediterranean were called) in the US.

Business_Directory_-_SampleThe Syrian-American Business Directories cataloged the businesses of the time and served as a link between traders and manufacturers and their American counterparts. From a cultural perspective, the Directories also proclaimed Syrians as “born businessmen” who fit naturally into the American capitalist economy.

The books contained English print on one side and Arabic script on the other. They contain hundreds of paging featuring thousands of businesses (3,300 to be exact). Recently, the Khayrallah Center mapped them in 2 different types of maps, for use by the public! The maps filter by Place of Origin of the businessmen, and By Profession (or what they sold; fruits, dry goods, silks, etc). Just choose options from the drop-down menus and the maps will geo-locate your results.

We’re still working on the Maps, so be patient! For now, go ahead and try out the features!

For more information, check out the Maps page and the first blog post that featured the Directories as primary sources in learning more about the community.

 

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