Newspapers were printed on low-quality paper, and were often discarded after reading, and, sadly, many publishers’ archives were lost, often through disasters such as fire.
As a result, some of these newspapers may be lost to time.
Though most were published in Arabic, some publications were fully or partially bilingual.
In the 1920s some papers were published in the languages of the new countries—including English, Spanish, and Portuguese—in order to engage the children and grandchildren of first-generation immigrants, many of whom were not fluent or literate in Arabic; an important example of this is , which explicitly sought younger audiences.
Many newspapers may be preserved by private collectors, held in local archives, sold in antique shops, or kept among family papers and archives.
For example, a community historian and collector in Lawrence, Massachusetts owns copies of , a newspaper published in that community in the early twentieth century previously thought to be lost.This is evident in the first North American Arabic newspaper, contained news about events in the Ottoman Empire as well as reporting on American politics and community issues.The newspapers, even the many that lasted only a few years before succumbing to competitors and financial challenges, also represent the diversity present within early immigrant communities.Khayrallah Center researchers have identified over 140 newspapers, literary journals, and magazines published in North and South America during this time frame.The Khayrallah Center intends to locate and digitize the surviving Arabic newspapers published in North and South America before 1950 and make them available to researchers around the world.In the coming years, we plan to expand our scope to include the newspapers published in Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico, all of which were home to significant communities of Syrian and Lebanese immigrants.An ongoing element of this project depends on collaboration with institutions and individuals.In New York City alone, there were newspapers representing numerous religious groups and political viewpoints, representing Maronite and Orthodox religions as well as various views towards the Ottoman Empire and, after World War I, the question of national independence and identity.The newspapers additionally reveal both how culture and identity changed and was preserved across generations.A collaboration with the Lawrence Public Library Special Collections led us to digitize their holdings of , in their family collection.While these represent long runs of the newspapers, even single issues are treasures which enrich the historic record.