Skip to Main Content

Middle East Visual Culture: Rubenstein Library

Photographic Collections

Special collections & manuscript materials are handled according to rules and procedures established by Rubenstein Library. Please consult Rubenstein's Research page before you request any items.

Bonfils, Félix and Georges Saboungi.
Palestine photograph albums, ca. 1881.
Rubenstein Library Library Service Center Box 1 & 2
Check availability @ Duke
Holmes, Randolph Bezant, 1888-1973.
R. B. Holmes photographs, 1910-1919 and undated.
Rubenstein Library Library Service Center Fully Processed: Box 1-3
Finding Aid/Guide
Check availability @ Duke
Collection of ninety-two 11.5 x 9.5" black-and-white photographic prints of Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan. The images were taken by British photographer R. B. (Randolph Bezzant) Holmes and possibly others from his studio who traveled with him. Holmes was the owner of the R. B. Holmes & Co. photography studio in Peshawar, Pakistan. The majority of these detailed images were taken during the end of the Anglo-Afghan war in 1919 and depict large British military camps and vast landscapes, sometimes with camel caravans or military convoys. Some scenes show the remains of villages, military features such as towers, and religious structures. There are also portraits of individuals along with scenic views. Several of the images have been hand-tinted, probably by Holmes himself.
Jewett, Milo A. (Milo Augustus), 1857-1921.
Milo A. Jewett albumen photographs of northern Turkey, 1891-1894 and undated.
Rubenstein Library - Library Service Center Fully Processed: Box 1 Check availability @ Duke
Summary: Physician, amateur photographer, and American consul in Turkey (Sivas, 1892-1905 and Trebizond, 1905-1911).
Collection comprises 19 images of various locations in the northern provinces, including 18 mounted albumen photographs probably taken by Jewett, along with one published view of Sivas attributed to Franklin Eng Co, Boston. All but one of the images is captioned, and several photographs an additional information written on the back of the mount. Ten of the photographs were taken in Sivas; other locations identified include the Kızıl Irmak River, Tokat Plain, and Divaik[?]. Two of the photographs document the quarantine camps established during a cholera outbreak in 1894. Other subjects include housing conditions, street life, and the Seljuk Gateway and ruin. There are individual photographs of groups of people, including Armenian Christian women returning from a prayer meeting, a father and his daughters, a graduating class of local teachers, and attendees at a hanging of a murderer. A boxlist listing the photographs and their captions is stored with the materials.
Rosenthal, Mel.
Mel Rosenthal photographs and papers, 1975-2004
Rubenstein Library
Finding aid
Includes 25 16x20 and 21 11x14 gelatin silver prints from Rosenthal's exhibit "ARAB AMERICANS - AMERICAN BY CHOICE." This exhibit documented Arabic-speaking Americans, many of whom were living in New York State. Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts.
Sebah & Joaillier.
Panorama de Constantinople : pris de la tour de Galata
ca. 1878-ca. 1890.
Rubenstein Library E f#1559 Rare Books Check availability @ Duke
Summary: Panoramic vista of Constantinople in an accordion-fold format encompassing approx. 270 degrees, taken from the Galata Tower looking across the quarter of Galata towards the Tophane district and the Bosporus beyond, then to the outer Golden Horn harbor and the tip of the Istanbul peninsula with the Palace of Topkapi, then sweeping across the city inland along the Golden Horn waterfront towards the district of Eyüp.
Sykes, Sir Percy. 
Photographs taken by Lt. Col. Sir Percy Sykes to illustrate Chinese Turkestan, the Russian Pamirs and Osh April-November, 1915
Bound photograph album containing 48 photographs taken by Sir Percy Moleworth Sykes during his travels in a mountainous region of Central Asia, now the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China, with his sister, Ella Sykes. The gelatin silver prints measure approximately 4 1/2 x 6 3/4 inches and are window-mounted two to a page with calligraphic captions in white ink. Subjects include landscapes, strategic buildings such as forts and trading posts, and local Uighur, Beg, Kyrgyz, and Kazak people and their dwellings and animals, as well as British, Russian, Turkish, and Chinese people and officials. Specific locations in captions include Kashgar, the Tuman River, Yarkand, Khotan, Merkit, Bulunkul, the Pamirs, Tashkurgan, Muztagh Ata, Karakul lake, Tian Shan mountains, and Osh. The images are large, crisp, and rich with detail, offering views of a remote area and its culture during tensions in the decades following the Russo-Turkish War.
Rubenstein Library: Reading Room only Check availability @ Duke
Watts, George Washington, 1851-1921.
George Washington Watts photograph albums, [188-?]
Rubenstein Library: Reading Room only Check availability @ Duke
Summary: Collection (03-111) comprises two photograph albums of albumen prints collected by Watts during a trip to the Middle East. The albums contain photographs made by a number of prominent 19th-century photographers working in the Middle East, including A. Beato, Félix Bonfils, Gulmez Freres, Reiser, G. Lekegian, Sebah & Joaillier, and Zangaki.

Poster Collections

Special collections & manuscript materials are handled according to rules and procedures established by Rubenstein Library. Please consult Rubenstein's Research page before you request any items.

Arabic film posters, 1957-2008 and undated.
Rubenstein Library LSC, OC:VI:3 - Folder 1-2 Check availability @ Duke
Palestinian and Lebanese Poster collection, 1960-1991.
Click here to see Finding aid
Rubenstein Library
6th 16:D Acc. 09/128: Box 1 c.1
6th 16:D Acc. 09/128: Box 2 c.1
6th 16:D Acc. 09/128: Box 3 c.1
OC:VIII:5 Acc. 09/128: Ovsz. Folder 1

Summary: The majority of the collection consists of political posters from Palestine and tourism posters from Lebanon. Also included are some travel brochures and pamphlets about various sites in Jordan, Syria, Yemen, Egypt, and Lebanon. Materials largely date from the 1960s-1980s.
Al-Qaida posters, about 2001.
Rubenstein Library Ovsz. Box 25 Folder 1-2 Check availability @ Duke
Summary: Collection comprises 23 posters printed in Pakistan. Posters feature images of Osama Bin Laden, often accompanied by text from the Koran, as well as Islamic or jihadist slogans. The posters range in size from 14x19 in. to 26x35 in. Several posters are printed on the backs of other, previously printed material, including printer's page proofs for two English texts, an inspirational poster, and a Pakistani government poster. The majority of the posters repeat identical religious or martial images, rearranged. One poster features an image from the bombing of the Twin Towers on September 11th. The text is written in Arabic and Urdu; translation of some Urdu text and citations for the Qur'anic passages accompany the material.
Turkish political poster collection, 1945-1978 and undated.
Rubenstein Library Ovsz. Box XX OC:VIII:XX Fully Processed: Folder 1-4
Description: see Finding Aid
United Nations Development Fund for Women.
Jordanian posters on women's issues, 2007.
Rubenstein Library Ovsz. Box 43 Folder 1 Check availability @ Duke
Collection comprises 11 posters on women's issues. Nine were part of a series co-sponsored by UNIFEM and Jordan's Wizārat al-ʻAmal., and use comics and political satire as part of a campaign to support the proper treatment of and respect for women domestic workers, many of whom are migrants from Indonesia and the Philippines. The cartoons used in this series were created by Abu-Mahjub. The other two posters were co-sponsored by UNIFEM and the Jordanian National Forum for Women, and offer general, feminist statements encouraging women to speak up for their rights, such as "your voice makes a comprehensive society." Text is Arabic; however, the series of nine posters also features English translations.