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Daniel and Emily Oliver papers


Held at: Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections [Contact Us]370 Lancaster Ave, Haverford, PA 19041

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Daniel Oliver (1870-1952) was born in Scotland to Scots Presbyterians. He was educated to the age of 15 or 16 and then became a missionary in Morocco. In 1890, Oliver went to Palestine. He then studied Arabic at the American Mission in Beirut and worked at a mission school in Brummana (then Syria, now Lebanon). In 1895, Daniel Oliver married Emily Wright, a member of the Society of Friends and a fellow member of the mission school faculty. After their wedding, the Olivers went to work at a mission school in Ras el-Metn (then Syria, now Lebanon) which also provided vocational training to orphans. Daniel Oliver became a member of the Society of Friends in ca. 1907. In 1908, Daniel Oliver became principal of the Boys' School at Brummana and Emily Oliver became its manager and from 1909 was also in charge of the Girls's High School. The Olivers returned to Ras el-Metn in 1910. As a result of World War I, with the invasion of Turkey into Syria, and famine, many children were made orphans. In 1915, the Olivers opened an orphanage for both Druse and Christian children, educating them for careers as teachers, administrators, and the like. The children were also taught skills such as carpentry, shoe repair, sewing, and painting. In addition, the Olivers started a local industry of carpetmaking and needle work; the goods were sold abroad. From 1936 to 1946, Daniel Oliver published an Arabic weekly designed to promote peace in the Middle East. He was awarded the Lebanese Order of Merit by the President of Lebanon as well as a golden medal ten years later for his efforts on behalf of Peace between Arabs and Jews.

Douglas Oliver was the son of Daniel and Emily Oliver who served as treasurer, based in Philadelphia, of the orphanages.

Hubert Cooper, based in Philadelphia, was chairman of the board of the orphanages.

Biographical information from the Dictionary of Quaker Biography and internal evidence.

The papers consist primarily of correspondence between the Olivers and supporters of their work, Marriott and Jane Morris, Elliston and Ann Morris, Thomas and Ethel Potts and Grace and William Rhoads, concerning the work of the orphanage and school at Ras el-Metn, and the schools at Brummana; also included are photographs of the buildings, some children and faculty. Correspondence is from both Daniel and Emily Oliver and begins in 1907. Topics include financial and educational information, general reports on the school, world events such as World Wars I and II and the situation in the Middle East, refugees, and Daniel's travel to Palestine. There are also some materials from after Daniel Oliver's death in 1952, showing the next phase of the school.

Correspondence is arranged in chronological order.

Original processing information unknown. Reboxed and revised by Lilly Sweeney, March 2020.

Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use

Use Restrictions

Standard Federal Copyright Law Applies (U.S. Title 17)

Collection Inventory

Archival Resource Key. Letters, 1907-1920, 1907-1920.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Topics Include: Administration of schools in Lebanon, Daniel Oliver is taken an a prisoner of war, and appropriations for various programs.

Archival Resource Key. Letters, 1921-1934, 1921-1934.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Topics Include: A report and letters on the situation of Armenian and Greek Refugees, some of the orphans' progress and grades in school, general progress reports on the Orphanage, and the Arab-Israeli conflict in Palestine, among others.

Archival Resource Key. Letters, 1935-1960, 1935-1960.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Topics Include: General Progress Reports of the Orphanages, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the American's Friends Service Committee, the Orphanage School, the death of Daniel Oliver, among others.

Archival Resource Key. Photographs.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

A variety of photographs of the children, staff, and teachers at the orphanage.

Archival Resource Key. Photos of Students and Staff at the Daniel and Emily Oliver Orphanage.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Photographs of the students of the Orphanage's school. Includes a photograph of the graduating class of 1930 and class of 1929.

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