William H. Shehadi Collection of Kahlil Gibran
Held at: Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division [Contact Us]
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division. 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
Kahlil Gibran -- Jubran Khalil Jubran (in Arabic)-- was a Lebanese-American philosophical essayist, novelist, poet, and artist. He was born in Bsharri, Lebanon, but spent much of his productive life in the United States. Due to his family's poverty, Gibran did not receive any formal schooling during his youth in Lebanon. However, priests visited him regularly and taught him about the Bible as well as the Syriac and Arabic languages. During these early days, he began developing ideas that would later form some of his major works. Gibran immigrated with his parents to America in 1895. The family settled in Boston's South End, which had a large Lebanese-American community. It was there that school officials placed Gibran in a special class for immigrants to learn English. One of his English teachers being unfamiliar with the Arabic language suggested that Gibran Anglicize the spelling of his name in order to make it more acceptable to American society; since then he became known as Kahlil Gibran.
In his early teens, the artistry of Gibran's drawings caught the eye of his teachers, and in 1898 his drawings were used for book covers. He held his first art exhibition in 1904 in Boston, and it was there that he met Mary Haskell, who was to be his benefactor all his life. In 1908, he went to study art with Auguste Rodin in Paris; and in 1912, he settled in New York City at the West Tenth Street Studio for Artists in Greenwich Village. There he devoted himself to writing literary essays and short stories, both in Arabic and in English, and to painting. While most of Gibran's early writings were in Syriac and Arabic, most of his work published after 1918 was in English.
Gibran's literary and artistic work is highly romantic and was influenced by the Bible, Friedrich Nietzsche, and William Blake. His writings in both languages, which deal with such themes as love, death, nature, and a longing for his homeland, are full of lyrical outpourings and are expressive of his deeply religious and mystic nature. His best-known work is The Prophet, a book composed of twenty-six poetic essays. During the 1960s, the book became especially popular with the American counterculture and New Age movements, and it remains popular to this day, having been translated into more than 20 languages. Gibran died in New York City, but his wish was to be buried in Lebanon. Mary Haskell and his sister, Mariana, fulfilled this wish by purchasing the Mar Sarkis Monastery in Bsharri, Lebanon, where he was buried. Kahlil Gibran remains the most popular Lebanese-American writer.
William Shehadi, M.D., was born in Providence, R.I., of Lebanese parents. He graduated from the School of Medicine of the American University of Beirut and was an emeritus professor of New York Medical College.
The collection consists of manuscripts of four published books, miscellaneous manuscript pages of unpublished works, photographs, ephemera, and printed material by and about the Lebanese author Kahlil Gibran, collected by William H. Shehadi. Included are fragments of four unpublished poems: "Lullaby," "The Last Guest," "Untitled," and "Poverty and Sundry Aphorisms." There are eleven manuscripts of the thirty-four parables and poems in the published version of Gibran's book The Madman (1918); seven of the twenty-four parables and poems of Gibran's work The Forerunner (1920); the prologue, nineteen of the twenty-six sermons, and the epilogue/farewell of Gibran's highly acclaimed book The Prophet (1923); and twenty-eight manuscript pages of the book The Earth Gods (1931), which corresponds to pages one to twenty-seven (or two thirds) of the published book. All the manuscripts contain numerous corrections, annotations, and deletions, some of them written in Arabic. Several of the chapters appear to be earlier drafts, as they are different from the final works. Included are original photographs of Gibran's studio in New York City, his grave, and scenes from Lebanon. There is a copy of William Shehadi's book Kahlil Gibran, a Prophet in the Making (published by The American University of Beirut, 1991); eleven posters; cards and postcards with his artwork; Lebanese commemorative stamps; pamphlets; envelopes and folders with inscriptions in the hand of Shehadi; and newspaper clippings.
Fifty-six printed books by and about Gibran, published in several languages including Arabic, French, Italian, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, and Yiddish, came with the collection. These were transferred to the Rare Books Division and have been catalogued separately.
William Shehadi's Kahlil Gibran, A Prophet in the Making (published by The American University of Beirut, 1991) consulted for the organization of the manuscripts.
All material was collected by William H. Shehadi.
Gift of Albert Shehadi in March, 2007.
This collection was processed by Dina Britain on April 10, 2007. Finding aid written by Dina Britain on April 10, 2007.
No appraisal information is available.
- American literature -- Lebanese American authors
- Lebanese American authors -- Manuscripts
- Lebanese Americans -- Drawings
- Lebanese Americans -- Poetry
- Mysticism and literature -- History -- 20th century -- Sources
- Manuscripts Division
- Finding Aid Author
- Dina Britain
- Finding Aid Date
- Access Restrictions
The collection is open for research.
- Use Restrictions
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.
This first series represents both published and unpublished Gibran material.
Folders are arranged by title in the order that they appear in Shehadi's book.Physical Description
No apparent arrangement scheme.
Consists of fragments of manuscripts for "Lullaby," "The Last Guest," and "Poverty and Sundry Aphorisms."Physical Description
A one-page fragment headed "A lullaby sung by a mother to her dead child."Physical Description
These lines (8 pp.), according to Shehadi, may have been intended for but not included in the next fragment.Physical Description
Two pages.Physical Description
Three pages.Physical Description
Organized alphabetically by name.
Consists of manuscripts for The Madman with corrections and notes.Physical Description
Incomplete manuscript (20 pp.) with corrections and annotations, and notes in Arabic, which correspond to eleven of the thirty-four poems of the published work.Physical Description
Organized alphabetically by name.
Consists of manuscripts for The Forerunner with corrections and notes.Physical Description
Incomplete manuscript (12 pp.) with corrections and annotations, which correspond to seven of the twenty-four parables and poems of the published work.Physical Description
Organized aplhabetically by name.
Consists of manusctips for The Prophet with corrections and notes.Physical Description
Incomplete manuscript with corrections and annotations, made up of four separate books or parts. These include a title page, an incomplete table of contents, a Prologue, and nineteen of the twenty-six sermons, some in more than one draft; and finally the epilogue/farewell.Physical Description
Organized alphabetically by name.
Consists of manuscripts for The Earth Gods with corrections and notes.Physical Description
Incomplete manuscript, consisting of a notebook with twenty five-written pages with many corrections and annotations. They correspond to pp. 1- 27 (or about two thirds) of the Knopf printed version.Physical Description
These include Gibran's studio on West 10th street in New York, his desk at the studio; photos of his grave, the Cedars of Lebanon; and photos of pages from the manuscript The Prophet. Also includes a copy of photograph of Gibran, his bedroom as a child in Lebanon, and a copy of a photograph of Gibran's bedroom which was transported from his New York City Studio apartment to the Museum in Bsharri, Lebanon. Many of the photographs are inscribed on the verso by Shehadi.
Folders are arranged first by original photographs, followed in the second folder by photograph copies.Physical Description
Includes cards and postcards, copies of artwork, postage stamps, pamphlets, envelopes and folders, newspaper clippings, posters, and a copy of William Shehadi's book about Gibran's work.
Folders are arranged in alphabetical order by subject.Physical Description
One volume.Physical Description
Includes blank cards depicting Gibran's artwork.Physical Description
Contains copies of Gibran's artwork and a CD-ROM with photographs of Gibran's art collection.Physical Description
Contains the original enclosures which housed the manuscripts; most of which are inscribed by William Shehadi.Physical Description
Contains clippings of articles about Gibran, in English and in Arabic.Physical Description
Includes pamphlets in English, Arabic, and French for seminars or dedications about Gibran.Physical Description
Includes a CD-Rom and copies of Gibran's artwork.Physical Description
Consists of eleven posters, in English and Arabic, of Gibran's artwork or of commemorative occasions about him.Physical Description
Contains commemorative Lebanese postage stamps of Gibran.Physical Description