The Moore collection

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Moore Collection of Photographs at the American University of Beirut Library

This collection of black and white photographs passed through various peripeties before it landed in Jafet Library at the American University of Beirut.

Dr. Moore who was teaching at the Syrian Protestant College (which later became American University of Beirut) between 1892 and 1915, took many photographs of its campus, Lebanon and the region. The negatives were on glass plates and had become the property of another professor who had to leave the country in a rush due to the Second World War, and thus left them behind. They were placed in the attic of Van Dyck Hall and completely forgotten. In the 1960s, the attic was needed for expansion and had to be emptied. Thus the glass plates were rediscovered and salvaged. They were cleaned, repaired and identified by Dr. Raif Nassif, later Director of the School of Medicine and the Medical Center, who presented them to the Library.

Prof. Franklin T. Moore was born in Bridgeton, New Jersey in 1868. He graduated from Princeton with a B.A. in 1891. His friend and classmate J. Bucher who had joined S.P.C., described for him the place with so much interest and enthusiasm that it made him decide to share his friend's overseas adventure. F. Moore joined the College and was asked to head its English Dept. He later left to the States to earn an M.D. degree from Jefferson Medical College after which he rejoined S.P.C. and chaired the Dept. of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Physiology. He became reknown as a brilliant practitioner. He married Ethel H. Jessup, had five children, and spent the rest of his unfortunately short life in Beirut. He passed away in 1915.

Franklin T. Moore was a man of many talents. All who knew him had but excellent words for him, best summed up by Prof. W.B. Adams in his obituary: "An able, clear and forceful teacher, an accurate and skillful physician, an indefatigable worker". He also added: "Moore was an excellent photographer. He was the moving spirit in the camera club in his hometown. He brought out from America an excellent camera and took many artistic and beautiful views in Lebanon".

This collection of campus views, buildings, classes, activities that we present here is a part of his work which extends to cover Lebanon and its mountains, Syria and Palestine. We cannot but note the photographer's keen sense of observation, his love for the detail, his balanced angles; his concern for architecture, environment, people and pedagogy. It is a testimony of his time and a treasured legacy to us.

Asma Fathallah
AUB, May 27, 1997

The collection has been digitized by Al Mashriq in collaboration with the AUB Jafet Library, Special Collections and Archives.

Copyright © American University of Beirut 1997