Gest Fellow Catherine Baylin is a MA student in Middle East Studies at the American University in Cairo. Her research is on Quaker missionaries in the Middle East before World War II.
I first came to Haverford to research Quaker missionaries in Ramallah, Palestine and am delighted to be back to expand my research to include Quakers in Brumana, Lebanon. I am particularly interested in Quaker activity in the Middle East as a case study of Arab-American relations in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I hope to challenge the common perception that American missions were unambiguously colonial during this time period and explore the ways in which local residents shaped mission activity.
The collections at Haverford provide unparalleled insight into the schools, Meetings, and medical missions that Quakers established in the late 19th century. The Jones papers contain hundreds of letters and records detailing the activities and finances of the Lebanon mission. The Quaker Collection also contain early writings of Theophilus Waldmeier, the founder of the Brumana mission, as well as the collection of Daniel and Emily Oliver, who opened an orphanage nearby. No study of the Quakers in Lebanon could be complete without examining this original source material. The Quaker Collection also contains numerous published sources which are proving central to my research, including biographies, yearbooks, and memoirs.
Having the time to comb these collections at this state of my academic career is incredibly rewarding, and I would like to thank the staff and the Gest Fellowship Committee for providing me with this opportunity.