Women's Collections in Egypt: Insights into the American University in Cairo’s Rare Books and Special Collections Library and the Women and Memory Forum's Archives

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Stephen Urgola; Maissan Hassan

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Research Article

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Collections: A Journal for Museum and Archives Professionals

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Two institutions of relatively small size play a major role in documenting women’s history in Egypt: the Rare Books and Special Collections Library (RBSCL) of the American University in Cairo (AUC) and the Women and Memory Forum (WMF), a feminist research center in Cairo. This article presents case studies of these institutions’ efforts. The AUC RBSCL’s collections are described, including those of leading 20th-century feminist leaders Huda Sharaawi (1879–1947), Doria Shafik (1908–1975), and Aziza Hussein (1919–2015), as are oral history initiatives related to women’s history. The article also discusses programs and collections of the WMF, including private papers collections such as that of activist Wedad Mitri (1927–2007), and its Archive of Women’s Oral History, which documents women’s lives in Egypt and beyond. The initiatives in Egypt of the RBSCL and the WMF indicate how institutions can employ archival collecting, oral history, and outreach-like exhibitions to document and highlight women’s historical contributions

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