The Archive

Rich Egyptian Archive of Photos, Artifacts, and More Comes to the NYUAD Library

The Abu Shadi family, at the pyramids at Giza, circa late 1920s-early 1930s.
The Abu Shadi family, at the pyramids at Giza, circa late 1920s-early 1930s.

Over 40 boxes of correspondence, unpublished manuscripts, and photographs, offer valuable insight into the life of the famous Egyptian poet, doctor, and bee scientist Ahmed Zaki Abu Shadi

Press Release: The NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) Library has acquired the archive of Egyptian poet, publisher, medical doctor, and bee scientist Ahmed Zaki Abu Shadi, who lived from 1892-1955. Containing over 40 boxes of correspondence, unpublished manuscripts, and photographs, as well as paintings and artifacts, the archive was acquired from Abu Shadi’s granddaughter, Joy Amina Garnett, earlier this year.

Abu Shadi was best known as a poet and founder of the literary journal Apollo, which was published in Cairo from 1932-1934, and for the group of poets affiliated with it. As a young man, he spent a decade in Britain, where he studied medicine at the University of London and set up a medical practice, at the same time developing a lifelong interest in bees and beekeeping, co-founding the Apis Club and its journal, Bee World.

Returning to Egypt with his English wife Annie in 1922, the couple raised three children. Subsequently, the family immigrated to the United States, where Abu Shadi continued to write poetry and worked for the Voice of America, producing Arabic and English broadcasts on literary topics.

The Abu Shadi archival collection contains a rich selection of material documenting these activities, as well as papers from his daughter Safeya, who worked for the Saudi Embassy in Washington DC, as well as with the US Information Agency. Following the cataloging and processing of the collection, and the eventual reopening of the Library, the Abu Shadi collection will be available for use in the Archives and Special Collections department of the Library.

Brad Bauer

“We are really pleased to be able to add such a richly varied archival collection to our holdings. Abu Shadi’s life and activities represent a number of areas that intersect with a variety of research questions and interests, focusing not only on modern Arabic literature, but also on the experiences of the Arab diaspora in places like England and the United States, and the influence of figures like Abu Shadi who mediated between Arabic and Western cultures.”

Associate Academic Librarian for Archives and Special Collections at NYUAD Library, Brad Bauer
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October 19, 2020

Middle East Librarians Association (MELA)

MELA Annual Conference 2020: “Pandemic, Crisis, and Cultural Institutions: The Intersection of Library Work with COVID-19 and Other Crises.”
Panel: Recovering Hidden/Historical/Special Collections. How the collection found a home at the Archives and Special Collections of NYU Abu Dhabi Library in the midst of a global pandemic: 

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NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) Library