Popular Press Holdings in the Middle East Department

Prior to and during the early years of electronic library catalogs, the Middle East Department maintained a number of lists and catalogs of materials relevant to our users and made them available in printed form in our office. Those lists included materials that had not been cataloged and could not be found by searching the library's catalog, so proved quite useful. As lists such as this one include much that remains uncataloged, we are putting them online in an effort to make as much information as possible available to patrons.

This list was compiled over many years, but has not been updated since approximately the mid-1990s. Nonetheless, it contains information about holdings that can be found no other way.

For further information, please consult a staff member in the Middle East Department office, JRL 560 (open Monday through Friday, 9AM to 5PM), or contact Marlis Saleh.

The full catalog is available for download as a PDF (170 pages). It includes an introduction (about 25 pages) with bibliographies and a chronology of publications in various countries, regions and languages, followed by detailed catalogs of publications divided as follows (page counts are approximate).

I. Arabic (20 pages)
II. Armenian, Azeri, Georgian, Kurdish and Russian (2 pages)
III. English, French and Hebrew (9 pages)
IV. Persian (54 pages)
V. Ottoman / Turkish (55 pages)
Appendices (7 pages): Persian Newspapers published in India, Middle Eastern Newspapers at CRL, Middle Eastern Newspapers Currently Received by the Library, Official Gazettes in the Middle East Department

Select bibliographies are included at the end of each section.


Please note: The catalog reflects the state of the collection approximately 20 years ago. In that time, new materials have been acquired, some uncataloged materials have been cataloged, and some items have been moved. It is, therefore, important to communicate with the Middle East Department to determine how to access materials—especially those listed as uncataloged.

Introduction: Survey of the Popular Press in the Islamic World


The introduction of a popular newspaper and serial press to the Islamic world came with the introduction of the western newspaper form itself, in part a product of 18th century European, particularly French, influence on the Ottoman government in Istanbul, and Napoleon's invasion of Egypt in 1798-1801. The rapid development of newspaper and serial publications in the Islamic world reflects the growing local sense of awareness of European culture, nationalism, and popular interest in political and cultural affairs on a public level which characterized the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. (Brief accessible surveys of the popular press in the Islamic world are to be found in the article "Djarida" in the first and second editions of the Encyclopedia of Islam, and in the article "Basın" in the Türk Ansiklopedisi.)

The relatively late adoption of moveable-type printing by the Arabs, Persians, and Turks is an interesting chapter in the history of printing and book production, a history in which the Islamic world had earlier played a critical role. The craft of paper-making came to Europe by way of the Islamic World. The Arabs may have acquired the technique from Chinese prisoners taken at Samarkand by the Arabs in 704. Eventually papermaking spread into Europe through Muslim Spain sometime during the 13th and 14th centuries. Undoubtedly one of the most literary of the world's cultures, large numbers of books and documents were produced on paper by scribes in the Islamic world from the early centuries of Islam. Yet when printing technology finally reached the Middle East it was initially slow to take hold and spread.

Block printing in the Islamic world dates from the 10th century and, like paper-making, came first to the Middle East, and was introduced from there to Europe. Use of wood-block printing in the Islamic world seems to have been only sporadic however, limited to brief portions of the Koran, some official communications, playing cards, and one instance of paper money during Ilkhanid rule in Iran. Moveable metal type was a European invention later introduced into the Islamic world via European-language presses established first in İstanbul in the 15th-16th century. A Koran was printed in Venice between 1485-1499. Non-Muslim religious minorities established non-Arabic script presses, and produced the first printed texts in the Ottoman Empire. Various explanations have been advanced to explain the relative lateness of the acceptance of Arabic-script printing in the Muslim World including a belief in the religious importance of the Arabic script itself, and the possibility of a monopoly held by the scribal class.

The first Arabic-script press in the Middle East was established in İstanbul by Ibrāḥīm Müteferrika, who produced a number of books during the eighteenth century. By the end of the 18th century, the Ottoman government was aware of the use of the press made by the French government through the establishment of a French press in İstanbul in the 1790's, which produced official bulletins and communiques. In 1796 the Gazette française de Constantinople began publication, the first newpaper to be established in the Middle East. In 19th century Egypt and Iran lithography became widespread before the extensive adoption of moveable type to print books. It was the Europeans who first introduced the newspaper, on moveable type Arabic-script presses, to the Muslim world during the Napoleonic invasion of Egypt. The French brought out several French newspapers during their occupation of 1798-1801 and for a brief period printed, with the Arabic-script presses they had brought with them, official proclamations and the first Arabic-script newspaper al-Tanbīh. In the early part of the 19th century French newspapers appeared in Morocco and in Izmir.

Popular Press in the Middle East

It was in the Egypt of Muḥammad ʿAlī in the 1820's that the publication of the first regular Arabic serial began--al-Waqāʾiʿ al-Miṣrīyah (microfm. JQ37 RR5; UC holdings 1961-1966; 1970-1971). It was published at various frequencies in Arabic and briefly in Turkish as the official organ of Muḥammad ʿAlī's government and the sole newspaper in Egypt during the period of his rule. During Ismāʿīl's reign al-Waqāʾiʿ al-Miṣrīyah was published daily under the editorship of Muḥammad ʿAbduh (1849-1905). It attained importance beyond its role as an official organ, as a newpaper in its own right containing foreign news items and editorials as well as official orders and decrees. (Numbers prior to 1840 are lost; it has continued to the present day.)

Similar official government publications began in Ottoman İstanbul in the 1830's with the introduction of the Moniteur ottoman and Takvim-i Vekaʿyi (uncat. microfc. RR5; UC holdings 1831-1849; 1909-1910), both in 1831, the latter published as the official organ of the Ottoman government until 1922, when it was supplanted by the new Republican government's Resmi Gazete (J7.T1A4 RR5; UC holdings complete 1922-present). The Ottoman government policy of establishing official papers in each province gave impetus to the publication of similar official gazettes in the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire.

Privately-owned newspapers followed the appearance of these official publications. The first privately produced newspaper, Ceride-i Havadis, was founded in Istanbul in 1840 by the Englishman, William Churchill. Published in Ottoman Turkish, it was mainly commercial in purpose but also contained articles and features, the writing of which provided an apprenticeship in journalism to a number of Turkish literati. In the 1850's private newspapers printed in Arabic were established in Ottoman Beirut, some with the backing of the Ottoman government. The first important independent Arabic newspaper was the pro-Ottoman al-Jawāʾib, which was founded in İstanbul by the Lebanese Aḥmad Fāris al-Shidyāq in 1860 (microfm. AP95.4 RR5; UC holdings: 1868-1872). It attained widespread circulation in the Arab world during the course of its lifetime, and was the first Arabic paper to attain world-wide circulation.

The establishment of privately-owned newspapers marked the beginning of an efflorescence of newspaper publishing in Arabic, Persian, and Turkish in the latter half of the 19th century. These newspapers brought to the forefront issues such as nationalism, secularism, anti-colonialism and Islamic fundamentalism which were current at the time. They played an important role in the evolution of Middle Eastern political and cultural life, and remain a valuable source for the study of the history and culture of that period.

However, expression of anti-government views often resulted in censorship and led to the closing of some of these newspapers, as well as to the movement of newspapers and journalists to more tolerant locations. Ottoman censorship brought to Egypt a number of talented journalists who played a major role in the development of the popular press there and, later, throughout the Islamic world. Journalists who had begun their careers in the Ottoman provinces of Syria and Lebanon were forced to move to the relatively freer climate of Egypt under the descendants of Muḥammad ʿAlī and later under the British occupation. However, about 1890, the expression of anti-British nationalist views forced the British to exert stronger control over the opposition press in Egypt.


In 1876, the Lebanese exiles Salīm and Bishāra Taklā founded the newspaper al-Ahrām (microfm. AN95.2; UC holdings: microfm. AN95 2) in Alexandria. Initially pro-Ottoman, it remains one of the most important and influential newspapers in the Arab world today. The latter half of the nineteenth century witnessed the growth of newspapers and journals in Egypt representing various political and religious points of view: Muslim, Christian, pro-Ottoman, pro-western, pro-British, pro-reform, and nationalist, among which were the nationalist Abū Naẓẓārah 1878-1910 (DT43 f.A32; UC holdings: complete 1878-1910) founded by Yaʿqūb Ṣannūʿ and later moved to Paris, al-Iʿlām, Cairo 1885-1889 (microfm. AN95 19 RR5; UC holdings: 1885-1889), and al-Bayān, Cairo 1897-98 (microfm. AP95.A6B4; UC holdings: complete 1897-1898). The bi-monthly review al-Muqtaṭaf (microfc. PJ3; UC holdings: 1876-1952) was founded in Beirut in 1877 before being transferred to Cairo, and the pro-British al-Muqaṭṭam (microfm. AN95.30; UC holdings: 1940-1952), established in 1889 by Mssrs. Ṣarrūf-Nimr-Maqāryus, stood in opposition to al-Ahrām. The anti-reform and traditionalist Islamic paper al-Muʿayyad (microfm. AN95.29; UC holdings: 1907-1914), founded in 1890 by Shaykh Yūsuf ʿAlī, heralded the appearance of a number of similar newspapers reflecting conservative religious views. Nationalist papers which professed views in opposition to the British occupation included Miṣr , edited by Adīb Isḥāq, al-Liwāʾ edited by Muṣṭafā Kāmil, and al-Jarīdah (microfm. AN95 21; UC holdings: 1909-1913). By 1910 almost 150 newspapers were being published in Egypt. In addition to newspapers, a number of important literary, scientific, and religious reviews were published among which were al-Hilāl founded in Cairo by Jūrjī Zaydān in 1892 and still published today (PJ7801.A2H52 RR5; UC holdings: complete 1892-); al-Muqtabas (AP95.A6M8 RR5; UC holdings: 1908-1914) published by Muḥammmad Kurd 'Alī in Cairo and Damascus from 1908 to 1917; and al-Mashriq in Beirut (AP95.A6M33 RR5; UC holdings: 1898-1942, 1947-). The influential Shiite intellectual and religious review al-ʿIrfān which began publication in Sidon, Lebanon in 1909 continues today in Beirut (AP95.A6I67; UC holdings: 1933-1934).

Egyptian newspapers in the early 20th century vigorously reflected a variety of political views until the suspension of the political press during the Egyptian revolution in 1952. In 1960 press ownership in Egypt reverted to private hands. Although newspapers have since then, in the main, reflected the official government line, distinctions have begun to emerge. Increased freedom of the press during the Sadat era allowed existing newspapers aligned with the religious right to flourish and also resulted in the appearance of a number of new periodicals representing opposition opinions, ranging from those of groups on the religious right to the socialists. Among these periodicals were al-Daʿwah (published 1951-81; uncat. microfc. RR5; UC holdings: 1976-81), al-Iʿtiṣām (published 1939-; uncat. microfc. RR5; UC holdings: 1977-81), al-Taṣawwuf al-Islāmī (1979-; uncat. microfc. RR5; UC holdings: 1979-82), and al-Tawḥīd (1971-; uncat. microfc. RR5; UC holdings: 1973-81), aligned with the Islamic right. On the left, al-Ahālī (1979-) represented the al-Tajammuʿ party, Jarīdat al-Shaʿb (1979-; uncat. microfm. RR5; UC holdings: 1979-81) was published by the Egyptian Labor party, and al-Aḥrār represented the al-Aḥrār al-Ishtirākīyūn Party.

Lebanon, Syria and Palestine

The Levantine provinces of the Ottoman Empire were, in the 19th century, another center for the production of newspapers in Arabic. The first major Arabic paper, al-Bashī, which was established in Beirut in 1869 by the Jesuits, continued publishing there until recently. Members of the Bustānī family published various titles in the 1870's and 1880's. In 1877 Khalīl Sarkīs, son-in-law of Butrus al-Bustānī, brought out the daily Lisān al-Ḥāl, (1877-1932; uncat. microfm. RR5; UC holdings: 1877-1914, 1918-1932), itself vaguely pro-Ottoman and generally avoiding political contoversy. Other papers reflected the variety of confessional groups that made up levantine society--Sunnī and Shiʿī Islamic, Maronite and Orthodox Christian.

Syria's first printed publications resulted from the Ottoman government's policy that each vilayet should have its own newspaper.

Arabic newspaper publication in Palestine began with the founding of al-Karmal in Haifa in 1908 (published until 1934; uncat. microfm. RR5; UC holdings: 1920-1934) by Najīb Naṣṣār, an Orthodox Christian, and al-Karmal al-jadīd (1934-1939, uncat. microfm. RR5; UC holdings: complete 1934-1939). In 1911 ʿIsā al-ʿIsā established the paper Falasṭīn (microfm. AN95 15 RR2 & uncat. microfm. RR5; UC holdings: 1911-1967) in Jaffa, the first Palestinian newspaper to go daily, which it did in 1929. These earliest Palestinian newspapers reflect local concern with the implications of Jewish immigration into Ottoman Palestine. Many publications were surpressed by the Ottoman authorities during the First World War. Post-war Palestinian newspapers of the British Mandate period include: The Palestine Weekly 1919-1931 (uncat. microfm. RR5; UC holdings: complete 1919-1931) and The Palestine Bulletin (1925-1932; uncat. microfm. RR5; UC holdings: complete 1925-1932).

Newspapers were established in Iraq and the Arabian penninsula during the Ottoman occupation. The Ottoman governor Midḥat Pāshā set up the first newspaperin Iraq, al-Zawrāʾ, in 1868. In the Arabian penninsula, Ṣanʿāʾ was established in 1877 and al-Ḥijāz in Mecca in 1908, al-Qiblah was published in Mecca from 1916-1924 (microfm. AN95 RR5; UC holdings: complete 1916-1924), and Sawṭ al-Ḥijāz, in Mecca, from 1932-1941 (microfm. AN95 33.8 RR5; UC holdings: complete 1932-1941).

Arabic Press Abroad

The Arabic press abroad developed in part as a reaction to difficulties in the Middle East in the late 19th century. Many Lebanese and Syrians fled from the difficult economic and political circumstances of the last years of Ottoman occupation. They sought opportunities in Europe and North and South America. A community of Syrian Christians flourished in New York during the early part of the 20th century and produced a number of Arabic newspapers and journals among which were al-Kawn, published 1907-1909 in New York (microfm. AN95 24 RR5; UC holdings: complete 1907-1909), al-Ṣāʾiḥ, first published in New York in 1912 (microfm. AN95 33.7 RR5; UC holdings: complete 1912-1957) and al-Funūn, also in New York (1913-1918; PJ7501.F94; UC holdings: complete 1913-1918).

ʿUrwah al-Wuthqā was published in Paris in 1884 by Jamal al-Dīn al-Afghanī and Muḥammad ʿAbduh (DT107.3.U83; UC holdings: complete 1884).


Since the first experiments with lithography in Tabriz in 1817, the Iranian popular press was developed by two major patrons: (1) the state, and (2) expatriate Iranians. In the 19th century, the growing bureaucracy of the Qājār dynasty (1796-1925) was the primary publisher of popular press periodicals, starting with the official gazette, Rūznāmah-ʾi Vaqāyiʿ-i Ittifāqīyah [Chronicle of Events] in 1851, which was the first newspaper of the present form and arrangement in Iran. Rūznāmah-ʾi Vaqāyiʿ-i Ittifāqīyah (uncat. microfm. JRL 505; UC holding: 1851-1864) was founded in the third year of the reign of Nāṣir al-Dīn Shāh (1848-1896) by the command of Mīrzā Taqī Khān Amīr Kabīr. At the beginning of the 1860s, the first illustrated Persian newspaper was published with the portraits of the notables of the Qājār court. The name of this illustrated newspaper, Rūznāmah-ʾi Dawlat-i ʿĀlīyah-ʾi Īrān, was later changed to Rūznāmah-ʾi Dawlatī [State Gazette].

A few years later, another newspaper, entitled Rūznāmah-ʾi Millatī, was published in Tehran. The idea of popular press was welcomed in other parts of the country. In 1872-3, the newspaper, Fārs, was published in Shiraz, and under the care of Mīrzā Taqī Khān of Kāshān, the newspaper, Farhang [Culture], was printed and published in Isfahan. In the same year, the newspaper entitled Tabrīz was founded in Tabriz. The first daily newspaper, Khulāṣat al- Ḥawādith [Summary of Events], was printed in Tehran in 1898-9.

Being an authoritarian state, the Qājār dynasty did not look favorably upon criticism in the popular press. The editors of the newspapers were not completely free to publish. However, with the outbreak of the Constitutional Revolution (1905-6) and by the time that the Constitutional Revolution was adopted at the end of 1906, the censorship system had gradually collapsed. As a result, a large number of individuals began to issue newspapers. Four daily newspapers began to appear under the names of the Majlis [Assembly] (uncat. microfm. JRL 505; UC holding: 1906-1908), Nidā-yi Vaṭan (Cry of the Homeland) (uncat. microfm. JRL 505; UC holding: 1906-1909), Ḥabl al-Matīn [The Firm Bond] (fAN305 .T3H2 RR5 (cage) and uncat. microfm. JRL 505; UC holding: 1900-1901, 1907-1908), and Ṣubḥ-i Ṣādiq. Among these four papers, Ḥabl al-Matīn and Ṣubḥ-i Ṣādiq provided varied and well-written articles.

The idea of the freedom of the press, which came with the Constitutional Revolution, made a huge impact on publication in Iran. Newspapers like ūr-i Isrāfīl [Seraphʾs Trumpet] (AP95 .S8 RR5 (cage) and uncat. microfm. JRL 505; UC holding: 1907-1909), published in Tehran in 1907, and Īrān-i Naw [New Persia] (uncat. microfm. JRL 505; UC holding: 1909-1911), edited and published by Sayyid Maḥmūd Shabistarī Āzarbāyjānī (Abū al-˛iyā'), after the disposition of Muḥammad ʿAlī Shāh in 1909, set journalistic standards with their fiery editorial rhetoric and political activism. The Constitutional Period (1906-1911) also saw the arrival of the first Iranian magazine produced for women, Dānish [Knowledge] (uncat. microfm. JRL 505; UC holding: 1910-1911), founded in Tehran in 1910 by the wife of Mīrzā Ḥusayn Khān Kaḥḥāl.

During the Constitutional period, numerous satirical papers also began to appear. The first satirical newspaper was Ṭūtī, published in Bushihr in 1900-1, edited by ʿAbd al-Ḥamīd Khān Matīn al-Salṭanah. After this comic paper came the newspaper Āzarbāyijān (uncat. microfm. JRL 505; UC holding: 1907), published by ʿAlī Qulī Khān, known as Safaroff, formerly editor of Iḥtiyāj, in Tabriz in 1907-8. The most popular satirical papers were Kashkūl, (Tehran, 1907-1908) (uncat. microfm. JRL 505; UC holding: 1907-1908), Tanbīh [Punishment], Ḥasharāt al-Ar[The insects of the earth] (Tabriz, 1909), Buhlūl (Tehran, 1911), Shaydā, and Shaykh Chughundar [The Reverend Beetroot] (Tehran, 1911). The satirical column in the newspaper, ūr-i Isrāfīl, which was written by Mīrzā ʿAlī Akbar Khān Dihkhudā under the heading ʿCharand va Parand [Nonsensical talk],ʾ became very popular. Judging by its circulation, the newspaper, ūr-i Isrāfīl, was the most popular newspaper of the time. It was banned repeatedly, but the controversy generated by the repeated banning of the paper benefited its circulation. Two other newspapers are also worth mentioning in this period: Musāvāt (uncat. microfm. JRL 505; UC holding: 1907-1908), and Rūḥ al-Qudus (1907-1908) (fJQ1782 .T8; 1984 reprint edition). These two newspapers attracted readers with their personal attacks on the Qājār court; however, they were not as successful as ūr-i Isrāfīl whose success was chiefly owing to Dihkhudāʾs satirical column, without indulging in the inventive attacks characteristic of the other two papers.

Besides the educated intellectuals, semi-literate mullas also turned to journalism. Among these mullas, Sayyid ˛iyā al-Dīn Ṭabāṭabāʾī published Nidā-yi Islām (Cry of Islam)as anorthodox religious guide in the political life of the country. Aware of the growing influence of newspapers, the court officials began to publish their own newspapers to discredit the progressive press. Three newspapers championed autocracy. These were the newspapers Uqyānūs [The Ocean] (uncat. microfm. JRL 505; UC holding: 1908), Fikr [Thought] and the Turkish-language newspaper Āy Mullā ʿAmū. The editors of most of these newspapers were unsuccessful to win over popular support, except Shaykh Faẕl Allāh Nūrī, who issued his anti-constitutionalist publications, known as Rūznāmah-ʾi Shaykh Fal Allāh Nūrī, in 1907 from his sanctuary in the shrine of Ḥaẕrat-i Shāh ʿAbd al-ʿAẓīm.

To avoid censorship and reprisal, a number of Iranians began producing periodicals elsewhere in Asia and in the Middle East in particular. Akhtar [The Star] began publishing in Istanbul in 1875. Ḥabl al-Matīn began publishing in Calcutta in 1892. In Cairo, Iranians produced Ḥikmat [Wisdom] in 1890 (uncat. microfm. JRL 505; UC holding: 1899), Surayyā [The Pleiades] in 1898 and Parvarish [Nurture] in 1900. The Iranian expatriate press in Europe began with the newspaper Qanūn [The Law] (uncat. microfm. JRL 505; UC holding: 1890-1893), which was published by the opportunistic, reforming bureaucrat Mīrzā Malkam Khān Nāẓim al-Dawlah, in London in 1890.

Among all the newspapers, published either antecedent to the Constitutional Revolution or subsequent to the Revolution, Qānūn, Surayyā, Ḥabl al-Matīn and Parvarish were the best in terms of literary style. Musāvāt and Rūḥ al-Qudus were the boldest in their language. The best satirical and the most amusing were the Charand va Parand column of the ūr-i Isrāfīl, the literary column of the newspapers Sharq [The East] and Nasīm-i Shumāl [Breeze of the North], edited by Sayyid Ashraf of Gilan, andthe newspapers Āarbāyijān, Kashkūl, Ḥasharāt al-Ar and Buhlūl. The finest newspapers in terms of illustration were Sharāfat, Sharaf (fAP95 .P3S521 RR5 (cage); UC holding: 1882-1891), Adab and Āarbāyijān.

Under Muẓaffar al-Dīn Shāh (1896-1907), a new trend started in Tabriz: the principals of newly-established schools, based on modernist ideas, sought permission to issue publications to encourage parents to enroll their children. In Tehran, this idea was also welcomed; Mīrzā Ḥasan Rushdīyah published Maktab, Nāẓim al-Islām Kirmānī published Nawrūz (uncat. microfm. JRL 505; UC holding: 1903-1904), and Anjuman-i Maʿārif published Maʿārif.

The years after the Constitutional era of 1906-1911, between 1912 and 1917, mark the end of the period of relative freedom of press in Iran. By the beginning of World War I, the Iranian popular press reflected its official, expatriate and constitutional influences. The First World War aggravated the politically volatile atmosphere in Iran with foreign invasions and tribal rebellions, and a number of intellectuals outside Iran began to consider questions of culture and politics to remedy the problems that vexed Iranian society. In Berlin, Kāvah (1916) (PK57 microfm. RR5 (cage); UC holding: 1916-1920), edited by Sayyid Ḥasan Taqīzādah, and Īrānshahr (1922) (AP95 .I73 RR5 (cage)) began clamoring for cultural and national revival. With the outbreak of the Russian Revolution of 1917, which came as a godsend to Iran, some of these sentiments abroad were echoed by periodicals produced in Iran such as Muḥammad Taqī Malik al-Shuʿarāʾ Bahārʾs Dānishkadah [The College] (1918) (uncat. microfm. N47 JRL 505), Vaḥīd Dastgirdiʾs Armaghān [Gift] (1919), Saʿīd Nafīsīʾs Sharq [The East] (1924) and Maḥmūd Afshārʾs Āyandah [The Future] (1925). Other papers with titles reflecting the earnest nationalism of the times emerged with such names as Tajaddud [Renewal] and Kūshish [Endeavor] (uncat. microfm. RR5 (cage)). One hundred twenty-five newspapers and forty periodicals were being published in this period. However, the number dropped drastically when Riẕā Shāh came to power in 1925. By the time he was forced to abdicate in 1941, the number of newspapers and periodicals had reached less than 50.

Between the years 1941 and 1953, when Muṣaddiqʾs nationalist government fell, the Iranian press was revived. In less than a year, the number of newspapers and journals rose from 50 in 1941 to 464. This period saw the flourishing of newspapers such as Mardum [The people] (uncat. microfm. JRL 505; UC holding: 1942-1949), published by the Ḥizb-i Tūdah, Iranʾs Communist Party. A number of newspapers, such as Āsiyā [Asia] (uncat. microfm. JRL 505; UC holding: 1954), and Bākhtar-i Imrūz [Todayʾs East] (uncat. microfm. JRL 505; UC holding: 1950-1953), edited by Ḥusayn Fāṭimī, devoted attention to the issue of oil nationalization. Among the popular newspapers and periodicals of this era, the most satirical ones were Arjang [The sacred book of Manicheanism], Umīd [Hope] (uncat. microfm. JRL 505; UC holding: 1942-1946), Tawfīq [Success] (uncat. microfm. JRL 505; UC holding: 1957-1970), founded by Ḥusayn Tawfīq in 1927, Ḥallāj [The cotton-carder], Nasīm-i Shumāl (uncat. microfm. JRL 505; UC holding: 1942-1943), Hardanbīl [The easygoing one], Qalandar [The Sufi beggar], Yū Yū [The yo-yo], and Bābā Shamal (fAP95 .P3B15 and uncat. microfm. JRL 505; UC holding: 1943-1944, 1947), an independent journal published by Riẕā Ganjiʾī from 1943 to the end of 1945 and from the end of 1947 to March 1948. Of the nine comic papers, the first five had begun publication shortly before 1941 and the remaining four were published after Riẕā Shāhʾs abdication. During Muṣaddiqʾs rule, when the oil industry was nationalized, six other journals began publication. These journals were Chalangar [The ironsmith], published by Muḥammad ʿAlī Afrāshtah, Lutī [The rouge], Shabchirāgh [The world-seeing lamp], Nūshkhand [The smirk], Dād va Bīdād [Justice and injustice], and Ḥājī Bābā, an unaffiliated journal resembling Bābā Shamal published by Parvīz Khatībī.

Among these journals, the most successful were Ḥājī Bābā, Bābā Shamal, and Tawfīq. Ḥājī Bābā, of which 174 issues were published in a period of three years and a few months during the nationalization of the oil industry, was anti-British. As a result, it was banned after the 1953 coup that toppled Muṣaddiqʾs government. Bābā Shamal, with its interesting cartoons, concentrated on political satire in the form of verses and topical interviews. Tawfīq, on the other hand, concentrated on political satire that had serious political overtones. Tawfīq, which had survived since 1927, ceased publication in early 1972. However, some of its contributors managed to continue their work by publishing the weekly Kārīkātūr [Caricature]in 1968. Another journal, Khandah [Laughter], survived the last years of the Muḥammad Riẕā Shāhʾs reign (1941-1979) when the government had gradually dominated the press and virtually no criticism would be tolerated. After the 1953 coup, such journals as Taraqqī [Progress], edited by Luṭf Allāh Taraqqī, Sipīd va Siyāh [White and Black] (uncat. RR5 (cage); UC holding: 1958), Tihrān-i Muṣavvar [The Illustrated Tehran] (uncat. RR5 (cage); UC holding: 1978-1979), and Firdawsī (uncat. microfm. JRL 505; UC holding: 1978-1979), had gained popularity, especially the column called Kashkīyāt [Nonsensical talk], written by Manūchihr Maḥjūbī, in Tihrān-i Muṣavvar, later replaced by another column called Fuẕūl Āghāsī [The arch-meddler], written by Nāṣir Khudāyār, in the same paper, and the column called Anqarīb [In no time], written by Īraj Pizishkzād for the journal Firdawsī.

The two major daily newspapers during the Shahʾs time were Kayhān [The world] (uncat. microfm. JRL 505; UC holding: 1976-1984), and Iṭṭilāʿāt [Information] (AN95 20.2 microfm. 2nd flr; UC holding: 1926- ), which both carefully avoided criticizing government policies and touchy political issues. Both Kayhān and Iṭṭilāʿāt have remained major daily newspapers after the 1979 Revolution, and the Islamic government has complete control over them.

Before the 1979 Revolution, there were two popular journals for women: Zan-i Rūz and Iṭṭilāʿāt-i Bānuvān. Zan -i Rūz (uncat. microfm. JRL 505; UC holding: 1981-1996) has been able to continue publication after the Revolution under a different editor, and its views on women reflect those of the Islamic Republic. Besides Zan -i Rūz, there have been two other journals produced for women since the 1979 Revolution: Zanān (HQ1735.2 .A1Z27 Gen; UC holding: 1992- ), edited by Shahlā Shirkat, and Farzānah (uncat. RR5 (cage); UC holding: 1993- ), a bilingual (Persian-English) journal devoted to the field of womenʾs studies and edited by Maḥbūbah Ummī.

For a short period of time, relative freedom was given to the press in Iran after the 1979 Revolution. A significant number of newspapers began publication. By June 1979, the number of periodicals of various political tendencies had risen to 222, of which 167 were newspapers and 55 were journals. The figure is very impressive although it includes periodicals printed and published outside Iran as well. The short period of the relative freedom of the press did not last very long, and two daily newspapers, Āyandigān (uncat. microfm. JRL 505; UC holding: 1978-1979), and Payghām-i Imrūz (uncat. microfm. JRL 505; UC holding: 1973-1974, 1979), were closed down. In the same month, 22 more newspapers and magazines were shut down. However, the Islamic regime had not been able to gain complete control over the press until the seizure of the American Embassy in Tehran in November 1979 when a large number of newspapers and magazines were forced to close and their editors were exiled.

At the beginning of the 1980s, the number of Persian periodicals outside Iran grew drastically. Among the periodicals, which have continued publication, are such periodicals of high literary and cultural standards as Īrān Nāmah (PK6580 .A1I68 RR5 (cage); UC holding: 1982-), published by the Foundation for Iranian Studies, Majallah-ʾi Īrān Shināsī (PK6401 .M34 Gen; UC holding: 1989- ), published by the Kiyān Foundation, Rahāvard (DS251 .R243 Gen; UC holding: 1982- ), published and edited by Ḥasan Shahbāz, and Daftar-i Hunar (uncat. RR5 (cage); UC holding: 1993- ), published by Bīzhan Asadīʾpūr. All of these journals are published in the United States. In Europe, the highly-prestigious literary journal, Alifbā (uncat. microfm. JRL 505; UC holding: 1982-1983) was published by the late Ghulām Ḥusayn Sāʿidī until November 1985. Another literary journal, Kitāb-i Jumʿah (uncat. microfm. JRL 505; UC holding: 1979-1980) was edited and published by the well-known poet Aḥmad Shāmlū, but it ceased publication after a short period of time in 1980. The other prestigious literary journals, Chashmandāz (PK6401 .C52 Gen; UC holding: 1986- ), edited by Nāṣir Pākdāman in France, and Faṣl-i Kitāb (uncat. RR5 (cage); UC holding: 1988- ), edited by Māsh Allāh Ājūdānī in England, are still being published.

The satirical journals and newspapers, which were shut down in 1979, also resumed publication outside Iran immediately after their editors established themselves either in Europe or in the Unites States. In London, the satirical paper, Aṣghar Āghā (AP95 .P3A8 Gen; uncat. microfm. JRL 505; UC holding: 1980-1982, 1989), originally appeared as Ṭāghūt, is currently edited and published by Hādī Khursandī, who began his career in 1970 with the daily newspaper, Iṭṭilāʿāt. Āhangar dar Tabʿīd [The blacksmith in exile], edited by the former contributors of Āhangar (uncat. microfm. JRL 505; UC holding: 1979) is also published in London. Parvīz Khaṭībī also published Ḥājī Bābā for a while in 1981-82 in New York, but the paper has ceased publication since then.

Since August 1979, especially after the seizure of the Americn Embassy in Tehran, political criticism has been very rare in Iran. Those editors or satirists, who have attempted to criticize the Islamic Regime or its policies, either have been put in jail or have been forced to close their papers and leave the country. The best example was the literary weekly Nigīn (AP95 .P3N68 Gen; UC holding: 1965-1979), where the talented satirist, Saʿīdī Sīrjānī, published a continuous satirical story entitled Shaykh Ṣanʿān. After five consecutive issues, the weekly was closed down. Saʿīdī Sīrjānī was put in prison in Tehran where he died in 1994. Another example was the prestigious literary journal, Gardūn (uncat. RR5 (cage); UC holding: 1990-1995), edited by the well-known author ʿAbbās Maʿr­ūfī. A two-year publication ban was imposed on Gardūn , and Maʿr­ūfīʾs license was taken away as well. Maʿr­ūfī himself was sentenced to 6 months in prison and 35 lashes. Later, his sentence was commuted, but he was forced to leave the country. He currently lives in Germany.

The future of the press in Iran is bleak although the Islamic government allows such independent periodicals as Chīstā (uncat. RR5 (cage); UC holding: 1980- ), Ādīnah (AP95 .P3A3 Gen; and uncat. microfm. JRL 505; UC holding: 1985- ), Kilk (PK6401 .K54 Gen; UC holding: 1990- ), Dunyā-yi Shukhan (AP95 .P3D84 Gen; uncat. microfm. N505, N14 JRL 505; UC holding; 1986-1989), and a few others to continue publication. Whether or not the independent progressive press in Iran will be allowed to publish freely without fear of reprisal and thereby influence future events in Iran remains to be seen.


As stated above the first Ottoman newspapers were the official Takvim-i Vekayı and William Churchill's private paper, Ceride-i Havadis (see above). The first Turkish owned newspaper was Tercüman-ı Ahval (1861-1866), a weekly begun in 1860 by Çapanzade Agah Efendi and edited by the poet Şinasi. Competition between the two weeklies was fierce, and Churchill responded by publishing daily under the title Ruzname-yi Ceride-i Havadis (1840-1878; uncat. microfm. RR5; UC holdings: some 1863-1873). In 1861 Şinasi began his own daily newspaper, Tasvir-i Efkar (1862-1871; uncat. RR5; UC holdings: 1864-1865), which featured articles by Namık Kemal.

In 1864 the Ottoman government established its first press regulations, which remained in force until 1909. Under these new rules newspapers had to submit pre-publication copies signed by the editor to the Press Directorate. The regulations also provided for trial of press offenses by the Meclis-i Ahkam-i Adliye. The government had a range of actions it could take against publications, ranging from official warnings to suspension or cancellation of licenses. Enforcement of these regulations declined until 1867 when Ali Paşa authorized action against the press if it was dictated by the public interest. This new interest in controlling the press was the result of the increase in criticism of the government by writers, especially those associated with the Genç Osmanlı, or Young Ottoman movement.

In the wake of renewed government control of the press, many of the Young Ottomans fled to Europe where they began to publish again. Notable among this group were Ali Suawi, Namık Kemal, Ziya Paşa, and Agah Efendi. Ali Suawi revived his paper Muhbir (1867-1868) in London in 1867. Namık Kemal and Ziya Paşa also established an Ottoman language paper in London, Hürriyet (1868-1870). In 1869 Ali Suawi began Ulum (1870-1871) in Paris and was one of the earliest advocates of Turkish nationalism.

Between 1868 and 1872 there was an increase in newspaper publishing activity in Turkey. Important papers of this period were Terakki (1868-1870; uncat. RR5; UC holdings: scattered issues) , Basıret (1869-1908; uncat. micrcofm. RR5; UC holdings: 1871-1873), İbret (1872-1873), and Hadika (1869-1874; UC holdings: 1873-1874). This period also saw the emergence of humor magazines beginning with Diyojen (uncat. RR5 and uncat. microfm. RR5; UC holdings: complete 1869-1872). This paper was initially published in Greek, then French and eventually in Ottoman Turkish. Another notable humor magazine begun in the same year was Teodor Kasap's Çıngıraklı Tatar (1873; uncat. microfc. RR5; UC holdings: complete 1873). Terakki was the first to publish a special supplement for women, Muhadderat, in 1868. İbret was one of the most important forums for liberal ideas under the leadership of Namık Kemal, Ebüzziyya Tevfik, and Reşad Nuri.

Under Abdülhamid II censorship increased, despite the guarantee of freedom of the press under the 1876 Constitution. In 1877 supervision of the press was made a responsibility of the Ministry of the Interior. By 1878 the Ministries of Education and Police had joined the Ministry of the Interior in censoring publications. In 1881 the Inspection and Control Commission was established to oversee the press and carry out preventive censorship. Government censorship continued to increase during the 1880's and 1890's with the establishment of the Foreign Press Directorate (1885), and government controls on printing presses (1888) and booksellers (1894). Finally in 1897 the Ottoman government established the Commission for Examination of Compositions to act as a higher censorship authority. As before, increased censorship in the Ottoman Empire led to opposition papers being established abroad. Two of the leading ones were İstikbal (1879-1881, 1908-1911) in Geneva and Meşveret (1895-1908; uncat. RR5) in Paris. Important dailies within Turkey in this period included Sabah (1876; uncat. RR5; UC holdings: no. 181) and İkdam (1894-1928; UC holdings: 1909-1927). Another important development during this period was the appearance of Hanımlara Mahsus Gazete (1895-1908; UC holdings: 1895-1908), a weekly that published work by female writers.

The 1908 Constitutional Revolution brought about a resurgence in the number of newspapers in the Ottoman Empire. The spirit of free press ended, however, after the 31 March Incident in 1909, when the Committee of Union and Progress solidified its control of the government and increased censorship. Major papers of this period were Millet (1908), Hürriyet (1908), İttifak (1908), and Tanın (1908-1924; uncat. RR5; UC holdings: scattered issues, 1915-24), edited by Tevfik Fikret, Hüseyin Kazım and Hüseyin Cahit. In 1913 Nuriye Uluiye and Emine Seher began Kadınlar Dünyası (1913-1921; uncat. RR5; UC holdings: scattered issues, 1920-1921) as a daily newspaper oriented toward women. This paper later became a weekly and was an early promoter of women's rights. Important humor magazines of this era were Kalem (1908-1927; uncat. microfc. RR5; UC holdings: all published) and Djem/Cem (1910-1912, 1927-1929; PL291.D62 and uncat. RR5 and uncat. microfc. RR5; UC holdings: all published), both famous for their caricatures.

The First World War witnessed the emergence of a new generation of journalists and editors who would be influential through the Republican period. Ahmed Emin (Yalman) and Hakki Tarik (Us) started the paper Vakit (1917-1928; uncat. RR5; UC holdings: scattered issues, 1918-1927) during this period, and Yunus Nadi began Yeni Gün (1918-1920; uncat. RR5; UC holdings: scattered issues, 1918-1919). Other İstanbul newspapers at the end of the War were Alemdar (1911-1921; uncat. RR5; UC holdings: scattered issues, 1918-1920), edited by Refi Cevat, and Mehmed Zekeriyya's Büyük Gazete (1926-1928, UC holdings: no. 70, 73 [1928]).

The dawn of the Turkish Republic not only brought the establishment of new papers, it also brought about a change in location for major publications. Although there had been newspapers in other parts of the Empire, İstanbul had been the center for journalism in the Ottoman Empire. With the rise of the Republic, Anatolian publications achieved a new importance. In 1919 the paper İrade-i Milliye (1919-1921; uncat. RR5; UC holdings: scattered issues) was founded as the official organ the Sivas Congress. In the same year Mustafa Kemal Paşa founded Hakimiyet-i Milliye (1919-1928; uncat. RR5; UC holdings: scatered issues, 1920-1921) in Ankara. This important newspaper changed its name to Ulus in 1928. In 1923 Yunus Nadi founded Cumhuriyet in İstanbul, where the paper continues to publish today.

The relationship of the government and the press also changed in the Republican period. The 1924 Constitution ended pre-publication censorship, although the government retained the ability to suspend publications. A major problem arose with the switch to the Latin alphabet in 1928. The change to the new alphabet effectively made the majority of newspaper readers illiterate. Many papers changed over gradually, publishing in both alphabets in the same issue. Eventually government subventions helped newspapers weather the drop in readership.

The popular press again played an important role in the politics of the post-World War II period. Humor magazines were especially important as forums for criticsm of the government. Aziz Nesin and Sabahattin Ali's Markopaşa (1946-1947, 1948-1949; AP115.M37 and AP115.M38 RR5 and uncat. microfc. RR5; UC holdings: complete 1946-1949), and its subsequent incarnations (Merhumpaşa, Malumpaşa), were influential humor papers. Between 1950-1960 the newspaper Zafer was the organ of the Democrat party in Ankara and was influential in promoting its ideas. Overall, the press played an important role in the events that led to the 1960 military coup. In 1960 the paper Akşam ushered in a new era in Turkish journalism by publishing simultaneously in both Ankara and İstanbul, a practice that is the norm for Turkish papers today.


(Note: for select bibliographies refer to end of each section of the main list.)


Library Catalogues: Arab World


Library Catalogues: Iranian and Turkic

Central Asia

Press Indices


Printing in the Islamic World

First printed texts came from non-Islamic presses in the Ottoman Empire:

First Arabic-script presses:


NOTE: The following chronological overview is neither the catalog nor a complete list of holdings!

I. Arabic Popular Press:

A. Egypt
1. (First period)
2. (Second period) British occupation to WWI; important role of Syro-Lebanese
3. (Third period) Nationalist aspirations
4. (Fourth period) Suspension of political press in 1952, reorganization of press in 1960
B. Levant
1. Beirut

a. Early Beirut Newspapers

b. Beirut in the period of French mandate

2. Syria

a. Ottoman Syria (Ottoman decision that each vilayet should have a newspaper)

b. Syria in the French Mandate period- (large number of low circulation dailies)

3. Palestine
C. Iraq
D. Arabian Penninsula
E. North Africa
F. Abroad

II. Turkish Popular Press:

A. Tanzimat Period (1839-1876)
B. Reign of Abdülhamit II (1876-1909)
C. Young Turk period (1908-1918)
D. Turkish War of Independence (1918-1923)
E. Turkish Republic (1923-)

III. Persian Popular Press:

A. Azerbayjan
B. Iran [All are "uncat. microfm. RR5", unless other location given.]
1. 19th cent.
2. 1900s
3. 1910s
4. 1920s
5. 1930s
6. 1941
7. 1942
8. 1943
9. 1944
10. 1945
11. 1946
12. 1947
13. 1948
14. 1949
15. 1950
16. 1951
17. 1952
18. 1953-1959
19. 1960 to present

IV. Middle Eastern Popular Press in other languages:

A. Palestinian, Jewish and Zionist newspapers:
1. Palestine
2. Egypt and North Africa
3. Turkey
4. Abroad
B. Other Non-Arabic Script Periodicals:
1. Egypt and North Africa
2. Turkey
3. Abroad