All posts by Open Jerusalem

The Politics of Archives and the Practices of Memory

Joukowsky Forum, Watson Institute, 111 Thayer Street, Providence, RI 02912

Thursday, Mar. 2
5:30-7:30 p.m.
Critical Conversations Panel “Palestine-Israel in the Trump Era”
with Rashid Khalidi, Sherene Seikaly,  and Brown Faculty J. Brian Atwood and Omer Bartov. Moderator: Beshara Doumani
Joukowsky Forum, Watson Institute, 111 Thayer Street

7:45 p.m.               
Dinner for Critical Conversations panel speakers and workshop presenters at Brown Faculty Club

9:30 P.M.
Shuttle Faculty Club to Biltmore hotel, 11 Dorrance Street, Providence

WORKSHOP PROGRAM

Friday, March 3
8:15 and 8:25 a.m.
Transfers for presenters from Biltmore hotel to Watson Institute

8:30-9:00 a.m.
Registration and continental breakfast

9:00–9:30 a.m. Welcoming Remarks

9:30 -11:15 a.m.
Panel 1: Archival Landscapes

Salim Tamari: The 1948 War: New Trends in Palestinian Historiography

Vincent Lemire: Opening Jerusalem’s Memories : for a Transnational, Open and Bottom-up Database of Primary Archives of the Holy City (1840-1940)

Sherene Seikaly: Autobiography, the Archive, and the Question of Palestine

Commentator: Rashid Khalidi

11:15 – 11:30 a.m. Coffee Break 

11:30 a.m.–1:15 p.m.
Panel 2: Archives, Diaries, and Colonial Appropriation

Areej Sabbagh-Khoury:  Memory, Settler Colonial Archive and the Representation of Palestinian Villages

Alex Winder: Police Diaries/Personal Diaries: Using the Notebooks of a Mandate-Era Policeman to Write Palestinian History

Gadi al-Gazi: Profits of Military Rule

Commentator: Caroline Elkins

1:15 – 2:45 p.m. Lunch for workshop presenters at the Sharpe Refectory

2:30-2:45 p.m.
Group photograph Sharpe Refectory Steps

3:00 – 4:45 p.m.:
Panel 3: Literature, the Body, and the Politics of Memory

Ibtisam Azem: “The Book of Disappearance”: The Memory of Place and Its Oral History

Diana Allen: What bodies remember: Sensorium as historical counterpoint in the Nakba archive

Sinan Antoon: Absence, Memory, and Return in Darwish’s Work

Commentator: Emily Drumsta

4:45 – 5:00 p.m.  Coffee Break 

5:00-6:00 p.m. Open Discussion

6:00-6:15 p.m.    Walk to the Pembroke Center, 172 Meeting Street, Providence, RI 02912

6:15 p.m.      Opening reception for Exhibition
Curated by Issam Nassar and Ariella Azoulay
Time Machine: Stereoscopic Views from Palestine 1900

7:35 and 7:45 p.m.
Transfers for workshop presenters to Biltmore hotel, 11 Dorrance Street, Providence, RI

8:15-10:00 p.m.
Private dinner for workshop presenters at Biltmore Hotel,  11 Dorrance Street, Providence, RI

Saturday, March 4

8:25 and 8:35 a.m. Transfers for presenters from hotel to Watson Institute

8:45-9:15 a.m. Continental breakfast 

9:15-11:00 a.m.
Panel 4: Oral history and the Politics of Decolonization

Yara Hawari and Francesco Amoruso:  Including Palestine in Indigenous Studies: Oral History and its Relevance for Decolonisation

Hana Sleiman and Kaoukab Chebaro (presented by Sleiman): The Palestinian Oral History Archive at AUB

Abdel Razzaq Takriti : Digital Histories of the Underground: Teaching the Palestinian Revolution

Commentator: Marianne Hirsch

11:00-11:15 a.m. Coffee break 

11:15 a.m.-1:00 p.m:
Panel 5: Rethinking Archives

Ann Stoler: On archiving as dissensus

Ariella Azoulay:  No Archival Turn

Brinkley Messick: Sharīʿa, Property, Nakba

Commentator: Beshara Doumani

1:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.:
Working lunch for presenters

End of Formal Program and Departures

2:45 p.m. Transfers for presenters from workshop venue to hotel

De-Municipalising Jerusalem

Les municipalités proche-orientales datent de la fin de l’époque ottomane et sont ainsi des témoins et des acteurs importants des changements qu’a connus la région au cours des 150 dernières années. L’échelon municipal permet d’appréhender les questions liées à l’espace social et politique des villes sur la longue durée. Ainsi, pour le cas de Jérusalem, l’analyse de la gouvernance urbaine (entre la fin de l’époque ottomane et la période mandataire) pointe la centralité de cet échelon afin de comprendre de manière plus nuancée les changements politiques impulsés par l’arrivée de la puissance mandataire.

READ THE ARTICLE: F. Naili, La dé-municipalisation de la gouvernance urbaine et de l’espace politique post-ottoman : le cas de Jérusalem, Les Carnets de l’IFPO

Annual Congress of French Society of Urban History

Vincent Lemire will join next Annual Congress of the French Society of Urban History (19-20 January 2017) with a presentation about “Gouverner Jérusalem, entre souverainetés impériales, réformes municipales et revendications nationales (1867-1967)”.

The full program is available here.

 

The politics of archives and the practices of memory

The Politics of Archives and the Practices of Memory,” is the theme of the fourth annual meeting of NDPS, to be held March 3-4, 2017, at the Watson Institute, Brown University.

New Directions in Palestinian Studies (NDPS) provides a platform for rigorous intellectual exchange on new directions in research and writing about Palestine and the Palestinians, supports the work of emerging scholars, and promotes the integration Palestinian studies into the larger streams of critical intellectual inquiry.

The central question of the fourth annual meeting is: What does it mean for the colonized, the disenfranchised, and the displaced to produce narratives through archival and memorial practices? Other theoretical, empirical, and comparative questions follow. How are archives and memories produced, assembled, and mobilized in settler colonial contexts? In what ways are archives and memories sites of struggle and appropriation, and looting? How can we theorize archives and memory from perspectives critical of state-centric political configurations and conventional concepts of sovereignty?

An archive fever has been coursing through the Palestinian body politic for two decades now. What explains this phenomenon and how has it been shaped by the information technology revolution? How have artistic and social media interventions reconstructed the archival and the memorial as sites for research? In what ways can one analyze novels, poetry, and other forms of literature as forms of memory and archives without instrumentalizing these literary genres?

Vincent Lemire, director of the Open Jerusalem project, will present the work conducted by OJ on Jerusalem history throughout dozens of archives in Jerusalem and around the world.

New Release: Jerusalem. A Global City

jerusalem-ville-monde
Jérusalem – Histoire d’une ville-monde

Edited by Vincent Lemire (Open Jerusalem Director)

With contributions by Katell Berthelot (Centre Paul-Albert Février, CNRS), Julien Loiseau (CRFJ) and Yann Potin (Open Jerusalem Historian and Archivist, Archives nationales  de France)

Paris, Flammarion

Date of Publication: 12 October 2016

Read here the table of contents

Inventorying Undisclosed Archives: The Italian Consulate in Jerusalem

Antonella Di Domenico*

The analysis of the holdings of the Italian consulate in Jerusalem collected in the Historical Archives of the Foreign Ministry in Rome is among the work pursued by Open Jerusalem in order to narrate an entangled history of citadinité – including the history of institutions, actors and practice, with a special attention devoted to unlocking archives – of a global city like Jerusalem from 1840 to 1940. immagine_post_deposito
These records haven’t been inventoried yet and they are currently not available to researchers. The holding consists of 200 files divided into 4 deposits: 1936 (concerning records from 1863 to 1925); 1974 (concerning records from 1878 to 1951); 1976 (this memorandum of deposit has been recently discovered); 1995 (concerning records from 1936 to 1977).
The holding is located in the Foreign Ministry Archives, ‘Archivio storico consolati’ section (F1, F2), covering 22 linear meters.
The history documented by these records begins in 1872, the year of the establishment of the Royal Italian Consulate in Jerusalem. This holding contributes important information not only about the activities and the institutional life of the Consulate itself but also of the complex dynamics between the Consulate and the city of Jerusalem, its inhabitants and structures.
In order to retrace the history of these archives and how they are now organized in the Archives, you cannot skip the figure of Count Quinto Mazzolini, emblematic politician of the Fascist period. Brother of the more well-known Diplomat Serafino, Quinto Mazzolini was Consul General of Jerusalem from 16 September 1936 to 20 June 1940. He was the first person to deposit the records of the Italian consulate in the Foreign Ministry Archives.
During his stay in Jerusalem, especially in the troubled years of the outbreak of the Second World War, Mazzolini actively worked to organise the papers of his office. He deposited the first part of the records in 1936, when he identified the records of what he called ‘the old archive’, depositing these records at the Foreign Ministry in Rome where they constituted the first part of the archives of the Italian consulate in Jerusalem. In 1940, after leaving Palestine, Mazzolini deposited other papers to the Foreign Ministry. Being forced to leave the Consulate for security reasons, he tried to keep at least a part of the records safe.
As attested by a cable dated 8 February 1951 with the object ‘L’archivio del Consolato in Gerusalemme trasferito a Roma‘ (The Consulate archive moved to Rome) the history of the records further became more complicated during the war. A part of the records were burnt, while another part was delivered to the Italian consulate of Spain that had assumed the protection of Italian interests in Palestine. Other records were moved to Rome. In 1945, Mazzolini probably sent the missing part of the records of the ‘Ufficio stralcio’ (the Removal Office, responsible for closing the work of a suppressed institution) to the Foreign Ministry Archives.

telespresso-1951
The records from 1872 to 1977 cover a wide spectrum of topics: educational institutions, cultural institutes, commercial, financial and political relations, issues of privileges and protectorates, protection of religious orders, conflicts among different rites. The subjects and the history of these records are of large interest for the scope of Open Jerusalem.
This new fond is rich of important sources for reconstructing the relations between Jerusalem’s inhabitants and the institutions at that time.
In order to inventory the records and make them accessible to scholars, Open Jerusalem and the Historical Archives of the Foreign Ministry (particularly thanks to Stefania Ruggeri) have established a partnership that has already led to some archival interventions: overview of the files; preliminary analysis of the holding; first arrangement and reallocation of the files, the reconstruction of a filing plan and the drafting of a list of deposits which is becoming more and more analytical as the archival work proceeds. These interventions will conclude with the publication of the inventory of the fond of the Italian consulate in Jerusalem in 2017 that will be published by Open Jerusalem and the Italian Foreign Ministry Historical Archives.

* An extended version of this article was presented by Stéphane Ancel, Antonella Di Domenico, Roberto Mazza and Maria Chiara Rioli at the French School in Rome in the workshop about “The Italian Consular services and the long Risorgimento” (September 29-30).

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Lucia Rostagno, La diplomazia italiana e il nazionalismo palestinese (1861-1939), Roma: Bardi, 1996

Nir Arielli, Fascist Italy and the Middle East, 193340, Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010

Gianni Scipione Rossi, Serafino Mazzolini – Mussolini e il diplomatico. La vita e i diari di Serafino Mazzolini, un monarchico a Salò, Catanzaro: Rubbettino, 2005

Ambasciate, legazioni e consolati italiani all’estero del Ministero degli affari esteri, Rome: Tipografia riservata del Ministero degli affari esteri, 1950-1957

Antonella Di Domenico, Il fondo del Consolato generale di Gerusalemme nell’Archivio storico del Ministero degli affari esteri. Strutture originarie e versamenti, BA dissertation, University of Rome – La Sapienza, 2015

Antonella Di Domenico, Elenco del I versamento del fondo del Consolato Generale di Gerusalemme (1843 – 1925)

Open Jerusalem at the French School in Rome

Ecole française de Rome

Stéphane Ancel, Antonella Di Domenico, Roberto Mazza and Maria Chiara Rioli are among the speakers at the workshop organised by the French School in Rome (September 29-30 2016) on the Italian consulates during the “long Risorgimento” (18th-19th century).

They will present their work on the fond of the Italian Consulate in Jerusalem, aiming at inventorying and analysing these undisclosed records, in the framework of the partnership between Open Jerusalem and the Historical Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

See the full programme here.

Jérusalem 1900 – New revised edition

 

L’histoire de Jérusalem à la fin de l’Empire ottoman a longtemps été oubliée et mérite d’être racontée. On y croise un maire arabe polyglotte, un député ottoman franc-maçon, des Juifs levantins, mais aussi des archéologues occidentaux occupés à creuser le sous-sol pour faire ressurgir les lieux saints de la « Jérusalem biblique »…

La ville n’a pas toujours été un champ de bataille. À l’orée du XXe siècle, une autre histoire s’est esquissée, portée par l’émergence d’une identité citadine partagée entre musulmans, juifs et chrétiens.

Alors que la ville sainte est aujourd’hui à un nouveau tournant de son histoire et que la question de son partage se pose une fois encore, il faut se souvenir de cet « âge des possibles » qui peut livrer quelques clés pour mieux comprendre le présent et envisager l’avenir.

VINCENT LEMIRE est maître de conférences à l’université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée. Spécialiste d’histoire urbaine, il dirige actuellement le projet européen Open-Jerusalem, qui vise à rassembler toute la documentation disponible dans toutes les langues sur l’histoire de Jérusalem.

See the book web page or buy it online

Digging Jerusalem History in Russia

by Yann Potin

Jerusalem is now become a central point of interest to France and Russia. It is no doubt the object of Russia to subjugate the primitive church of the countries.”
Letter from William Tanner Young, British Vice Consul in Jerusalem to Stratford Canning, ambassador of the United Kingdom in Constantinople, January 8, 1844.

image-de-saint-petersbourg

Since the early surveys, the question of the documentation of the Russian presence in Jerusalem from 1840 constitutes a major challenge for the Opening Jerusalem Archives project. The recently increased and strategic presence of Russia in the Middle East, the presence of the archives both inside Jerusalem and abroad, undoubtedly requires patient investigation, specially because the records are not immediately accessible. Guided by previous research conducted by Elena Astafieva, we decided to identify in the Russian archives some relevant fonds in order to explore the intimate relations between the Russian Orthodox Church, the Russian imperial patronage and the city of Jerusalem.


Between espionage and messianism: the Russian presence in Jerusalem


The pilgrimage to Jerusalem has been indeed of decisive importance for Russian Christianity since the 19
th century, when the mystical value of the pilgrimage as an element of messianic tendencies within the Russian Orthodoxy got more interest. The number of Russian pilgrims to Jerusalem each year is then at least five times as numerous as the Catholic or Protestant pilgrims from Western Europe. Historians have noted and underlined this feature, indicating what strategic role it played in the Eastern policy of the Tsarist Empire (see for example the recent book of Lorraine de Meaux, La Russie et la tentation de l’Orient, Paris, Fayard, 2010, pp. 278-291). Marking its presence in Jerusalem, was for the Empire of the Tsars a way to penetrate the heart of its biggest rival, the Ottoman Empire, which he continuously persisted on eroding the boundaries since the eighteenth century. While until 1917 the Tsars continued to claim their right on Constantinople, sending missionaries to Jerusalem constituted also a form of diplomatic espionage. In parallel, a latent conflict or competition between the Greeks and the Russians took place, following ancient divisions within Orthodox Christianity. That is the reason why it is necessary to investigate the Greek archives (in Jerusalem, Athens or Istanbul) in order to have a better understanding of the Russian presence in Jerusalem. This presence was constantly growing and that’s why, in the 1880s, outside the walls of the Old City, near the hospital Notre-Dame-de-France, a wide hospice, known since then as the “Russian Compound“, was built. It could simultaneously accommodate more than 1,000 patients and pilgrims. It became quickly the first core of a real Russian neighborhood, nowadays integrated in the old part of West Jerusalem, making it not only a pavement in the history of diplomacy, but also a matter of urban development. This complexity raises the question of the scattering of archives regarding the relations between Russia, the Russians and the city of Jerusalem. The situation became even more complicated after 1917 when the Soviet Union seemed to lose interest for the Russian presence in the ‘Holy Land’ and until the pots-1948 concession of the Russian compound to the state of Israel. The eventual location, preservation and the very presence of the Archives in the building are still to be verified. A major Russian emigration to Palestine, also after internal schisms within the Russian Orthodox church, has never stopped during the interwar period, increased by the growing issue of Russian Jews, which formed a decisive part of aliyot to Israel and particularly Jerusalem.

The Russian missionaries and their records

An initial investigation about the first Russian missionaries was prepared during a meeting with Elena Astafieva on March 17 in Paris. Elena Astafieva has already published about the Imperial Palestine Society founded in 1881. Therefore she contributed to identify many records and archives. The first prospecting mission in Saint Petersburg archives conducted by Angelos Dalachanis, Vincent Lemire and Yann Potin took place in April 2016 (18-21).

Image 0. On the Neva, the Old Building of the Russian Academy of Sciences, founded by Peter the Great © Yann Potin
Image 0. On the Neva, the Old Building of the Russian Academy of Science, founded by Peter the Great © Yann Potin
Image 1. Building of the National Archives in Saint Petersburg © Yann Potin
Image 1. Building of the National Archives in Saint Petersburg © Yann Potin
Image 2. Cover of the edition of the correspondence between Antonin Kapustin and the earl Ignatiev, Moscow, Indrik, 2014. © Yann Potin
Image 2. Cover of the edition of the correspondence between Antonin Kapustin and the earl Ignatiev, Moscow, Indrik, 2014. © Yann Potin

One of the cultural activities of the Company until 1917 consisted in publishing sources and archival documents about the early years of the “Russian presence” in Jerusalem, as Derek Hopwood names it (The Russian Presence in Syria and Palestine, 1843-1914, Oxford, 1969). Historiography retains indeed 1843 as a founding date: this date corresponds to the secret mission held between December 1843 and August 1844 by the Archimandrite Porphyry Uspenski in Jerusalem, followed by a second mission between 1847 and 1854. However, the Russian ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem was officially recognized only in 1858, after the Crimean War. In 1865, the arrival of Antonin Kapustin at the head of this Mission opened a long period of activity and sustainable investments, until the death of Kapustin in 1894 (see the article by Lucien J. Frary ). Elena Astafieva indicated several possible accesses to the dispersed fonds of Antonin Kapustin: the Academy of Sciences (see image 0) whose archives collect part of the fonds Dimitrievski (fond 214), former secretary of the Imperial Society; the Historical Archives (RGIA) (see image 1) that gather a relevant part of Kapustin’s diary, including several volumes that are to be edited by the publishing house Indrik (see image 2), and finally the Russian National Library.

Archival oasis: the Archive of the Academy of Sciences of Saint Petersburg

Science Academy archives have been the main place of investigation during this mission (see image 3 and 4). Apart for the fond 214 (Dimitrievski, former secretary of the Imperial Society), we analysed the richness of the archives of Porphyry Uspenski – Fond 118 – following the suggestion of the director of the Academy archives, Irini Tunkina (see image 5), who warmly welcomed us and offered the Open Jerusalem project a guide to these archives (see image 6).

Image 3. Entrance of the Archive of the Saint Petersburg Academy of Science. © Yann Potin
Image 3. Entrance of the Archive of the Saint Petersburg Academy of Science. © Yann Potin
Image 4. Reading room of the Archive of the Saint Petersburg Academy of Sciences. © Yann Potin
Image 4. Reading room of the Archive of the Saint Petersburg Academy of Sciences. © Yann Potin
Image 5. Staff and directory of the Archive of the Saint Petersburg Academy of Sciences. © Yann Potin
Image 5. Staff and directory of the Archive of the Saint Petersburg Academy of Sciences. © Yann Potin
Image 6. Inventory of the fonds of the Archive of the Saint Petersburg Academy of Sciences. © Yann Potin
Image 6. Inventory of the fonds of the Archive of the Saint Petersburg Academy of Sciences. © Yann Potin

The fond 214 contains some correspondence of Antonin Kapustin (see image 7) in 1865-1874. Most of the letters received were in Russian, but an important part of them are in Greek. Decrypted by Angelos Dalachanis (see image 8), they show a close and complex relationship with the Greek or Arab Orthodox communities. Several letters in French or Italian testify the extension of Kapustin relations with the local society. In total, this correspondence represents nearly 4000 pages. It requires a detailed analysis, and an inventory describing each document would not help us find our way. We should therefore find another way to give value to the historical richness of these records.

Image 7. Portrait of Antunin Kapustin © All rights reserved
Image 7. Portrait of Antunin Kapustin © All rights reserved
Image 8. Angelos Dalachanis and Yann Potin at work in the Archives of the Saint Petersburg Academy of Sciences
Image 8. Angelos Dalachanis and Yann Potin at work in the Archives of the Saint Petersburg Academy of Sciences

The fond 118 is very complete. It is described by a printed inventory from 1891, six years after the assassination of Uspenski in 1885 by Sirku (see image 10). Numerous papers have been published from this fond, starting with the diary, extremely rich, by Archimandrite Porphyry Uspenski (Knyga Bytia moevo, 8 volumes from 1894 to 1910 see image 11 and 12) or several original reports and memoirs (the first in 1844) especially one by Bezobrazov in 1910. However, many biographical material, including official documents relating to its mission, the passport or the original firman (inventory 1, No. 30-31) remained unpublished. Furthermore, the materials on the two missions of Jerusalem are grouped into five registers (inventory 1, No. 32-36), which represent almost one thousand pages.

Image 9. Printed inventory of The Uspenski Papers (Fond 118) in the the Archives of the Saint Petersburg Academy of Sciences © Vincent Lemire
Image 9. Printed inventory of The Uspenski Papers (Fond 118) in the the Archives of the Saint Petersburg Academy of Sciences © Vincent Lemire
Image 10. Portrait of Porphyr Uspenski. © All rights reserved
Image 10. Portrait of Porphyr Uspenski. © All rights reserved
Image 11. «Le livre de ma vie [knyga bytia moievo]», by Porphy Uspenski. © All rights reserved
Image 11. «Le livre de ma vie [knyga bytia moievo]», by Porphy Uspenski. © All rights reserved

There are many account (otchets), memories (zapiska), drafts minutes and accounts (tetrad) mostly unpublished, which at least deserve a new investigation. They document mostly the period 1848-1854, corresponding to the second mission of Uspensky funded up to 10,000 rubles a year by the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Charles Nesselrode. There are glimpses of the many “gifts” made to the Greek Patriarchate, the attempts to purchase or rent some buildings in Jerusalem (including a development plan), but also the episode of 1854 that shows Uspensky convincing the Greek Patriarchate Orthodox to establish an Arab printing press and the implementation of a seminary. These records require deep analysis, to distinguish what has already been published. Certainly this fond will be of considerable interest from the Open Jerusalem research program.

Image 12. Vincent Lemire and Yann Potin at work in the Archives of the Saint Petersburg Academy of Sciences
Image 12. Vincent Lemire and Yann Potin at work in the Archives of the Saint Petersburg Academy of Sciences

After this first survey in the Russian archives (see image 13), the team, guided by Lora Gerd, professor at the Historical Institute in Saint Petersburg, will continue the work in the archives of Moscow and Saint Petersburg. A second OJ mission is therefore organised from Sept. 11 to Sept. 16, 2016.

International Symposium (10-12 May 2016) – Programme

programmeprogram2

Download the full programme

The Open Jerusalem project (full title: Opening Jerusalem Archives: For a connected history of citadinité in the Holy City, 1840–1940) is funded by the European Research Council (starting grant) from 2014 to 2019 and based at the Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée University in France. The project is directed by Vincent Lemire and run jointly with the researchers of the core team: Stephane Ancel, Yasemin Avcı, Leyla Dakhli, Angelos Dalachanis, Abdul-Hameed al-Kayyali, Falestin Naili, Yann Potin and Maria Chiara Rioli. Additionally, so far more than forty scholars from Europe, the Middle East, the United States and Canada have been involved in the project.

The Open Jerusalem project aims to unlock and connect different archives and sources in order to investigate the ordinary, entangled history of a global city through the lens of the concept of urban citizenship (citadinité). Citadinité is for a city what nationality is for a country and materializes itself in institutions, actors and practices. The project provides a bottom–up history of Jerusalem, a perspective that has been neglected by historians of the city, who have been generally preoccupied with ideological and geostrategic issues. This history is also a connected one because, within a complex documentary archipelago, the researchers seek points of contact revealing the exchanges, interactions, conflicts and, at times, hybridizations between different populations and traditions. The project is characterized by the scientific quality of its research tools, the close attention it pays to local archives and its unbiased openness to all demographic segments of the Holy City’s population. The transition of the project from an archival into an academic one is proceeding in three concurrent phases: the first involves creating an overview of the available resources, the second the organization of inventories and their presentation in a web portal and the third the development of a new urban history of Jerusalem from 1840 to 1940 through books and several other publications.

The project’s first international symposium, entitled “Revealing Ordinary Jerusalem (1840-1940): New archives and perspectives on urban citizenship and global entanglements,” is taking place at the Institute for Mediterranean Studies in Rethymno (Greece) on 10-12 May 2016. It aims to serve as a forum for deepening discussions and initiating scientific debates, with contributions from members of the Open Jerusalem team, scholars specializing in related topics, urban historians and specialists of the region.

Archival Labyrinths. Assumptionnist and White Fathers Archives in Rome

    by Eméline Rotolo
National Archives of France

The archives of religious congregations: an archival hydra

The archives of Catholic orders and congregations are hierarchically organized and this may translate into fragmentation in the conservation of holdings. First, the general archives contain the holdings of the general administration of the archives produced by the General Council and the General Father or Mother: correspondence, reports, publications. It also includes the archives and publications of the founder, as well as the following General Fathers or Mothers, characterized by extensive correspondence and often highly specialized work in different fields of research such as archaeology, linguistics, ethnology, etc. The Mother House ensures the conservation of these holdings with the support of one or more members of the congregations and orders, sometimes aided by trained lay people. Then come the holdings of the provinces, roughly equivalent to a country, and influenced by the provincial administration and life. After which remain the current archives of each community: for minor congregations sometimes they remain stored on site.

1

Three important institutions, since their establishment in Jerusalem linked with religious and diplomatic symbols they condense from the last quarter of the nineteenth century, namely St Anne’s Church and seminary, Notre-Dame de France hotel and the church of St. Peter in Gallicantu, guided the first investigations by Vincent Lemire in September 2015 in the archives of the Mother Houses of the White Fathers and the Assumptionists in Rome. This second mission (February 1-5 2016) brought additional knowledge on Roman archival collections held by these two congregations of French foundation, installed in the late nineteenth century in Jerusalem. To provide a comprehensive mapping of the archives produced by the White Fathers and the Assumptionists in Jerusalem, further work should be considered in the provincial archives stored on site, in St Anne for the White Fathers and St Peter in Gallicantu for the Assumptionists.

    An archive history: why?

In the second half of the twentieth century, religious orders and congregations devoted relevant efforts to conservation, classification and creation of finding aids for their archives, providing better access to researchers. The up to now available information about the White Fathers and the Assumptionists reveal different approaches and research tools.
However, even if a standardization effort was made in the drafting of finding aids, a first common observation is deplorable: the lack or even the absence of any contextual description. Actually, a brief description of the archive completed with producer’s identification elements would allow to define the content of documents and the choices of classifications taken according to the principle of “respect des fonds”. These types of essential information permit also to document the history of the conservation taking into account transfers, natural disasters or the loss of archives due to eliminations, all events that influence the fonds.

3

These elements, considering the territory and the period (Jerusalem, 1840-1940), present a relevant interest: the major European religious institutions in Jerusalem have been requisitioned, occupied and sometimes raged during the First World War (1914-1917). Details are provided by some archives, as in the correspondence of Fr Van der Vliet, White Father of Dutch nationality remained in St Anne during the hostilities. In a French transcription of the diary he kept during those times, he tells (December 4, 1914) the episode of the transfer of archives hastily hidden in a damp place, under an arch, behind a lapsed wall, in the St Anne seminar to a safer place. Again, in a letter of Fr Leopold Dressaire addressed to Fr Athanase Vanhove, both of them Assumptionists, he reports the state of Notre-Dame de France at his arrival (December 11, 1917) after the capture of Jerusalem: “Your papers, personal belongings, objects and papers of Fr. Germer, religious objects remained (most of these files was mixed with the books and the community and clothes and they could only be recognized by interested parties, another part disappeared). Everything that was at your use (lingerie, books, notes, correspondence, benefactors addresses, etc.) is preserved”.
This description shows the archives in desolating conditions and therefore requesting a reclassification work. Information that would be useful to gather in order to document the history of each holding and make intelligible the process that led to the final classification status is therefore missing.

    The White Fathers: fonds classified and analysed according to the organization of the institution

Despite a certain timidity to put their archives into the historical perspective of their institutions, the implementation of useful research tools has to be acknowledged to both these congregations.
First of all, the White Fathers, thanks to their valuable online inventory, partly answer to the previous remarks with a brief presentation of their holdings in the introduction. They announce the main documentary typologies held in Rome: correspondence, reports, documents, publications from their founder, Card. Lavigerie, the General Government of the Company, its provinces and its members. This general state of the holdings in the form of a detailed digital inventory provides an overview of all the Roman records dealing with Jerusalem institutions, from their founding until very recent times. The last depositions, like for the MEL file 297: Jerusalem. Correspondence, with the annotation “These files were received from Jerusalem in June 1991,” as well as the most recent entries marked “2015 adding”, show the activity of the archive service.
This detailed digital inventory is based on a classification system respecting the logic of production and structure of fonds. It thus offers a structured analysis at different levels of description from general to particular, like for archives of the General Fathers, GEN series, classified and numbered – alphanumeric call numbers – in chronological order of succession of their role. Other relevant series include typologies such as personal folders (D.PERS), original diaries (D.OR) or copied (D.Cop), registers (REG.), photolibrary (PHOT.), maps, atlas, statistics (CART.); with some limitations, however, for the VARIA series or MEL. It is also noteworthy that three databases complete this detailed digital inventory for chronicles and annual reports, general councils and the conclusions of general chapters.

From the Assumptionist card index to the archives of the Jerusalem community: a not classified fonds or the result of a lack of internal organization?

The Assumptionists, meanwhile, have one more archaic but equally valuable research tool: a card index with thematic entries by “people”, “themes” and especially “places” covering up until the late 1970s. Vincent Lemire had fully photographed 158 index card for “Jerusalem” whose distribution is as follows: 99 index card titled “Jerusalem – ND de France”, 26 “Jerusalem – St Peter in Gallicantu” and 19 “Jerusalem – pilgrimage of”.

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This card index provides an analysis of the documents considered most important at the time of the redaction of this research instrument. Essentially it is not an inventory and it contrast the general vision of the holdings. Unlike the digital detailed inventory of the White Fathers, it does not reveal a hierarchical classification from the upper level (the Generalship) to the lower (the provinces).
For researches on Jerusalem, all the related index cards must therefore be consulted. The accuracy of “ND de France”, “St Pierre en Gallicante” and “pilgrimage” can eventually restrict the consultation. If the major tasks of the community (education, pilgrimages) reflected, it is hard to recognize the responsibilities of key actors normally responsible to classify documents.

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When the first index cards are examined analysis are only about an individual archive item or a small number of documents in favour of typologies than actions. Thus the letters of the General Father Vincent de Paul Bailly are scattered in seven articles when it should have been easy to classify them in a series of Generalship archives, a sub-series for those of Father Vincent de Paul Bailly and articles by chronological sections to classify the correspondence due to its function.
This fragmentation reveals, on the one hand, the gaps in the classification of holdings that should have followed the logic of archive producers and, on the second hand, the obsolete nature of this research instrument that doesn’t respect the archival logic of information’s non redundancy.
Other limits are noteworthy, as the presence of an alphabetical call number of the boxes, imitating a classification scheme, which is an irrelevant marker. Initially it might suggest a classification of all correspondence from Jerusalem in sections NS to NW, 1883-1956, but the correspondence of 1918 was forgotten while classifying.
Initially, we thought that all the correspondence from Jerusalem had been classified in sections NS to NW, 1883-1956, but the 1918 correspondence had been forgotten. It was immediately classified in the following box NX with, among others, a record on the construction of Notre-Dame de France, some records related to the First World War and accounting documents.
It’s the same for the ephemeris representing a distinctive typology deserving to be listed in series. Yet the records are divided in different box numbers: UT 2 for May 1891 – December 1892 entitled “ND de France chronicles” and mentioning “Following A 114-117” which seems to correspond rather to the registers 114-116 E (August 1891 – September 1898) but the ephemeris from May 1908 to December 1914 uses another letter B 187.
The choice of a card index, although coherent with those times, allows to hide these limits and the lack of a rigorous classification of the archives concerning Jerusalem. From the points raised so far, it is unlikely that a classification following the activities of the Province of Jerusalem has been accomplished. The current state reflects the deposits, with this system of non meaningful box numbers, where the fonds are fragmented and sometimes internally inconsistent (hence the choice of a card index).
Finally, we must emphasize that attached files have been extracted from the correspondence. Therefore it’s impossible to find the right documents they were attached to, although the presence of the card index. This action makes sense for certain types of items in order to constitute some series, like quarterly balances. However, other attachments require the support of the correspondence to be intelligible and yet find themselves separated from the letter; even worse, several sheets were divided through different articles.

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This sheet containing four pages concerning surveys of archaeological objects, annexed to a letter of 31 July 1914, as the record indicates with red ink at the top, is now listed PJ 202. However, during our investigation, we accidentally discovered a second sheet number 5 in the box number PK. These examples therefore makes very difficult a comprehensive study of the entire collection from the card index, whose ratio behind the classification is also questionable. Numbered pieces rarely represent coherent records.
This final report of a disorder of Roman Assumptionist archives concerning Jerusalem may be due to a gap of classification of the fonds – as mentioned before –, to affect the current classification following the history of the fond or simply reflect the disorganization of the community and of the establishment they comes from. In this case, it is likely that the fonds has had to suffer from these three evils.

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We still lack of answers about the history of the fond, including the conditions of the transfer of fonds from Jerusalem to Rome but also the possibility of a reclassification (some records present old call numbers). Lack of organization by the community of Notre-Dame France, seems to appear through the correspondence especially after the First World War: at that time, the community has to deal with financial difficulties and it demands to Rome a bursar to assist the Superior.

    “Cleaning” the Assumptionist card index: a delivery attempt to conduct exhaustive flat?

Despite all these issues, the card index remains essential since it is the only key to enter the fond. Moreover, it has several advantages: a conversion of this card index to an excel sheet, highlighting, when possible, the origin of the document or record, would probably improve the vision of Assumptionist archives concerning Jerusalem.
We propose to transcribe the card index using the best descriptive standards because, following the existing analysis, many fields may remain empty.
This conversion could bring out the grouping that had to be made during the classification. To proceed, a standardization of terms must be conducted. From these groups, a summary could be recreated in xml format for online consultation of a structured inventory. This proposal would also avoid to lose information about agents, authors and producers of the documents.
The card index “people” presents some gaps: Fr Moitraux, author of a war diary, has no record, although he appears in the index card “place” as author of the mentioned document.
The purpose would be to create a methodical finding aid containing all the additional Assomptionist fonds collected in Rome, Paris and Jerusalem. Surveys are to be carried out in Paris, while the Assumptionist Fathers of Jerusalem requested Open Jerusalem contribution and collaboration.

Postscript

Despite all these archival considerations, our mission mainly focused on the theme of the First World War in both the two archives and discover fragments useful in the perspective of a global history of Jerusalem at that time. However, other tracks emerged in order to retrace the daily life in Jerusalem. The Augustinian Fathers of the Assumption, the main organizers of Catholic pilgrimages to Jerusalem, imposed their building in the landscape of the city. Religious and administrative records – including the archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs held in Nantes – and recently unveiled photographic fonds may raise interesting issues on ND de France, especially in the history of constructions. Beyond this, the establishment at Notre Dame de France a museum and a library with a seminary could be linked with education activities conducted in other seminars, such as St. Anne, by various orders or congregations located in Jerusalem. And finally, given the irony of French diplomatic support to congregations that had been expelled from the national territory, could we not consider the study across multiple inventories – typology pleasing to the archivist – historically redundant for these institutions?