On Tuesday 13 February Vincent Lemire, Open Jerusalem director, and Yann Potin, Open Jerusalem core team member, will give a lecture entitled “Opening the archives of Jerusalem: for a world history of the Holy City” during the workshop “Inside the Cradle of History” jointly organised by the Centre de recherche français à Jérusalem and the Center for Jerusalem studies at Al-Quds University. It will take place at the Old City campus, Damascus Gate, Aqabet Al-Sheikh Rihan.
The prevailing number of documents related to the history of Jerusalem in the Ottoman period, preserved at present in the Oriental Department of the National Library of Jerusalem in the Ottoman period, preserved at present in the Oriental Department of the National Library “Sts Cyril and Methodius” (Sofia, Bulgaria) established in 1878, are organized in two archival fonds: no. 283 (comprising 7 archival units) and no. 283A (comprising 469 archival units). The Oriental Department houses about 500,000 archival units (comprising about 1 million folios) dating from the Ottoman period. They are organized in several collections, the biggest of which is the collection of topographic funds organized according to the place with which the documents are related to.
As part of the documents preserved in Sofia are originating from the Bulgarian lands that were under Ottoman rule from the late fourteenth century to 1878, the history of most of the documents dates back to the early 1930s when the authorities of the recently proclaimed Republic of Turkey – known for their rejection of the Sultan’s rule and the Ottoman legacy – sold large amount of Ottoman documents (being charged in several wagons) to a Bulgarian paper mill in order to be recycled for paper production. When the first wagons arrived the factory owners noticed that the cargo is consisted of Ottoman documents and asked expertise by the Oriental Department. After confirming their historical and archival value all the survived documents were transferred to Sofia to be preserved in the Oriental Department. Since the documents were sent from Constantinople and mostly from the depositories of the former Ottoman ministry of finances they deal mainly with financial issues and are related to all the former Ottoman provinces (in the Balkans, Anatolia, the Arabian peninsula, and North Africa). This explains why documents related to Ottoman Jerusalem (mainly dealing with financial issues) are now to be found in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Another point is the process of the organization of these documents into archival funds formed according to the previously existing Ottoman provinces. The organization was executed in two stages: at the first stage over 1,000 topographical funds have been organized in alphabetical order, while at the second stage funds with similar enumeration with attached “A” have been added, respectively. These funds include mainly documents written in Ottoman Turkish, while those in Arabic have been separated in a special collection of Arabic documents. Hence fonds 283 and 283A contain documents related to Ottoman Jerusalem. Since the key word used by the archivists in the distribution of the documents was the place name appearing in them, the fonds include both documents sent from Jerusalem to the Ottoman capital Constantinople, as well as drafts of documents sent from Constantinople to the local authorities in Jerusalem. Although most of the documents deal directly with Jerusalem proper some documents are related to other places located within the province of Jerusalem such as Jaffa, Hebron, Bethlehem, etc. Some documents are mistakenly distributed to the Jerusalem funds because of the similarity between the Arabic/Ottoman name of Jerusalem – Kuds/Kudüs, and the expression “Kuddise Sırruh” (“May God bless him”) used for the famous mystic Jalal ad-din Rumi (1207–1273) whose tomb is in Konya, Central Anatolia. The same is true also for some other documents in which the mosques and waqfs of Rumi are mentioned.
The documents of fonds 283A are distributed in 469 archival units (that is, folders), put in 7 boxes. Most of the folders contain just one document, but some contain two to three, in rare cases even more documents. Some of the documents are torn and therefore they are just fragments simply because the initial purpose of their transportation to Bulgaria was to be recycled in a paper mill as said above. Some other documents are in a poor condition, the edges being rotten and the text partly illegible. Therefore during the exploration of the fonds 283A some damaged documents had been already taken out for chemical restoration and hence I was unable to include them in the inventory.
The documents of fonds 283A are dating from the mid-16th to the early 20th century. The earliest document is dating from 1550 (fragment of a register of zeamets in the district of Doha), while the latest one is from 1908 (related to revenue collection), respectively. The 19th-century documents prevail, however the number of the 17th- and 18th-century documents is also considerable. In terms of content almost all of them deal with financial issues related mostly to incomes from taxes, expenses for the officers who guarded the fortress of Jerusalem, as well as some other minor fortresses in the region, and transfer of waqf posts with the respective salary from one holder (mostly because of his death) to another holder. Having this in mind, the documents of fonds “Jerusalem” preserved in the National Library in Sofia could be useful for studying the socio-economic history of Jerusalem and its province during the Ottoman period.
Bibliography www.nationallibrary.bg/wp/?page_id=258 (only Bulgarian version is available)
İsmet Binark and Seyit Ali Kahraman, eds., Bulgaristan’daki Osmanlı Evrakı (İstanbul: T.C. Başbakanlık Devlet Arşivleri Genel Müdürlüğü, 1994).
Vincent Lemire, Yann Potin and Roch Payet will animate the seminar on “Open Jerusalem: « l’identité citadine » de Jérusalem entre 1840 et 1940” that will be held in Paris at the French National Institute of Heritage on the 20th of February, 2017. For more information please click here.
“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.
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 19th 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).
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
L’ERC Open Jerusalem, projet de recherche piloté par Vincent Lemire et dont Leyla Dakhli, chercheure au CMB, est membre, sera l’hôte du Centre Marc Bloch les 18 et 19 janvier prochains (séminaire de travail dans la salle Georg Simmel).
Deux moments de discussion publique seront proposés à l’ensemble des personnes intéressées (en anglais).
Une présentation publique du projet par Vincent Lemire et Yann Potin aura lieu le 18 janvier à 17h. Les historiens et archivistes réunis dans le projet travaillent à connecter les archives de la ville – présentes aussi bien à Jérusalem que dans le monde entier, écrites dans de multiples langues et alphabets – pour en écrire collectivement une histoire globale. Seront présentés les enjeux liés à l’ouverture des archives, à leur recensement et à leur utilisation par les chercheurs.
Le 19 janvier à partir de 14h, un séminaire ouvert au public portera sur les archives allemandes et germanophones de Jérusalem.
Inscrites dans le programme « conflits d’archives en Méditerranée (2012-2015) » (Casa de Velázquez, Ecole française d’Athènes, Ecole pratique des Hautes Etudes), ces deux journées d’études sont l’occasion d’une réflexion collective et comparatiste sur les ouvertures d’archives. Dans une perspective de longue durée réunissant archivistes, juristes et historiens spécialistes de la France, de la péninsule Ibérique et de Jérusalem, les conflits liés aux ouvertures d’archives seront d’abord envisagés comme une affaire de droit(s). Et ce depuis les conditions concrètes des ouvertures d’archives où surgissent des conflits, jusqu’aux acteurs impliqués et aux motivations liées à la valeur symbolique, politique, voire fondatrice prêtée aux archives. Il s’agit de comprendre dans quelle mesure les luttes menées en vue de leur plus grande accessibilité laissent des traces dans le fonctionnement et le rôle ultérieur des archives. Certaines ouvertures s’avèrent problématiques, inachevées, ou peuvent être remises en cause, en raison notamment de changements politiques. Tout en signifiant métaphoriquement une forme de libération par l’accès à ce qui était auparavant tenu au secret, « l’ouverture des archives » peut ainsi, de fait, constituer un compromis précaire entre des protagonistes aux intérêts divergents. En ouvrant les archives, met-on véritablement un terme définitif aux conflits qu’elles suscitent ? Accueillie dans le nouveau site des Archives nationales, à Pierrefitte-sur-Seine, deux ans après son ouverture au public en janvier 2013, la rencontre se terminera par une table ronde et un débat qui se proposent d’élargir la question de l’ouverture à toutes les formes contemporaines de communicabilité et de médiation de la matière « archives ».
Lundi 13 avril
9h. Accueil par Françoise Banat-Berger, directrice des Archives nationales
Ouverture : Stéphane Michonneau (Casa de Velázquez, Madrid)
9h30 Véronique Lamazou-Duplan (université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour) : Ouverture sous contrôle. Les archives de Foix au début du XVe siècle
10h 45 Marie Ranquet (SIAF) : La communicabilité des archives publiques en France, genèse d’un Graal archivistique (1794-2008)
11h45 Maria de Lurdes Rosa (Universidade Nova de Lisbonne) Ouvrir le chartrier, donner accès au patrimoine archivistique familial: les sens des ouvertures des archives de famille noble dans la longue durée (Portugal, XVe-XXIe siècles)
The Imperial archives in Istanbul are one of the main archives where to reconstruct Jerusalem history in the late Ottoman period because of the direct dependence of Jerusalem to the Sublime Porte, the richness of sources collected at the BOA and the high level efficiency in archival management. Therefore, the BOA play a central role in the framework of Open Jerusalem project. Yasemin Avci, associate professor at Pamukkale University and member of OJ team, is specifically charged with working through the tens of thousands of files, trying to retrace the various aspects of Jerusalem citadinité.
This work has been made possible by the full support and daily help of the direction and staff of the BOA. Professor Önder Bayır, director of Ottoman Archives, and Professor Mustafa Budak, vice-general director of Turkish State Archives, warmly welcomed the Open Jerusalem team and showed their endorsement to the project.
The Open Jerusalem Team visited the Restoration service of the BOA where Mrs Şükriye Ersin introduced the topic of the protective techniques for the conservation of historic documents.
The Director of the BOA Reading Room, Mr Fuat Recep described to the researchers the preservation procedures used in the BOA for the documents and the ongoing activity of training courses for the BOA staff.
The morning presentations by Vincent Lemire, Yasemin Avci, Yann Potin and Stéphane Ancel were all devoted to the discussion of the possible ways in which archivists and historians can catalogue and analyse the monumental amount of sources available in the BOA about Jerusalem’s history.
Yasemin Avci: «Documents about Jerusalem ‘Citadinité’ in the BOA: first description of the masses and possible working methods»
YannPotin: «The BOA / Open-Jerusalem database: how to deal with such an amount of documents?»FULL TEXT
Stéphane Ancel: «Data base and open Jerusalem Project: methodological aspect»
In the afternoon, Professor Richard Wittmann illustratedIstanbul Memories, a project carried out by the Orient-Institut Istanbul and academic cooperation partners. In his presentation he showed the largely still unexplored richness of autobiographies, diaries and other first-person narratives, in order to draw a multi-language, non-sectarian history of the city. The following presentations by Falestin Naili, Leyla Dakhli and Abdul-Hameed Al Kayyali showed how these elements are at the very core of Open Jerusalem project and can open new paths of collaborations and historical research.
Richard Wittmann: «The Istanbul Memories: An interdisciplinary and international research project of the Orient-Institut Istanbul»
Falestin Naili: «The Minutes of Jerusalem Municipality (1892-1916): a forgotten source revealing the history of Jerusalem»FULL POWERPOINT
Leyla Dakhli: «Imperial multilingualism and national translations? The wording of Jerusalem Citadinité»
Abdul-Hameed Al Kayyali: «The Hebrew newspaper Ha-Zvi: a mirror of Jerusalem’s public affairs at the turn of the century»FULL POWERPOINT
• This workshop represented the first step of a long-lasting and fruitful partnership between the NAF and Open Jerusalem project. The importance of a deep understanding and knowledge of archival management principles, concepts and practices is crucial for OJ researchers. The workshop aimed so at giving to them methods and tools for describing archival materials and at establishing a mutual methodological approach to archives. For that purpose instructive presentations and training were done by members of the NAF.
• On the 4th December, at the Parisian site of the NAF, the workshop was welcomed by Yann Potin (NAF) and Béatrice Hérold (NAF). After expressing their wish for a fruitful partnership between the NAF and the ERC project, both of them underlined the absolute necessity of a mutual approach for describing archives during the Open Jerusalem project work. Each participant to the workshop was then asked to present his own work, difficulties and demands about the description and analysis of archival materials in Jerusalem. From this round table resulted first thoughts and perspectives, and crucial notions concerning archives could be like that presented and discussed.
• Yann Potin guided then all participants in the stores of the NAF. He explained the history of the institution, the way of classification and its evolution, and he showed several precious items preserved there.
• In her presentation entitled “Notions juridiques: propriété et communicabilité des archives”, Marie-Françoise Limon-Bonnet (NAF) presented to the participants the legal notions concerning archives in France. She explained how to define archival material, in legal terms, according to their origin and to the creator of the documents. Public and private archives were thus defined and dissociated, and the question of the availability of documents for research was explained and discussed.
• Then Leyla Dakhli (CNRS – CMB Berlin) and Naomi Nicolas-Kaufman (SEUA – TLHub) presented a new tool for participative translation works: the program called TLHub. All potentialities of the program were showed and the participants could be trained for using it.
• On the 5th December, at the new site of the NAF in Pierrefitte-sur-Seine, the workshop started under the supervision of Emmanuelle Giry (NAF) and Emeline Rotolo (NAF) and concerned the diplomatic approach of contemporary archives. At first, the history of French diplomatic and some important notions were explained. Then, the participants could have been trained to the description of different types of files from the NAF. Marie-Alpais Torcheboeuf (conservator, Fondation de Chambrun) presented also the characteristic of archival materials produced by religious institutions in focusing on those of the Ecole biblique de Jérusalem.
• Then Jessica Huygue (NAF) and Stéphane Méziache (NAF) exposed to the participants all issues concerning digitisation of archival materials. Jessica Huygue explained processes followed by the NAF for digitizing archives. She exposed crucial steps to be followed for digitizing documents, especially the establishment of clear protocol for naming digital files. Stéphane Méziache gave to the audience his technical advises concerning devises and tools for digitisation process of documents. The problem posed by the creation a common protocol for description of archives (a “feuille de récolement”) was also discussed.
• All the participants of the workshop could visit offices of the National Archives devoted to the preservationand restoration of documents. Laurent Martin (NAF) explained some crucial questions linked to the preservation of documents. That way, he made the participants aware of good behaviors that the researcher has to follow in order to preserve the documents he is studying.
• Frédéric Douat (Archives départementales du 92 – Haut de Seine) shared with the participants his field research experience. He explained how he could have access to different types of archives, in public and private institutions. He focused also on the main information that researchers have to collect about an archive funds.
• Patricia Coste and Habiboussa Mansour(NAF) explained politics launched by the National Archives concerning the management of disasters and the preservation of archives where they are stored.
• Finally, Béatrice Hérold (NAF) presented different protocols for the description of archival materials. The standards called ISAD-G (General International Standard Archival Description), for the description of archival funds, and ISSAR-CPF(International Standard Archival Authority Record for Corporate Bodies, Persons and Families), for the description of the creators of archives were explained to participants. The latter were also introduced to the use of the XML standards for encoding archival finding aids called EAD (Encoded Archival Description), and for encoding information about the creators of archival materials called EAC-CPF (Encoded Archival Context – Corporate bodies, Persons and Families). The workshop ended with the presentation of the characteristics of SOSIE program (“Saisie en Open office pour la Structuration d’Instrument de recherché en EAD”) used by the NAF.
Opening Jerusalem Archives: for a connected history of 'Citadinité' in the Holy City (1840-1940)