The World of Kahlil Gibran Collection


The World of Kahlil Gibran Collection


Letter writing


Biographical/Historical note

Gibran Khalil Gibran (1883-1931), or Khalil Gibran, was born on January 6, 1883 in Bsharri to a Maronite Christian Family. In 1895, he immigrated with his mother and younger siblings to the United States and his name was Anglicized to Kahlil Gibran. He attended a public school in Boston, Quincy School, and took drawing classes at Denison House. While there he eventually met the Boston artist, photographer, and publisher Fred Holland Day, who used Gibran as a subject in his photographs. Day became Gibran’s first patron, supporting his creative education.

Gibran returned to Lebanon to attend the Collège de la Sagesse in Beirut from 1898-1902. Following his return to Boston, Gibran’s artwork is first publicly shown in an exhibit at Wellesley College due to the efforts of Bostonian poet and dramatist Josephine Preston Peabody (1874-1922). During this time, he was supported by his sister Marianna and her work at a dressmaker’s shop.

At his first solo exhibition in Day’s studio in 1904, Gibran met Mary Haskell (1873-1964), an educator and principal at a girl’s school in Boston who became one of his lifelong supporters and patrons. Gibran also met Amin al-Ghurayyib that same year, who was editor of the Arab American periodical Al-Mohajer(The Immigrant). Gibran’s first writing, "A Profile of the Art of Music," was published in 1905 in Al-Mohajer. Through his work with the newspaper, Gibran developed his unique style and voice which reflected influences from the informal language of rural Lebanon, Boston’s South End, and Syriac.

Haskell’s financial support enabled Gibran to attend Académie Julian in Paris, France to study art in 1908. He left the academy the following year to study with the French Symbolist painter Pierre Marcel-Béronneau (1869–1937). While in Paris, Gibran became acquainted with Syrian politics through involvement with the New York-based journal Mir’āt al-Gharb (Mirror of the West) and Lebanese American intellectual and political activist Ameen Rihani, who informed Gibran’s views on Arab Nationalism. After returning to Boston in 1910 and establishing a studio in New York, he joined the Boston chapter of the Golden Links Society, an Arab American intellectual and literary society. 

Gibran published many books of poems, novellas, drawings, and short stories throughout his career. Gibran's best-known work, The Prophet, was published in 1923 and was informed by Gibran's meeting with Abdu'l-Baha (1844-1921), then leader of the Baha'i faith. He also contributed to multiple Arab American periodicals, including Al-Funūn and Al-Mohajer, as well as an Egyptian cultural and literary magazine Al-Hilal. In 1920, Gibran re-formed The Pen League, an Arab-American Mahjar literary group, with its original founders Nasib Arida and Abd al-Masih Haddad.

Scope/Content note

The World of Kahlil Gibran Collection is a selection of excerpts, drawings, and manuscripts of Kahlil Gibran that was produced and edited by Farid Salman and Elaine Gebara, and issued by the Gibran National Committee on August 13, 1971.

The collection includes a brochure on Gibran and his hometown of Bcharre, reproductions of his art, and letters and manuscripts written by Gibran.


Gibran National Committee


Robert Sarofeen


Moise A. Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies




Processed by Nay Ackhar, 2022 and Sarah Bernstein, 2023. Collection Guide created by Sarah Bernstein, 2023 October.


The donor retains full ownership of any copyright and rights currently controlled. Nonexclusive right to authorize uses of these materials for non-commercial research, scholarly, or other educational purposes are granted to Khayrallah Center pursuant to U.S. Copyright Law. Usage of the materials for these purposes must be fully credited with the source. The user assumes full responsibility for any use of the materials.




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Collection Tree

This collection is a part of a larger collection that has been divided into more specific collections.

Khayrallah Center Collections
The World of Kahlil Gibran Collection