Mikhail Asad Rustum
Mikhail Asad Rustum [al-Rustum] was an early Arab-American author born in the mid-nineteenth century in what is today Lebanon. He immigrated to the United States in the 1880s; though he initially settled in Philadelphia, he had close social ties with the community of intellectuals and writers located in New York City. Rustum participated in the burgeoning press, contributing both literature and opinion pieces to Kawkab America.
Rustum is best known for his 1895 book كتاب الغريب في الغرب, or Kitab al-Ghareeb fi al-Gharb [Strangers in the West: The Trip of Mikhail Asad Rustum to America, 1885-1895], which is considered to be among the first—if not the first—travelogue written by an Arab traveler in and about America. Rustum published two more editions/extensions of this travelogue, one in 1904 and one in 1909. In addition to his literary output, Rustum served as editor of the newspaper Al-Muhajer.
Scope and Content
This collection contains three books by Rustum. The first is a facsimile reproduction of the 1895 Strangers in the West. The second is a portion of the 1909 reprint, containing only the back matter: advertisements, short pieces, and photographs of Rustum and other prominent Syrian-Americans. The last book is a collection of Rustum’s work, including contributions of other prominent authors responding to his work.
Jacobs, Linda K. Strangers in the West: The Syrian Colony of New York City, 1880-1900. New York: Kalimah Press, 2015.