Al-Hoda Newspapers, الهدى
Al-Hoda, الهدى [The Guidance] was the longest-lived of the early Arabic newspapers, published from 1898 until 1972.
Al-Hoda was founded on February 22, 1898 by Naoum Antoun Mokarzel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and was moved to New York City in 1902, where it remained until it ceased publication. In 1899 Naoum was joined by his younger brother Salloum Antoun Mokarzel, who helped to innovate and modernize Arabic-language linotype printing. The typographic techniques pioneered by the Mokarzels became standards for Arabic-language newspapers around the world. Together, the brothers established a productive printing house which produced not only Al-Hoda but other journals, papers, and numerous books.
The first editor of Al-Hoda was Ameen Gorayeb (later publisher of Al-Mohajer), but Naoum was a frequent contributor and the editorial tone of the paper often reflected his political views. In his editorials and articles, Naoum was quick to rise to the defense of both his homeland and himself, a tendency that often stirred controversy even as it furthered Naoum's political goal.
In the 1910s, Naoum became influential in the movement for Lebanese independence, founding first the Lebanese Union and then the Lebanese League of Progress. During World War I, Al-Hoda published numerous articles calling upon the immigrant community to volunteer their military service as an opportunity to shake off Turkish rule from the Levant. Naoum was a member of the Lebanese delegation to the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, and following independence he worked tirelessly to advance Lebanese politics and cultural identity.
When Naoum died in 1932, Naoum’s widow Rose Abillama Mokarzel took over management of Al-Hoda, hiring Najib Arida as editor. However, the Great Depression threatened the newspaper’s financial stability. In order to save Al-Hoda, a coalition of influential figures in the Lebanese American community came together under the Al-Hoda Company to purchase the paper. The corporation’s first published issues elicited such backlash from its readership that the newspaper was swiftly sold back to Salloum Mokarzel. Salloum gave up his own publishing endeavors to devote his time and efforts to restoring the prestige and financial stability of Al-Hoda. Upon Salloum’s death in 1952 it was published by Salloum’s daughter Mary Mokarzel.
In addition to its close association with Naoum and Salloum Mokarzel, the paper was also a launching point and platform for the careers of many important writers including Marie T. Azeez and Afifa Karam. It also published numerous pieces from foreign correspondents throughout the Arab world. Though its format and content shifted throughout the decades, particularly as ownership changed hands between members of the Mokarzel family, Al-Hoda was consistent in its journalistic commitment to transnational issues and events and its engagement with the Arabic-speaking diaspora.
Al-Hoda Newspapers collection includes issues dating from March 1, 1898 to December 29, 1945. The paper was distinguished by its wide circulation, which ranged throughout North America, but it is also said to have been published across 40 countries worldwide.
The paper was initially published on a weekly or semi-weekly basis and was 24 pages. During this period it was characterized by longform pieces rather than news reportage. These essays ranged in subject matter from political philosophy, science, history, religion, immigration and diaspora, and politics in the Levant region of the Ottoman Empire. The paper shrank to eight pages around the turn of the twentieth century, and became a daily upon its 1903 move to New York City, continuing at this rate and format until 1963.
Other contents of the paper include reporting on national and international events, as well as contributions by foreign correspondents. There are editorials written by Naoum and Salloum Mokarzel concerning international and domestic politics and identity formation within diasporic communities. Various community enclaves of Syrio-Lebanese immigrants are included with an emphasis on New York City. Advertisements for businesses owned by or of interest to immigrants throughout North and South America are also included.
To access the fully searchable digitized issues of the newspaper, search the Khayrallah Center's Arabic Newspaper database.
These materials are digital copies of an original resource held by another institution. The KCLDS Archive often works with other institutions to make digital materials available online to the public. KCLDS is not able to grant permission to use or reproduce these materials. The KCLDS Archive strongly encourages users to contact the holding institution for permission to use or reproduce materials from their holdings.
This collection is a part of a larger collection that has been divided into more specific collections.