ABOUT OUR COLLECTIONS
The ACOR Research Library Photographic Archive Project is made possible under a Fiscal Year 2016 American Overseas Research Centers grant from the U.S. Department of Education.
The American Center of Oriental Research (ACOR) in Amman, Jordan, is a non‑profit, 501(c)(3) academic institution dedicated to promoting research and publication in the humanities and social sciences, with a particular focus on issues related to Jordan and the broader Middle East.
The ACOR Library holds a remarkable photographic archive related to its role in preserving and promoting the country’s heritage. The complete collection, estimated to number more than 100,000 images, provides primary visual documentation of Jordan, including the major archaeological and cultural heritage projects that the center has sponsored across the country over the decades. Given its broad range of content and subject matter, the ACOR Library photographic archive has the potential to be a crucial resource for American, international, and Jordanian scholars involved in cultural and natural heritage preservation and management.
As a first step in making this extensive archival collection available to researchers, the ACOR Library has begun to process, digitize, and make fully accessible (and searchable) online a majority of ACOR’s major institutional and donated photographic holdings. By leveraging technology to make these photographs available and freely accessible, the ACOR Library will better equip American, Jordanian, and international researchers and policy-makers to monitor and assess the numerous threats facing heritage sites in the Middle East and especially Jordan.
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Read more about our policies:
ACOR Library Photographic Archive Notice and Takedown policy
Jane Taylor collection
Jane Taylor, a published author famous for her photographs of Petra, donated a collection of 7,000 photographs to ACOR in 2015. Jane Taylor’s collection captures pivotal moments during the last 30 years in the Arab region and Asia, featuring subjects spanning cultural heritage to social history. In addition to extensive coverage of Jordan (including many aerial shots), the collection includes photography from Yemen, Iraq, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Palestine, Pakistan and Syria. Taylor’s collection includes her work with UNICEF in the aftermath of the Gulf War in the 1990s, documenting the effects of the war and sanctions on the people of Iraq.
Rami Khouri collection
Rami Khouri is a well-known Arab American journalist, editor and political commentator. Khouri served as editor-in-chief of Jordan’s English-language daily, The Jordan Times, from 1975 to 1982 and again from 1987. Khouri was the first director and is now a Senior Fellow of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs (IFI), and he is a professor at the American University of Beirut. The Rami Khouri collection features many archaeological and cultural heritage sites, as well as photo-journalistic documentation of daily life and events in the Middle East from 1970s to the early 2000s. Khouri’s collection includes more than 20,000 slides, negatives and photographic prints, 20 VHS and beta video cassettes, and printed materials.
George Bass collection
George Bass is known to many in the archaeological world as the founding father of nautical archaeology. He was the director of the first archaeological expedition to entirely excavate an ancient shipwreck (Cape Gelydonia, 1960) and Bass founded the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA) in 1973. The George Bass collection at ACOR includes photos from Jerusalem, Jordan and Syria, offering rare insight into famous heritage sites over half a century ago, a UN pamphlet on the political and refugee situation, as well as the impressions and escapades of Bass as a young man travelling through the region in 1955-56, shared through his letters. Bass’ collection at ACOR includes 35mm-slide photographs, personal letters and commentary.
The Charles Wilson collection was donated to ACOR by Jane Taylor. The collection is made up of a series of print photographs taken between 1944-45 when Wilson was purchasing provisions for the British army. The photographs show agricultural processes including harvesting, threshing and winnowing, as well as the transportation of wheat and straw by handcart and camel, most likely in the Madaba region, and en route to Amman. Wilson photographed Jordan’s famous sites including Petra’s monastery and royal tombs, the Sea of Galilee and Amman Roman Theatre, as well as some transportation vehicles.
Dr. Robert Schick is an archaeologist and an historian of the Byzantine and Islamic periods with a special interest in the city of Jerusalem in the Islamic periods. He has worked on excavation projects in Jordan for many years. As an ongoing Publication Fellow at ACOR, he is preparing the final report of an archaeological excavation from 1992-1993 of a Byzantine-Early Islamic building (the Burnt Palace) in Madaba. Robert Schick donated a small collection of 35mm slide photographs of archaeological sites in Jordan to ACOR in 2018.
Linda K. Jacobs, published author and archaeologist, donated a photograph collection to ACOR including images of cultural heritage sites from 1980s, now threatened by the unstable political situation. Jacobs’ first book, Digging In: An American archaeologist uncovers the real Iran, (2011), narrates her stay on a remote archaeological dig in pre-revolutionary Iran. After Iran, Jacobs spent a year living in Jordan working on an archaeological dig. Her second book, Strangers in the West: The Syrian Colony of New York City, (2015), explores how the Syrian community became the cultural and economic center of the Arab diaspora in America. Jacobs’ collection includes photographs from Syria and Jordan. Jacobs’ photos of Syria have been digitized and made available on ACOR Photo Archive.