In May 1873, Mrs. Abby Bliss and her four children left Beirut and returned to Amherst, Massachusetts for reasons of health and the children's education. This book contains letters written to them between 1873 and 1874 by Abby's husband, Daniel Bliss, the first president of the Syrian Protestant College, later the American University of Beirut. Written in diary form just seven years after the founding of the College, the letters reveal the excitement of the almost completed construction of College Hall, the frustrations and achievements of their fourteen months of separation, and fascinating information about daily life and the politics of the time. They show Daniel Bliss as a loving family man missing his wife and children while enthusiastically dedicated to the task of building the College.
AUB's 125th anniversary celebrations in 1992 coincided with the beginnings of Lebanon's return to peace after sixteen years of civil war, throughout which AUB continued to function. This book is a special anniversary tribute to the founders of the university, originally the Syrian Protestant College, who laid the foundations on which the college could grow and develop into one of the leading institutions of higher education in the Middle East. The book documents seven of the original faculty: Daniel Bliss, the first president; David Stuart Dodge; Edwin R. Lewis; Harvey Porter; George E. Post; Cornelius Van Dyck; and John Wortabet. Sections in English and Arabic include speeches, official papers, letters, and articles – some contemporary, others more recent – that demonstrate the values and principles these founding fathers sought to put into practice.