Metahistory: Food for Books on Banking

In Dirāsah fī al-nuẓum al-naqdīyah wa-al-maṣrifīyah maʻa al-ishārah al-khāṣṣah ilá Miṣr wa-Lubnān (A Study of Financial and Banking Systems with Special Attention to Egypt and Lebanon), we see how the research sources for the banking history of the Middle East can contain more than simply the information conveyed in a scholarly study or annual report. The bookplate and stamp placed at the beginning of this volume document how the latter was acquired and processed by UT Libraries.

Through the Public Law 480 “Books for Food” program managed by the Library of Congress, UT Libraries was able to acquire this book. The Arab Development Institute Fund supported the acquisition––and, significantly––the cataloging of this volume as well. These small artifacts are evidence that these programs, funds, and relationships existed.

Interested to learn more about PL 480 and the history of U.S. university library collections? See: Alex Boodrookas (2019) "Total Literature, Total War: Foreign Aid, Area Studies, and the Weaponization of US Research Libraries," Diplomatic History, 43:2, 332–352, DOI: 10.1093/dh/dhy073; Michael Degerald (2021) "Trading Wheat for Books in the Cold War: Public Law 480 (Food for Peace) and Its Connection to Middle East Studies," Middle East Critique, 30:3, 245-264, DOI: 10.1080/19436149.2021.1957301; Michael Albin, et al., “Area Studies, the Cold War, and the History of the US Academic Library Collections,” panel discussion at the Middle East Institute's Oman Library, Zoom, 22 June 2022: