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Khalil A. Totah and Eva Marshall Totah papers

 Collection
Identifier: HC.MC-1210

Scope and Contents note

The papers revolve around three principals and provide a picture of Quakers in Palestine in the 20th century: Khalil A. Totah, his second wife, Eva Marshall Totah and his first wife, Ermina Jones Totah.

The papers are divided into three series. The first, for Khalil Totah, includes correspondence, diaries, notes, manuscripts, publications, official documents, and photographs produced by or concerning Khalil Totah. The correspondence includes material relating to Totah’s resignation as principal of the Friends School in Ramallah in the early 1940s. The diaries, notes, manuscripts, and publication include detail about Totah’s experience and understanding of the situation in Palestine in the 1930s. The photographs cover his time at Oak Grove Seminary, Clark College, the Institute of Arab American Affairs, and the Friends School in Ramallah.

The second series is for Ermina Jones Totah. The material includes correspondence from her time as a teacher at the Friends School in Ramallah, as well as a diary from the same time. There are also photographs, mostly of the Jones family.

The third series is for Eva Marshall Totah. The bulk of the series is correspondence, mostly from the 1920s and 1930s, detailing life and work at the Friends School in Ramallah. Diaries and a small number of manuscripts cover similar material. There are also photographs of the Marshall family and the Totah family, including photographs of Khalil and Eva’s three children, Nabil Marshall Totah, Sibyl Belmont and Joy Totah Hilden.

The majority of the material is in English, though some is in Arabic. Most photographs are captioned in Arabic, but have been given an English caption as well by Eva Marshall Totah.

Dates

  • 1896-1955

Creator

Use Restrictions

Standard Federal Copyright Law Applies (U.S. Title 17)

Khalil Totah

Khalil Totah (1886-1955), son of Abdullah and Azizeh Totah, was born in Ramallah, Palestine He studied at the Church Mission Society School and Friends Hope Day School in Ramallah (1890-1900), and then New Boys Training School in Ramallah (1901-03), Brummana Friends School in Brummana, Lebanon (1903-04), and Church Mission Society English School, Jerusalem (1904-05). He then taught English at Friends Boys Training School in Ramallah (1905-06). He studied at Friends Oak Grove Seminary in Vassalboro, ME (1906-8) and Clark College in Worcester, MA, where he received his B.A. (1908-1911). He was principal of Friends Boys School, Ramallah, Palestine, in 1912-14 and again from 1927-1944. In 1929, he came to Haverford College to raise money for the Friends School. (Haverford professor Elihu Grant was one of the founders of the school, and a mentor to Khalil Totah). Totah was in compulsory Turkish Military Training Service for 3 months in 1914. He became a minister in the Society of Friends in Massachusetts (1914-16) and taught elementary school there (1916-18). He received his M.A. (thesis: "Friends Secondary Schools in America") and Ph.D. (in education; thesis: "Contributions of the Arabs to Education") from Columbia University in 1917 and 1926 respectively. He served as Y.M.C.A. Director with the 79th Division of the U.S. Army in France (1918-1919). From 1919-25, he was Principal of Governor's Teacher Training College in Jerusalem. In 1937, he was a delegate to the Friends World Conference. He was interim pastor at the Congregational Community Church in Mississippi, 1944-1945. From 1945-50, he was the Executive Director of the Institute of Arab American Affairs, New York. He became an American citizen in 1946. He lived in Whittier, California, from 1950-55 where he was a lecturer and writer. He married Ermina Jones in 1916 in South China, Maine. After her death in 1928, he married Eva Marshall in 1929, and the couple had 3 children. Khalil Totah died in Whittier, California, in 1955. (Information from Eva M. Totah)

Ermina Jones Totah

Ermina Jones Totah (1892-1928) married Khalil A. Totah in South China ME in 1916. She came with him to Ramallah, Palestine, and was a teacher at the Friends Boys School. In the summer of 1923, she left Ramallah and came to her family home in South China. In 1928, in order to help her depression, she went to Italy with Alice Jones, returning to Ramallah after two months and taking up teaching again. But, still in despair, she took her own life.

Eva Marshall Totah

Eva Marshall Totah (c. 1896-1990) was born in South Dakota. She studied at William Penn College and received her B.A. from Penn College and her M.A. from Haverford College in 1919. (A copy of her thesis, "Settlement Music Schools: a Study and Interpretation," is in the college's archives). In 1927, she held a position in drama and expression instructor in the department of speech at Penn College. Later in 1927, she went to Ramallah to teach at the Friends School. She married Khalil A. Totah in 1928 and remained in Palestine. They had three children: Nabil Marshall Totah, Sibyl Belmont and Joy Totah Hilden. In 1937, on a sabbatical, the family came to the United States (including Haverford, PA). They returned and lived in Ramallah, Palestine until 1944, when they emigrated to the United States. Totah taught English, drama, dance, speech, religion and other subjects at Friends schools and elsewhere. Her own interests included a half-way house for women in California and the Crenshaw House for men. At the time of her death, Totah was a member of Whittier First Friends Meeting in California. (Information from Friends Journal 36 (Nov. 1990): 43-4 & Quaker Life 31 (Nov. 1990): 38 & internal evidence)

Extent

2 Linear Feet (4 boxes and 1 oversized box)

Language

English

Overview

The papers revolve around three principals and provide a picture of Quakers in Palestine in the 20th century: Khalil A. Totah, his second wife, Eva Marshall Totah and his first wife, Ermina Jones Totah. Khalil Totah discusses the situation in Palestine, primarily in the 1930s, and speaks of his own life and aspirations, as when he became a Quaker minister. His diaries expand the picture, adding information about Friends Boys School in Ramallah (Palestine) and his understanding of the political situation, again primarily in the 1930s. The photographs add the dimension of geography, placing Totah at Oak Grove Seminary, Clark College, the Institute of Arab American Affairs, and at the Friends School in Ramallah. The papers of Ermina Jones Totah portray an earnest and dedicated teacher and wife, but carry little detail. Eva Marshall Totah has the largest quantity of correspondence, primarily 1920s and 1930s. These, along with her diaries, provide great detail to the life and work at the Friends School in Ramallah, as well as the character of Khalil Totah, with whom she had a growing relationship. The photographs show her at the Friends School and with her family, both as a child and a mother.

Arrangement

Series I. Khalil Totah

Subseries I
Correspondence
Subseries II
Diaries
Subseries III
Notes, Manuscripts, and Publications
Subseries IV
Official Documents
Subseries V
Photographs

Series II. Ermina Jones Totah

Subseries I
Correspondence
Subseries II
Diary
Subseries III
Photographs

Series III. Eva Marshall Totah

Subseries I
Correspondence
Subseries II
Diaries
Subseries III
Manuscripts
Subseries IV
Photographs

Acquisition

The Khalil A. Totah and Eva Marshall Totah papers were donated to Special Collections, Haverford College, in 2008 and 2014 by Joy Totah Hilden.

Related Archival Materials note

Earlham College in Richmond, IN has many Ramallah materials, including letters and microfilm, which, according to scholar Thomas Ricks is "very interesting."

Books by Khalil Totah to Quaker Collection

1. Khalil A. Totah, The Contribution of the Arabs to Education. Columbia University, 1926. (Dissertation, signed by Ermina Jones Totah)

2. Khalil A. Totah, Dynamite in the Middle East. New York: Philosophical Library, 1955.

Processing Information

Processed by Elizabeth Peters; completed March 2015.
Title
Khalil A. Totah and Eva Marshall Totah papers, 1896-1955
Status
Completed
Author
Elizabeth Peters
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

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