Scope and Contents
The papers consist primarily of correspondence between the Olivers and supporters of their work, Marriott and Jane Morris, Elliston and Ann Morris, Thomas and Ethel Potts and Grace and William Rhoads, concerning the work of the orphanage and school at Ras-el-Metn, and the schools at Brummana; also included are photographs of the buildings, some children and faculty. Correspondence is from both Daniel and Emily Oliver and begins in 1907. Topics include financial and educational information, general reports on the school, world events such as World Wars I and II and the situation in the Middle East, refugees, and Daniel's travel to Palestine. There are also some materials from after Daniel Oliver's death in 1952, showing the next phase of the school.
Daniel Oliver (1870-1952) was born in Scotland to Scots Presbyterians. He was educated to the age of 15 or 16 and then became a missionary in Morocco. In 1890, Oliver went to Palestine. He then studied Arabic at the American Mission in Beirut and worked at a mission school in Brummana (then Syria, now Lebanon). In 1895, Daniel Oliver married Emily Wright, a member of the Society of Friends and a fellow member of the mission school faculty. After their wedding, the Olivers went to work at a mission school in Ras-el-Metn (then Syria, now Lebanon) which also provided vocational training to orphans. Daniel Oliver became a member of the Society of Friends in ca. 1907. In 1908, Daniel Oliver became principal of the Boys' School at Brummana and Emily Oliver became its manager and from 1909 was also in charge of the Girls's High School. The Olivers returned to Ras-el-Metn in 1910. As a result of World War I, with the invasion of Turkey into Syria, and famine, many children were made orphans. In 1915, the Olivers opened an orphanage for both Druse and Christian children, educating them for careers as teachers, administrators, and the like. The children were also taught skills such as carpentry, shoe repair, sewing, and painting. In addition, the Olivers started a local industry of carpetmaking and needle work; the goods were sold abroad. From 1936 to 1946, Daniel Oliver published an Arabic weekly designed to promote peace in the Middle East. He was awarded the Lebanese Order of Merit by the President of Lebanon as well as a golden medal ten years later for his efforts on behalf of Peace between Arabs and Jews.
Douglas Oliver was the son of Daniel and Emily Oliver who served as treasurer, based in Philadelphia, of the orphanages.
Hubert Cooper, based in Philadelphia, was chairman of the board of the orphanages.
Biographical information from the Dictionary of Quaker Biography and internal evidence.