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Finding Aid for the Jonathan Friedlander collection of Middle Eastern Americana, 1875-2006
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Jonathan Friedlander collection of Middle Eastern Americana
    Date (inclusive): 1875-2006
    Collection number: 1314
    Creator: Friedlander, Jonathan.
    Extent: 33 boxes (16.5 linear feet) 21 oversize boxes
    Abstract: The several thousand items contained in the Middle Eastern Americana collection document the substantial and significant presence of the Middle East in the annals of American popular culture. Over the course of more than 150 years and well into the present public interest in the Middle East has engendered a consumer appetite for a material culture that ranges from popular fiction and cinema to tobacco and coffee. In all its parts and subsets this diverse and multifaceted collection is geared for academic research and scholarly exploration of issues related to the representation of the Middle East in various popular culture domains including literature, cinema, music, photography, graphics and visual art, the performing arts, and entertainment.
    Language: Finding aid is written in English.
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Department of Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.
    Selected digitized images from this collection.

    Administrative Information

    Restrictions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Jonathan Friedlander, 2006.

    Processing Note

    Processed by Lorraine Pratt (2006), Sina Rahmadi (2007), and Audra Eagle (2008) in the Center for Primary Research and Training (CFPRT), with assistance from Kelley Bachli, 2008.
    UCLA Library Special Collections collaborated with Jonathan Friedlander on the creation of this finding aid. Friedlander served as the primary author for the Abstract, Biography, and Scope and Content sections.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Jonathan Friedlander collection of Middle Eastern Americana (Collection 1314). Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 6013409 


    Jonathan Friedlander, former assistant director of the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies, began collecting this wide array of print, audio visual, and electronic materials and ephemera in the early 1970s. His interest in the commercialization and wide dissemination and marketing of products and services bearing Middle Eastern iconography, images and brand names has yielded several publications, exhibitions, videographs, websites, and most importantly a sizable collection of primary sources including his own photography of parades and festivals, jazz musicians, belly dancers, Arabian horses and their trainers and caretakers, and architectural styles deemed Moorish, ancient Egyptian and Assyrian, Saharan, and otherwise inspired by the Arabian Nights and seen across America.

    Scope and Content

    The largest part of the collection consists of hard cover and paperback books, pulp fiction and men's adventure magazines, graphic novels, and comics, along with a special collection of materials on the Arabian Nights. Middle Eastern subjects and themes are in evidence throughout the print genre, in thrillers and mysteries, romances, tales, science fiction and fantasy, geographies, historical and religious fiction, and youth literature. An important sub section of the collection focuses on the influences of the Middle East on the American musical landscape and showcases various genres of music that have appropriated and popularized the Middle East notably in jazz, rock, heavy metal, classical, and in movie soundtracks and sheet music. The collection also features a cache of electronic games and vintage board games, product advertisements, merchandise and ephemera, souvenirs, mementos, as well as a sizable number of stereographs, Hollywood movies, reference books, and catalogues. Related materials are available at the Media and Music Libraries, and the UCLA Film and Television Archive.
    The bulk of the Middle Eastern Americana collection was acquired on the road, in bookstores, book fairs and antiquarian shows, antique stores, and shopping malls across the United States. Increasingly the Internet has become an important venue for the acquisition of select and rare items.

    Organization and Arrangement

    The collection is arranged into ten series, five of which have been further arranged into subseries. Sound recordings, books, serials, sheet music, motion picture films, and Arabian Nights books are arranged alphabetically. The series and subseries arrangement is as follows:
    1. Sound Recordings
      • Phonograph records
      • Compact discs
    2. Books
      • [Books]
      • Children's books
      • Romance novels
      • Pocket-sized books
    3. Serials
      • Pulp fiction
      • Comic books
      • Men's adventure magazines
      • Magazines
    4. Advertisements
    5. Games
      • Board games
      • Video games and manuals
      • Card games
    6. Artifacts and Objects
    7. Sheet Music
    8. Motion Picture Films
      • Digital video discs (DVDs)
      • Laserdisks
      • VHS cassettes
    9. Arabian Nights Books
    10. Stereographs

    Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

    COLLECTION CONTAINS DIGITAL MATERIALS: Special equipment or further processing may be required for viewing. To access digital materials you must notify the reference desk in advance of your visit.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Friedlander, Jonathan --Archives.
    Arabian nights.
    Middle East specialists --California --Los Angeles --Archival resources.

    Related Material

    Video cassettes from the collection are available through the Office of Instructional Development at the Instructional Media Lab in Powell Library at UCLA.