Kahlil Gibran Collective
Glen Kalem      28 Mar 2019

Rare Photo Found - A Banquet in Honor of Gibran (Detroit, October 1924)

by Glen Kalem

Banquet given by Progressive Syrian American Club in honor of Khalil Gibran October 1924 Smithsonian InstitutionIn 2014 The Kahlil Gibran Collective announced the discovery of an extremely rare photograph of Kahlil Gibran which is part of the Faris and Yamna Naff Arab-American Collection, Smithsonian Institution, Archives Center, National Museum of American History,1 with these words:

“Francesco Medici, an international Gibran scholar […] has unearthed a rare photograph of Gibran lost in a private collection […]. This photograph […] may have eluded scholars and researchers due to the incorrect spelling of Gibran’s surname: ‘Giran.’ 

"The Photo Craft Studios photo taken in October 1924 captures an event hosted by the Progressive Syrian American Club; the evening was held to honor Gibran for his community and literary work. Men and women can be seen seated at several banquet tables in a large room at the Hotel Tuller, there is a small band on stage at the far end of the room and Gibran is seated just left of the stage.

The Hotel Tuller, now demolished, was one of the largest luxury hotels in Detroit, Michigan. The event, that was precisely held on Friday, 24 October 1924, was announced not too enthusiastically by Gibran to Mary Haskell as “a banquet which some good people wish to give in honor of The Prophet. […] I do not know what they are going to do with me there. But I shall try to return [to New York] as soon as possible.”2

I'm happy to announce that a rare large size copy 11"(27.94cm) x 19" (48.26cm) of the said photograph was recently purchased and will now make up part of my personal collection. In need of some restorations, I hope to reproduce it to its former glory and exhibit this along with many other rare items. 

Found - Large Copy of Banquet Photo - Syrian Relief of American (detail)Found - Large Copy of Banquet Photo - Syrian Relief of American (detail)Found - Large Copy of Banquet Photo - Syrian Relief of American (detail) 

Copyright © Glen Kalem all rights reserved 2019 



[2]The Letters of Kahlil Gibran and Mary Haskell, cit., pp. 655 and 658 (cf. respectively Oct. 16, 1924; Oct. 21, 1924).