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Issue . 79
P. 77
Thurayya’s Wedding: A Glimpse of Ottoman Jerusalem from the Khalidi Library

In October 1905, Thurayya al-Khalidi married Nash’at bint Musa Shafiq bin Muhammad Tahir al-Khalidi in Jerusalem. About two months later, Thurayya’s mother Siddiqa wrote a letter to his brother, Ruhi – who was then living in Bordeaux, France – in which she informed him of the marriage and described the wedding ceremony and celebration. This letter, held in the archives of the Khalidi Library (al-Maktaba al-Khalidiyya), is a rare example of women’s writing from the late Ottoman period in Palestine. It offers rich details on various components of marriage (including the engagement and marriage contract, as well as exchanges of gifts and the celebration itself) as well as the social world of a Muslim notable family in late Ottoman Jerusalem. Both a reproduction of the original letter and its annotated translation are published here. An introduction provides context and analysis of the social rituals that comprised Thurayya’s marriage to Nash’at, as well as background information on the individuals who figure prominently in the letter.


Keywords: Ottoman Jerusalem; marriage; celebration; Khalidi family; women; kinship; gifts; letters.