Qudsia Khurshid Holozada Ahmad (1912-2009) Papers
Scope and Contents
The Qudsia Ahmad collection fills 17 boxes and spans the years 1942-2009. Included are biographical materials, correspondence, photographs, newspaper clippings, datebooks and notebooks, legal-sized items, and oversized items. The biographical materials section is arranged in a rough chronological order and contains various documents dating between 1945-2008. This section primarily includes legal documents, as well as materials pertaining to Ahmad’s children and grandchildren such as school report cards and school projects. Correspondence is first grouped by topic in a rough chronological flow, and thereafter arranged alphabetically by name of correspondent. This section encompasses information on Ahmad’s personal and professional life, including many letters from family and friends. There are a substantial number of letters from her son Dean Ahmad, as well as his wife Frances Eddy Ahmad. The professional correspondence includes letters regarding her PBS work in Palestine and her community work in Forty Fort, Pennsylvania. Photographs in this collection primarily capture Ahamd’s personal life. They are arranged in chronological order and consist of family photographs, vacation photographs, and childhood photographs of Ahmad’s four sons. Newspaper clippings are arranged in a broad chronology and grouped by topic. Mostly from the 1960s, there are articles that mention each of Ahmad’s four sons, herself, and the entire Ahmad family. There are also political articles collected and saved by Ahmad. The datebooks and notebooks in this collection are arranged in chronological order and span the years 1961-2009. These consist of personal notes and agendas written by Qudsia or Hassan Ahmad. This section also includes a book of essays by PBS journalists, including an essay by Qudsia Ahmad. All of these essays are written in Arabic. The legal-sized items primarily contain typescripts and holographs from Ahmad's work for the Palestine Broadcasting Service (PBS) in the 1940s. This section also includes miscellaneous correspondence in Arabic and two photographs. The oversized items include Ahmad’s diploma from the Women's Training College in Jerusalem, a scrapbook of newspaper clippings, and a certificate for Hassan Ahmad.
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research. This collection is stored off-site and requires two business days' advance notice for retrieval. Please contact the McCormick Library at email@example.com or 847-491-3635 for more information or to schedule an appointment to view the collection.
Biographical / Historical
Qudsia Ahmad was born on August 5, 1912, in Jerusalem, Palestine, when Palestine was ruled under a British mandate. Her mother was a native-born Palestinian and her father was Turkish. She had five siblings: three sisters and two brothers.
In 1935, Qudsia graduated from a Women’s Training College in Jerusalem. Achieving this level of education was highly unusual for women living in that region during the 1930s. She taught for several years as the headmistress of a British-run girls’ school.
In the 1940’s, Qudsia worked as a radio broadcaster in Palestine, and was hired as a writer, broadcaster, and newsreader for the Palestine Broadcasting Service (PBS). Qudsia was well known as a supporter of women’s rights and often covered this topic in her work.
In 1947, Qudsia married Hassan Ahmad. Hassan was born in Palestine but recently returned from a trip to the United States, during which he had become a United States citizen and had developed a dry goods business in northeastern Pennsylvania. Neither of their parents approved of their marriage because Hassan was less educated and from a different social class than Qudsia.
Qudsia became pregnant with her first son shortly after their wedding, and due to rising tensions in the Middle East, she and Hassan decided to move to the United States. They traveled by ocean liner, and Imad-ad-Dean (Dean) Ahmad was born aboard the ship.
After arriving in the United States, Qudsia and Hassan bought a house in Forty Fort, Pennsylvania. Hassan opened a small store called the Venice Shop in Pittston, Pennsylvania, which sold dry goods. Within the first five years of moving to the United States, Qudsia and Hassan had three more sons together; Maher, Malek (Mac), and Hani Ahmad.
One day, when on the bus with her four children, Qudsia met a woman who was a member of the local Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) who told her about the social groups and organizations it offered. This was the start of Qudsia’s extensive involvement in the local community. She joined organizations through the YWCA, as well as the Women of Kiwanis, the PTA, and she began giving frequent talks about Islam and Palestinian culture to groups such as church organizations. Qudsia also often wrote letters to the editor of the local newspaper, usually regarding the conflict between Palestine and Israel.
Family was also an important aspect of Qudsia’s life, and she lived to see three of her sons married and witnessed the births of her five grandchildren: Arlo, Amanda, Abby, Zachary, and Marlee. In 1981, Qudsia’s husband, Hassan Ahmad, died from cancer. Qudsia continued to live alone in the family home, being looked after by her son Malek. She continued to lecture and write until suffering a stroke in 1997 which limited her mobility and made speaking difficult.
Qudsia Ahmad was the last of her siblings to pass away; she died in December 2009, in her home, at the age of eighty-eight. She is buried alongside her husband, Hassan, in the historic cemetery in Forty Fort, Pennsylvania.
Language of Materials
Qudsia Ahmad (1912-2009), born in Palestine, was recognized as a poet and worked as a radio broadcaster for the Palestine Broadcasting Service (PBS) before moving to the United States in January 1948. Residing in Forty Fort Pennsylvania, she was an active member of the local community and often lectured about Islam or Palestinian culture to educate the community on these topics.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Transferred by Maher Ahmad, 2021 August (accession number 2021-109-55).
- Guide to the Qudsia Khurshid Holozada Ahmad (1912-2009) Papers
- Collection processed by Nina Hoek
- 2022 August
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository
Deering Library, Level 3
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US