© The Fouad Debbas Collection
    Designed by Plan A Developed by Coperon
Fouad C. Debbas was born in Beirut,
on November 15th 1930, into an old
and influential Lebanese family. In 1958, he graduated in engineering from Ecole Centrale in Paris and joined the family
in running their lighting business.
Until his sudden death in 2001, he built the world’s largest private collection
of postcards and old photographs of Lebanon and the Middle East.

What began as a sentimental side- interest gradually developed into a rigorously organized scholarly enterprise. He was methodical and rational,
a perfectionist who masterminded an original archival system classifying the collection by sequence, theme and publisher. This classification allowed
the constitution of a database and a catalogue which provided both for himself and for other researchers, whether sociologists, ethnologists, urban planners and architects, an essential documentary source allowing them to formulate their analysis of Lebanon and the region’s history.

His passion led him to fully dedicate himself to developing and enhancing the collection.
Fouad Debbas believed in the importance of collecting, preserving and sharing old images to safeguard the collective
memory and the history of an entire region. In ordeto future generations, Fouad Debbas published in 1986 “Beyrouth, notre mémoire” followed by a second book in 2001 “Des photographes à Beyrouth 1840-1918”.
Yet his thirst for history was not solely related to old photography, it led him to discover on the shelves of an old bookstore in Lyon, a manuscript written by a French aristocrat who witnessed firsthand Lebanon 1860’s sociopolitical turmoil. His work on the manuscript was published posthumously in 2007 as “Carnets d’Orient, le journal de la Comtesse de Perthuis”. He also ran exhibits of the collection at the Institut
du Monde Arabe in Paris and was preparing his second exhibition at the Sursock museum in Beirut in 2001,
when he suddenly passed away.

The Fouad Debbas Collection remains
a unique source for those of us who wish to research old memories.
This website was designed with his spirit in mind.