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At a Glance
In the early 1920s a land developer, businessman, and community leader by the name of Sayed Mahroos M. Bseiso began to consolidate large swaths of land in Beersheeba Palestine for the purposes of expanding agriculture and infrastructure development. Mr. Bseiso entered into agreements to purchase land from neighbors, business owners, and family members in need of monetary assistance and could no longer afford the maintenance of real property. Upon purchasing swaths of land in parcels referred to 'dinums'. Mr. Bseiso purchased farming equipment from Jaffa Iron Works company for land cultivation. Mr. Bseiso also rented out water reservoirs to neighboring farmers and landowners who needed water irrigation for crops. Many of the documents demonstrate the extent of these purchase agreements, land deeds, and rental of water reservoirs throughout the early to mid-1900's before the nakba in 1948. Prior to the occupation of Palestine Mahroos envisioned using the land to industrialize southern Palestine and expand the agrarian front and land development. He began doing so in the 1930's by investing in local mosques, stores, and farming equipment. The purchase agreements were witnessed, signed, and sealed with Palestinian stamps and notarized marks for authenticity purposes. The documents reveal a large quantity of land ownership directly under Mahroos Bseiso. They also indicate that the water reservoirs owned by Mahroos were previously examined by archeologists who contend the reservoirs date back to the Byzantine era.
This collection consists of digital files that comprise digitized versions of the original documents (PDF, JPG, and TIFF formats) and supporting additional description (Word and PDF formats).
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Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Mahrous Mustafa Bseiso Land Deeds Collection; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of Mr. Adel Bseiso, 2022, through Global Studies.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Finding aid created from donor-provided description.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
Hajj Mahrous Afandi bin Mustafa Bseiso (1884-1968) was a Palestinian business magnate, industrialist, and philanthropist. He was born and raised in Jerusalem to the prestigious Bseiso family. At the peak of his career, Mr. Mahrous owned large swaths of land in and around Bi'r Al-Sab' where he set out to bring industrialization and socio-economic development to that often-overlooked part of Palestine.