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Wichita, a city of entrepreneurs, offered an ideal home for Middle Eastern Christians who started arriving in the 1890s. Initially identifying themselves as Syrians, they operated as peddlers across southern Kansas and northern Oklahoma. Peddling rapidly gave way to wholesale, grocery, and dry goods companies. Patriarchs such as N. F. Farha and E. G. Stevens established themselves in local business and civic circles. Primarily Eastern Orthodox, the Lebanese established two churches, St. George Orthodox Church and St. Mary Orthodox Christian Church, that became focal points of community life. After World War II, entrepreneurs responded to new opportunities, from real estate to supermarkets to the professions. In recent decades, an additional wave of immigrants from war-torn Lebanon has continued the entrepreneurial tradition.
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Jay M. Price is an associate professor of history at Wichita State University. His previous books include Wichita: 1860-1930, El Dorado: Legacy of an Oil Boom, and Wichita's Legacy of Flight. Victoria Foth Sherry served as founding director of the Heartland Orthodox Christian Museum in Topeka from 2001 to 2004. She has developed two touring exhibitions on Orthodox immigration to Kansas, including Nishkur Allah: Arab Christians in the Heartland. Matthew Namee, a descendant of one of Wichita's oldest Lebanese families, is a student at Wichita State University and is pursuing a career in law. Wichita State University students Raymond Crosse and Andrea Schniepp Burgardt provided additional research and support for the book.Review:
Title: Wichita’s Lebanese Heritage
Author: Staff Writer
Publisher: The Cathedral Messenger
Date: January 2010 Issue
Wichita’s Lebanese Heritage, a photographic history tracing Lebanese immigration, faith, family life, and entrepreneurship from 1895 to the present, will be published by Arcadia Press in January. Written by WSU Professor Jay M. Price, Victoria Sherry, and Matthew Namee, the book features more than 200 photographs, many of them contributed by St. George parishioners. Eighth Day Books will offer copies of the book for sale after liturgy on January 17, with proceeds benefiting St. George and St. Mary. Look for more details in next month’s Messenger.
Title: New Book Features ‘Wichita’s Lebanese Heritage’
Author: Staff Writer
Publisher: East Wichita News
Date: January 2010
Wichita’s Lebanese community is featured in a pictorial
history by local authors Jay Price, Victoria Sherry, and Matthew Namee. The book, Wichita’s Lebanese Heritage traces the emigration of Middle Eastern Christians who arrived in the 1890’s identifying themselves as Syrians, and operated as peddlers across southern Kansas and northern Oklahoma.
Readers will learn about the establishment of the Delano neighborhood, Lebanese and Mediterranean food, entrepreneurial heritage that led to wholesale, grocery, and real estate professions, along with ethnic, cultural,
and religious traditions that have become part of the Wichita story.
Published by Arcadia Publishing, a leading publisher of regional history in the United States, the book is available at area bookstores, independent retailers, and on-line retailers.
Wichita’s Lebanese Heritage is available this month and sells for $21.99. Meet the authors in a book signing Saturday, January 16 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Barnes & Noble, 8021 E. Kellogg Drive.
Title: Lebanese Culture Influences Wichita Community
Author: Susan Peters
Publisher: KAKE-ABC News 10
Believe it or not, much of Wichita's history can be traced back to Lebanese descendants.
That's what a Wichita State professor found out during research for a new book, titled, "Wichita's Lebanese Heritage."
Jay Price said the inspiration behind the book can be found on the WSU campus.
"Well when you're at Wichita State and you go to Ablah Library and Jabara Hall, it was even in that this is a community that is so important to wichita and its story and it deserves to be told," Price said.
The book chronicles the lives of Lebanese decedents in Wichita, who today continues to be a driving force in the community. Such names include the Jabaras, the Farhas and Stevens.
"What's most amazing to me is that my friends who move to wichita are always shocked by the number of Lebanese people here," Joan Farha said. She said the new book can now answer questions why the Lebanese descended on Wichita.
The first Lebanese in Wichita were peddlers selling everything from clothing to tobacco. Even Rolling Hills Country Club was founded by two Lebanese businessmen after the Wichita Country Club barred Lebanese members.
Victoria Foth Sherry, co-author of "Wichita's Lebanese Heritage," said there is no part of the Wichita community that is not Influenced by Lebanese families.
The book is available at Eighth Day books and other Wichita bookstores.
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Book Description Arcadia Publishing December 2009, 2009. Paper Back. Condition: New. A well-researched, precisely-narrated photographic history of the cultural and entrepreneurial genius of the Lebanese community of Wichita, Kansas. The journey begins just before 1900 and traces the life of this community up through its first three generations. The book provides a microcosm of countless immigrant communities that emerged from the great waves of immigration to America during the second half of the nineteenth century. Seller Inventory # 144410
Book Description Arcadia Publishing. Condition: New. Paperback. Worldwide shipping. FREE fast shipping inside USA (express 2-3 day delivery also available). Tracking service included. Ships from United States of America. Seller Inventory # 0738577170
Book Description Arcadia Publishing, 2010. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0738577170
Book Description Arcadia Publishing, 2010. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # MB00FNSFI92
Book Description Arcadia Publishing, 2010. Paperback. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0738577170
Book Description Arcadia Publishing, 2010. Paperback. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110738577170
Book Description Arcadia Pub, 2009. Paperback. Condition: Brand New. 128 pages. 9.00x6.50x0.50 inches. In Stock. Seller Inventory # 0738577170