Collection Guide


Abstract: This collection includes records of the correspondence, which were kept by the statesman Hüseyin Hilmi Pasha (1855-1922) for his personal archive during his post in Yemen and newspaper clippings about the Balkan conflict collected in 1903-1919, as well as some offprints on politics.

Institute: Suna Kıraç Library, Special Collections and Archives

Creator(s): Hüseyin Hilmi Pasha

Date Range: 1898-1940

Extent: 7 boxes & 47 files

Language(s): Ottoman, Arabic, French, German, English, Russian, Bulgarian, Albanian, Spanish, Dutch

Access and Use

Digital Access

Items dated 1898-1940 have been digitized and are publicly available online.

Physical Access

Records may be browsed in the Suna Kıraç Library’s Rare Books Room or viewed by appointment in the Reading Room of the Suna Kıraç Library Special Collections and Archives.


Materials in this collection generally fall under the copyright of Koç University. These materials are publicly available for personal, educational use. Please contact the University Archives staff for permission for other uses at

Preferred Citation

[Title of the item], [Identification of item]. Collection of Hüseyin Hilmi Paşa Records. Koç University Suna Kıraç Library, Special Collections and Archives. [Reference URL for digitized copies]


Administrative/Biographical History

The highlights in this collection are the correspondence of Hüseyin Hilmi Pasha during his post in Yemen for his personal archive which were probably copied by himself; and scribal specifications suggest that the records came out of his own handwriting. During his tenure, Hilmi Pasha played a role primarily in pursuing the policy of advice and goodwill to the tribes involved in the increasing banditry in Yemen as a result of the weakening Ottoman state and administrative authority at the end of the 19th century. He observed that tribes that reacted to local government were organized around some religious-political leaders with the deterioration of the socio-economic conditions due to the administrative corruption. When he saw that goodwill policies did not work despite the efforts of political mediation, it was necessary to take action to Istanbul by reporting that military intervention was inevitable. The collection also includes international press reports and local newspapers on the Balkan issue, particularly Macedonia.

The records described in this series were donated by Sinan Kuneralp, acquired by the ANAMED Library Head Berkay Küçükbaşlar, accession signed by the ANAMED Manager Buket Coşkuner SKL director and Tuba Akbaytürk Çanak in 2019.

Scope and Content Note

This collection includes records of the correspondence, which were kept by the statesman Hüseyin Hilmi Pasha (1855-1922) for his personal archive during his post in Yemen and newspaper clippings about the Balkan conflict he collected in 1903-1919, and therefore, these documents can be divided into two periods: one coincides with his post in Yemen, the second phase is his post in the Balkans. The letters and telegrams from his first phase were highly classified documents as they were rendered in encryption. They reflect the chaotic atmosphere of the Yemen provinces due to the lack of governmental authority undermined by deteriorating conditions in local administration and military of the Ottomans. Correspondence among military and administrative officers shed light on how the presence of Europeans in this territory provoked a chain of events orchestrating rebellion against the Ottomans which started with supporting arms trafficking to local brigands and robbers to create anarchy, which in turn, caused distrust in Ottoman governance among the general public. Based on the course of the events and the correspondence among high ranking governors suggests that this chaotic atmosphere obviously prepared local tribes to get organized around some religious leaders to protect themselves against the brigands and Ottomans. The latter’s role unfortunately became obsolete in this environment where the legal security was at stake, the government seemed dysfunctional and taxation was unbearable for the local public.

Other documents in this collection were from the Balkan period: They include newspaper clippings of the European Press which were obtained from the news agency “Le courrier de la presse” founded in Paris in 1889 and “Observer,” the Austian international intelligence agency established in Vienna in 1896. The subject topics of these newspapers focus on the Balkan Question, taxation issues, Macedonian question, Bulgarian issues, Young Turks, lack of governmental authority, anarchy and chaos in the territory.  The majority of the documents / letters are in Ottoman; some in French and Arabic, German, English, Russian, Bulgarian, Albanian, Spanish, Dutch.


The records are arranged according to the original organization of the collector and provenance.

Box contents are available online in the library catalog.

Processing Notes


Collection items were digitized in-house by the Koç University Suna Kıraç Library in 2019. Documents were scanned at 300 dpi in TIFF format, Zeutschel OS 12000C A2. Having been converted to JPEG for reading, the documents are uploaded to our CONTENTdm digital platform.