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During a stroll through the Cairo International Book Fair’s used books section, we came across Essam Abou al-Hamd, a bookseller from Nabi Daniel Street, the largest second-hand books market in Alexandria. But Abou al-Hamd wasn’t selling books, and nor is he just a bookseller.

The founder of an archive of academic journals, he spends most of his days snipping articles out of periodicals to add to his massive collection, which spans a multitude of eras, topics and historical figures. He has been doing this for years, by himself, without support from any government or private institution.

Does Abou al-Hamd’s archive encompass the whole world? Likely not, but that is what he aspires to. Here is a video of our brief meeting with this extraordinary man. (Remember to click the subtitles on for English.)


Essam Abou al-Hamd can be reached on 01118525417.

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Lara El Gibaly 
Nael El Toukhy 
Rowan El Shimi