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Collection Coptic Orthodox Liturgical Chant and Hymnody


Letter from Ragheb Moftah to Ernest Newlandsmith, May 5, 1927

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In the Ragheb Moftah Collection, there are nearly 30 folders containing correspondence, contracts, and telegraph messages between Ragheb Moftah and fellow scholars, family members, and friends who were somehow connected to his project. Moftah, well-known for being a meticulous man, composed many drafts before sending out a letter officially. He communicated with scholars from all over Egypt, Europe, Eastern Europe, and the United States. Though most of his letters were written in English, others were also composed in Arabic, German, and French.

The selections you will find here include all of Ragheb Moftah's final versions of English letters to scholars beginning in the late 1920s and throughout his career, ending with the latest letters regarding his collection at the Library of Congress in 1994. The bulk of this correspondence, however, is between Ragheb Moftah and the English composer and violinist, Ernest Newlandsmith. These letters outline much of their partnership to notate and transcribe Coptic music from 1926 to 1939, when Moftah received his last letter from Newlandsmith. It is these letters that shed the most light on their nuanced relationship as colleagues, friends, brothers and, sometimes on the part of Moftah, as caregiver to the charismatic and larger than life English Friar.

Despite minor damage, such as staining, we have included as many letters as possible, particularly those that provide important information about Moftah and Newlandsmith's work. Unfortunately, we had to exclude others that were far too damaged to read.

Correspondence Between Ragheb Moftah and

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