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Sam Hamod Papers

Identifier: MsC1176

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Scope and Contents

The Sam Hamod Papers consist of papers detailing Hamod's life as an Arab American poet. Hamod's poetry makes up the majority of the papers though there are several manuscripts written by Hamod critiquing and discussing other writer's poetry. Additionally, handwritten notes, publications, correspondence, and biographical materials are included.


  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1980-2020

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials may be unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owner. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility and potential liability based on copyright infringement for any use rests exclusively and solely with the user. Users must properly acknowledge University of Iowa Libraries Special Collections & Archives as the source of the material. For further information, visit

Biographical / Historical

Hamode Samuel Hamod was born on February 16, 1936 in his parents' boarding house hotel in Gary, Indiana. His father immigrated to the US from Syria sometime between 1914 and 1920, and his mother was born in Fort Dodge, Iowa to parents who immigrated from Syria to the US around 1905. Hamod spent his childhood in his parents' boarding house hotel and eventually their tavern where he would interact with people of a variety of nationalities as it was common for immigrants to come to Gary, Indiana to work in the steel mills there. He also spent a lot of time in the Islamic Mosque, learning Arabic and about his parents' religion. Both of these experiences influenced his writing later in life.

In 1957, Hamod graduated with a Bachelors degree in communications from Northwestern University and in 1960, he graduated with a Masters degree in communications from the same university. By the late 1960s, he had entered the Iowa Writers' Workshop to study poetry and creative writing. Following graduation from the program in 1973, he went on to teach at various universities.

In addition to his academic and creative pursuits, Hamod took an interest in the Arab Muslim community and the related politics. To give a voice to this community, he started the Third World News alternative newspaper that gave worldwide coverage. He was also the director of the Islamic Center of Washington DC and America and in this position, he advised the US State Department on Middle Eastern Affairs.

Hamod was the Princeton Writer's Workshop in the last few decades of his life, where he continued to write poetry about his heritage. He died on June 22, 2021 at the age of 85 in Washington, DC.


15 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



This collection contains the materials of Arab-American poet Sam Hamod.

  • Boxes that were originally labeled as box 19, 20, 21, 22, 25, 26, 27 (seven boxes) have been returned to David Hamod on January 3, 2023 during a 1:30pm meeting with Margaret Gamm, Jenna Silver, and Jane Van Voorhis.
Bailey Adolph, 2022.
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Iowa Special Collections Repository

Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)