Charles Corm

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Charles Corm
Born (1894-03-04)March 4, 1894
Beirut, Lebanon
Died 1963
Beirut, Lebanon
Occupation Writer, Industrialist and Philanthropist
Nationality Lebanese
Notable awards Edgar Allan Poe International Prize of Poetry 1934
Spouse Samia Baroody
Children David, Hiram, Virginie and Madeleine

Charles Corm (1894-1963) was a Lebanese writer, industrialist and philanthropist.[1] He is considered to be the leader of the Phoenicianism movement in Lebanon which ignited a surge of nationalism that led to Lebanon's independence.[2][3][4] In a country torn by sectarian conflicts, Corm's intention was to find a common root shared by all Lebanese beyond their religious beliefs. Over the course of his life, Corm received more than 100 international literary and non literary awards, including the Edgar Allan Poe International Poetry Prize 1934, Citizen of Honor of New York City (USA),[5][6] Grand Officer of the National Order of the Cedar (Lebanon), Officer of the French Poets' Society (France), Medal of Honor of the Académie Française in 1950 (France),[7] Grand Officer of the Order of Human Merit (Switzerland), Cross of Academic Honor of the American International Academy (USA) and Grand Officer of the Academic Order (Italy).


Although most Lebanese authors at the time wrote in Arabic, Corm mostly wrote in French. One of his main contributions is La Revue Phénicienne, a publication he founded in July 1919 in which many Middle Eastern writers of the time took part and which inspired Lebanon's independence.[1][2][8][9] He is considered to be one of the most influential and awarded modern Lebanese writers due to his advocacy of Lebanese identity and nationalism.[1] His most famous body of work, La Montagne Inspirée (The Sacred Mountain in English), earned him the Edgar Allan Poe International Prize of Poetry in 1934.


Upon graduation, at the age of 18, Corm travelled to New York City where he obtained a meeting with business tycoon Henry Ford, the richest man in the world at that time.[1][10] Subsequent to the meeting, Corm secured the Ford Motor Company dealership as well as several leading American brands for the entire "Greater" Middle East region at a time when Ford Motor Company was the only car maker in the world.[1] At its height, Charles Corm's commercial ventures, all folded into Société Générale Charles Corm and Co., was the first and largest multinational in the Middle East, employing thousands of men and women from Turkey to Iran.[11] In 1928 he designed[12] Ford Motor Company's Middle East Headquarters (later to be named "The Corm Building") with no formal architectural training. It was built in 1929 in Beirut,[10] later becoming the Corm family home.[12] It was the highest standing structure in Lebanon until 1967.[13] His wealth made, the man who had been referred to as "the reluctant tycoon"[10] decided to devote his life to writing and literature on the occasion of his 40th birthday.[1]


Corm helped finance several Lebanese state buildings and entities including the Lebanese Parliament, the National Museum, the National Library and other state and cultural landmarks[1] at a time when the nascent Lebanese state lacked funds, freshly independent from its French mandate status. Corm also financed the Lebanese pavilion at the 1939 World Fair in New York City[1] for which he was honored by New York City Mayor LaGuardia with the city's Gold Medal, the highest distinction given out by the city[5][11]

Personal life[edit]

Corm was born in 1894 in Beirut, Lebanon, the son of the famous Lebanese artist Daoud Corm (sometimes Anglicised as David Corm).[14] He graduated from the Oriental Faculty at Saint Joseph University with high honors. In 1934 and at the age of just 40, he left business for a life of literature and philanthropy. In 1935, he married Samia Baroody, who had been Miss Lebanon and took 2nd Place in the Miss Universe pageant in New York City in 1934. They had four children: David, Hiram, Virginie and Madeleine.[1] Charles Corm continued to live in Beirut, where he died in 1963.[2] In addition to his literary legacy, he left behind him one of the most substantial fortunes in the region, now globally diversified.[1][15]


  • La Revue Phénicienne
  • La Montagne Inspirée, Edgar Allan Poe International Poetry Prize 1934 (translated into English under the title "The Sacred Mountain")
  • 6000 ans de Génie Pacifique au Service de l'Humanité (translated into English under the title "6000 Years of Peaceful Contributions to Mankind")
  • Les Cahiers de l'Enfant
  • Sonnets Adolescents
  • Contes Erotiques
  • La Montagne Parfumée
  • L'Eternel Féminin
  • Médaillons en Musique de l'Ame Libanaise
  • Petite Cosmogonie Sentimentale
  • La Planète Exaltée
  • Le Mystère de l'Amour
  • La Symphonie de la Lumière


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Carla Henoud (24 September 2009) "Charles Corm, le visionaire", L'Orient-Le Jour. [1]
  2. ^ a b c Kaufman, Asher. 2004. Reviving Phoenicia: The Search for Identity in Lebanon. London: I.B. Tauris.
  3. ^ Samir Kassir, Beirut
  4. ^ The Formation Of An Identity In Lebanon
  5. ^ a b They Went To The Fair, Saudi Aramco World July/August 1973
  6. ^ Lebanon Participation - Charles Corm (Commissioner General) speaking, New York Public Library Digital Collection
  7. ^ Académie Française
  8. ^
  9. ^ Charles Corm, Espace Français
  10. ^ a b c "A forgotten legacy", Now (Mercury Media Inc.), April 17, 2008. Retrieved September 11, 2014.
  11. ^ a b Frank Salameh, Charles Corm: An Intellectual Biography
  12. ^ a b "Modern Beirut - Charles Corm", Time Out Beirut, March 21, 2011. Retrieved September 11, 2014.
  13. ^ Bespoke Magazine
  14. ^ Notre Dame de Jamhour
  15. ^ Oxford Reference