UNC Charlotte Special Collections J. Murrey Atkins Library - Special Collections & University Archives

Skip to main content

William P. Brandon Qur'an collection

Identifier: MS0384

Scope and Contents

This collection contains two copies of the Islamic holy book, the Qur'an, a large copy dating from around the eighteenth century and a small traveling copy dating from around the nineteenth century. Accompanying the large Qur'an is an embroidered white cloth satchel that originally contained it.


  • 1700 - 1899


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical / Historical

Donor’s Biographical note: William P. Brandon, PhD, MPH, joined the political science department of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in January 1994 as the Metrolina Medical Foundation Distinguished Professor of Public Policy on Health. He teaches in the masters' programs in health administration, gerontology and public administration and the undergraduate Honors Program and the Islamic Studies Minor and is a Faculty Associate of the Center for Professional and Applied Ethics. He played a central role in developing the health policy concentration of the PhD in Public Policy and supervised the dissertation of the first candidate in that program to receive the PhD. He teaches the doctoral health policy seminar in both the public policy and health services research doctoral programs. Dr. Brandon was a GlaxoSmithKline Faculty Fellow at the Institute for Emerging Issues, N.C. State University for 2004-5. At UNC Charlotte he served as co-chair of the Health Commission, which recommended the creation of the College of Health and Human Services after a year-long study. Dr. Brandon taught previously at Seton Hall University in South Orange NJ, the Business School of Baruch College, City University of New York, and the University of Rochester, School of Medicine in Rochester NY. He has been a Robert Wood Johnson Faculty Fellow in Health Care Finance at The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services for Planning and Evaluation in Washington. He was also a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow for a year at the Hastings Center, a bioethics research institute, and has been a faculty fellow at Columbia and Georgetown Universities. After completing undergraduate studies at The Johns Hopkins University, where he was elected to membership in Phi Beta Kappa, Dr. Brandon earned graduate degrees from the London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London), the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University. His PhD in political science is from Duke; he received his master’s degree in public health from the School of Public Health at UNC Chapel Hill. His numerous publications have appeared in such journals as the New England Journal of Medicine, Political Theory and the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law. His most recent article appeared in the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved published by Johns Hopkins University Press. His op-ed columns have been published by the Washington Post, Raleigh News and Observer and The Charlotte Observer. His recent research has focused on the delivery of health care to low-income and vulnerable populations in North Carolina. While at UNC Charlotte he has been awarded over 1.1 million dollars in external research funding. Over his entire faculty career he has been Principal Investigator on over 2.7 million dollars in external funding. His community service recently generated two major conferences in collaboration with several community organizations: Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Inequalities in Health: A Challenge for the New Millennium in February 2000 and Eliminating Inequalities in Health: Global Problems, Local Solutions in April 2001. He has served as Vice-Chair of Medlink of Mecklenburg, a collaboration of safety-net providers and UNC Charlotte that works with the Mecklenburg County Medical Society’s Physicians Reach Out program. He is an alumnus of Leadership Charlotte (Class XXII). This service led to his inclusion in Who’s Who in America. Internationally, he participated in people-to-people exchanges to Iran in 1998 and 1999 as part of the response to President Khatami's invitation to begin a "dialogue of the two great civilizations" in hopes of improving relations between the U.S. and Iran. He served for two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Shiraz in the 1960s. Other international experience includes postgraduate study at the London School of Economics, an internship in France and a lectureship at Wuhan University in Wuhan, China. In December 2003 he joined other health professionals in a study tour of the Chinese health care system. At UNC Charlotte he served as President of the UNC Charlotte chapter of Phi Beta Delta, the honorary society to recognize and foster international scholarship. He teaches an undergraduate honors course “Understanding Central Asia: Society, Culture and Politics in Iran and Afghanistan.” He is a Past-President of the Charlotte Area Peace Corps Association, a nonprofit organization of returned Peace Corps Volunteers and friends. Author’s Biographical note: Muhammad was born around the year 570 A.D, after his father, Abdullah had already died. He was born into the clan of Hashim, of the tribe of Quryash. By the time he was six years of age, his mother also died. Afterwards he was put into the care of his grandfather, Abd al-Muttalib, and his uncle, Abu Talib. Muslim theologians do not believe that Muhammad received any education, and that when he became old enough to work, he worked for a caravan company owned and operated by Khadija. Khadija (a widow and divorcee from two previous marriages) and Muhammad got married, and had seven children. In the years 619 Khadija died. Not long after her death, Muhammad remarried several times, and may have had as many as nine wives. Some of the women he married, he did so for political-dynastic reasons, and others in order to provide relief to women who had been widowed and had no other means of support. Muhammad was one who frequently sought moments of isolation for contemplation. It was in the year 610 AD that he had his first revelation on the mountain of Hira, near Mecca. Muhammad believed he had received a vision of the angel Gabriel, who ordered him “to recite.” His recitation later became the beginning of sura 96. Such revelations continued for the rest of his life. Muhammad’s wife Khadija was the first convert to Islam, and the conversions of others came slowly over time, as the area around Mecca was one that already had a variety of religions—mostly polytheistic in nature. Because of resistance to this new religion, Muhammad and his followers were forced to flee from Mecca and Abyssinia to Yithrib (later known as Madina) in the year 622 AD. The arrival of Muhammad at Yithrib in 622 is recognized as the founding year of Islam. While in Medina, Muhammad steadily rose in power and importance in the region, and as this ascendancy took place, his relationship with neighboring power brokers deteriorated. There was a large Jewish population in Medina, and they along with the Banu Qyanuka, and the Banu Nadir were either driven into exile; or in the case of the Banu Quarayza were sold into slavery or were killed. Muhammad’s rise to power is attributed largely to successful military campaigns. Eventually, Muhammad was able to enter into agreements with his neighboring tribes, including the Meccans, so as to make his hajj, or pilgrimage. By the years 630, Muhammad’s influence grew to the point where he was able to take over Mecca with no resistance. Soon thereafter, Muhammad offered amnesty to his former enemies (including the Quarayza) even if they did not convert to Islam. In the year 632, Muhammad died at his home in Medina, which had been used as a mosque.

Biographical / Historical

Muslims regard the Koran written in the Arabic language to be the literal word of God, as revealed by Muhammad, the prophet who recited his words to his associates, who wrote them down. This process took place beginning between approximately the years 610 to around 632 A.D. Muhammad’s followers compiled these writings into a single volume from around the mid 630s to the mid 650s. That compilation became what we now know as The Holy Koran, or Qur’an. The Koran is divided into 114 suras (chapters), which in turn are divided into ayas (verses). Muslims attach great value to the recitation of the scriptures and the power of the holy word when spoken, and routinely recite passages from the Koran in a rhythmic chant as a form of worship. Reading and understanding the Koran’s meaning has developed into a scientific discipline, involving natural sciences, history and language science. Muslims also believe that the Koran provides guidance in their everyday lives.


0.15 Linear Feet




The William P. Brandon Quran Collection consists of a large Qur'an (28 cm) probably dating from the 18th century, the white embroidered cloth satchel that originally housed it, and a small (13 cm) Qur'an.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Dr. William P. Brandon in two installments, 2006 and one loan in 2007.

Processing Information

Processed by Robert A. McInnes
Brandon Koran Qur'an collection
Robert A. McInnes
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscript Collections, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, UNC Charlotte Repository

Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte 28223 United Stated