Born in Lebanon, Philip K. Hitti was educated at the American University of Beirut and at Columbia University in New York. He received his Ph.D. in history from Columbia in 1915, two years after he had settled in the United States. In 1925, following a number of years of teaching at Columbia and at American University of Beirut, he accepted an appointment at Princeton University, where he remained until his retirement in 1954. He became the first director of Princeton's Near Eastern Studies Program. Hitti translated, wrote, and lectured extensively about the Arab world and Islamic civilization. A leading authority in the United States on Arabic and Islamic studies, he promoted and popularized Arabic studies in American educational institutions for nearly half a century. His most famous work is History of the Arabs, published in 1937, today considered a standard in the field.