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Persia Is My Homeland: The Caregivers of the Persian Plateau in the Diaries and Letters of Sarah Wright McDowell, 1908 to 1959

Compiled, Transcribed and Co-Edited by David Malcolm McDowell with Introduction, Notes, and Co-Edited by Thomas Miller Ricks, Ph.D.

Sarah Evans Wright McDowell (1893 - 1981)

Availability: Forthcoming
Published: 2020
Page #: xxii + 330
Size: 6 x 9
ISBN: 9781568593395
plates, appendix, bibliography, index, notes, references

Quick Overview

The diaries, letters and essays are extraordinary and factual eyewitness accounts of Tabriz and Tehran’s social, military and political life in the tumultuous days and years of Iran’s Constitutional Revolution and Tabriz’s ten-month siege. She recounts the murder of Tabriz’s favorite son, Sayyid Hasan Sharifzadeh and the martyrdom of the Presbyterian’s young teacher, Howard Baskerville. She brings to life the intercommunal social and political conflicts within the western Armenian quarter of Tabriz and the successes and failures of Iran’s march to modernity under British, Russian and American occupations in the first six decades of the 20th Century. Born in Persia in the village of Haft Devan outside of the small West Azerbayjani town of Salmas on the banks of Lake Urmiah (Lake Rezayeh), she and her family moved soon after to Tabriz. From 1908 to 1909, the city remained besieged by the Shah’s troops about which she records all that a teenager might observe of the ongoing social, military, and political events and persons during and after the ten-month-siege and the occupation of Tabriz by the troops of the Russian White Army. Sarah, proficient in Azeri Turkish, Persian and Armenian as well as several European languages, continued her astute observations during the entire Reza Pahlavi rule in Tehran from 1919 to 1940 when the American evangelical and educational missions were sent home suddenly by the Reza Shah government. Following the World War, she returned to Tehran during the nationalization of Iran’s oil fields and refineries in Abadan to continue her social work and teaching in Tehran from 1954 to 1964 when she returned again to Wooster, Ohio. The book contains previously unseen group of Tabriz and Tehran American Presbyterian community supported by several appendences of American missionaries, visiting Europeans, and Iranian friends and officials of the time in their educational, political and health public and private services. The time period begins with the early 20th century decades through to the 1930s and pre-World War Two years in Tehran, and ends with the post-World War years including the nationalization of Iran’s oil fields and refineries and the Shah’s White Revolution offering insights into the sensitive and popular activities of the educational and medical American missionaries in the national period of modernization and Americanization of Iran’s leading and elite classes and the Pahlavi Court. The Introduction and Conclusion puts her work and that of her Presbyterian colleagues into the larger context of Iran’s Pahlavi rule, and of the American, British and Russian occupations as well as within selected global events of the day.

Sarah Evans Wright McDowell (1893 - 1981)

Foreword

Preface
Thomas M. Ricks

Introduction: Introducing Sarah Evans Wright McDowell, and her Writings.

Maps of Iran, Tabriz and Tehran

Glossary of Persian and English Terms in the Texts

Time Line of Major Events in Persia and Tabriz, AD 1900 to 1912.

PART I. SARAH’S DIARIES ON QAJARI TABRIZ, 1908 to 1911.

Chapter 1. 1908 A Martyred Teacher, the Royalist Siege of Pro-Constitution Tabriz, and Street Violence.

Chapter 2. 1909 A Martyred American and Resistance to the Russian Occupation of Tabriz.

Chapter 3. 1910 to 1911 Russian Attacks on Freedom-loving Tabrizi Forces.


PART II. SARAH’S LETTERS FROM PAHLAVI TEHRAN

Chapter 4. 1919 to 1941, Letters to America from the Capital.

• Early Modernization Results
• Daily living in Tehran
• The American Hospital
• Visits to Parts of Iran and Leaving for America

PART III. SARAH’S ESSAYS AND POETRY TO AMERICA

Chapter 5. 1920 to 1941, Reflections on Old Persia and New Iran.
- Essays –

• Early Days of the Tehran Station
• Medical History of the American Doctors and Nurses
• Keels and Wheels and Feet and Wings
• The Cook and the Feast
• The Trek Home

Poems -
• Time for Weaning
• The Symphonic Melody
• Bellam Ride on the Karun
• Game Old Lady
• Convoy at Night

CONCLUSION. Legacies of the American Presbyterian Missionaries and Their Families in Iran

APPENDICES:

Appendix A: Americans and Europeans in Tabriz, AD 1900-1912

Appendix B: European Officials in Tabriz, AD 1900-1912

Appendix C: Iranian Officials in Tabriz and Tehran, AD 1900-12

PHOTOS.
Photos of the Wrights and McDowells and the American Presbyterian Missionaries in Iran

Bibliography.
Index.

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