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Persia is My Homeland: Tabriz Diaries, and Tehran Letters and Essays by Sarah Evans Wright McDowell, 1893-1980

Thomas M. Ricks, David Malcolm McDowell

Availability: Forthcoming
Published: 2019
Page #: xxii + 420
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.

Thomas M. Ricks

David Malcolm McDowell

[To be revised and expanded]

Preface
Foreword
Acknowledgements
Dedication
Tables of photos
Glossary of Terms and Principal Persons in Tabriz and Tehran
Timeline of Sarah Evans Wright McDowell and Events in Tabriz and Tehran
Sarah’s Autobiographical “The Early Years of Her Life”

INTRODUCTION: “Turn-of-the-century-Russia, America, and Persia in the midst of Russian Occupation, American Evangelism, and Iranian Constitutionalism.”

PART I: SARAH’S TABRIZ DIARIES

Chapter One: SWM Diary One – Tabriz in 1908 - The Siege of Tabriz and the Murder of Sayyid Hasan Sharifzadeh

Chapter Two: SWM Diary Two – Tabriz in 1909 – Anjuman Resistance and the Death Howard C. Baskerville.

Chapter Three: SWM Diary Three – Tabriz in 1910 - The Russian Occupation and Revival of Constitutional Tabriz

Chapter Four: SWM Diary Four - Tabriz in 1911 - Betrayal by Russia and Britain and The Strangling of Persia

PART II: SARAH’S TEHRAN LETTERS AND ESSAYS

Chapter Five: Weekly Letters from Tehran – “Witness to Modernity and Empire.”

Chapter Six: Occasional Papers, Essays and Poems – “Sarah and Her Native Land.”
1. “The Trek Home”
2. “Book of My Life”
3. “The Cook hatches a Plot”
4. “Feet, Wheels, Keels, and Wings”
5. “A Century of Medical Work in Iran”

Conclusion.“The Legacies Legacy of Missionaries , Modernity and Empire for Iran and Iranians.”

Appendices. A. The Geneologies of the Wrights and McDowells
B. List of American Missionaries, Europeans & Others in 1908 Tabriz
C. List of Iranian officials in 1908 Tabriz (to be added)
D. List of Skirmishes in and around Tabriz, 1908 – 1911.
E. Photos of missionaries, their families and homes.

Suggested Readings on Tabriz and Iran.

Index.

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