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Edward Morris Wistar papers

Identifier: HC.MC-1137

Scope and Contents

The Edward Morris Wistar papers include general information, correspondence, diaries, reports, financial records, photos, and miscellaneous materials mostly documenting Wistar's mission to administer relief to Armenians in Anatolia in 1896. Armenians were suffering massacres and brutality, sometimes known as the Hamidian massacres. Wistar traveled from Constantinople (now Instanbul) to Ourfa, Diyarbekir, Charsanjak, and Harput.

General information includes Wistar's passport and personal documents from his trip to the Ottoman Empire, notes on politics in the region, and historical information related to the Red Cross and Armenians. Letters from Wistar are primarily to Margaret Wistar (his wife), Clara Barton, Asa Wing, and J. Bevan Braithwaite. The letters describe his work, travel, and give a general sense of his response to his surroundings. Letters to Wistar include those from other Red Cross field workers and missionaries such as H.N. Barnum, C.F. Gates, J.B. Hubbell, Corinna Shattuck, as well as Margaret Wistar. Most of these letters relate to Wistar's work and conditions in the areas where the Red Cross was working, distribution of materials and food to Armenian villagers, and petitions for aid.

Wistar's journal details his frustrations with beaurocracy and government interference, which made it difficult to carry out his work, and his despair at the suffering he was seeing. There is also both the manuscript and printed official report to the Red Cross of the mission Wistar led; financial records indicating expenditures for relief goods, distribution of cash and goods, and lists of recipients; and photographs, mostly of the areas where Wistar did relief work (although some may predate his time there), as well as photographs of the Wistars in Japan.

Miscellaneous materials include papers documenting Wistar's experience with hurricane relief in South Carolina in 1894 and notes on the Japanese Red Cross Society, based on a visit to Japan ca. 1910.


  • Creation: 1894-1914


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).

Biographical note

Edward Morris Wistar (1852-1941) was born in Abington, Pennsylvania, to Quaker parents Thomas and Priscilla Foulke Wistar. He was educated at Haverford College (class of 1872) and married Margaret Cooper Collins in 1876; they had three children.

Wistar worked in banking, life insurance, and real estate. He was also an educational philanthropist, and was heavily involved with organizations which supported missions to Native Americans and African-American education. He served on the boards of the Associated Executive Committee of Friends on Indian Affairs, the Indian Rights Association, and the Pennsylvania Prison Society, among others.

In 1896, Wistar travelled to the Ottoman Empire as a special field agent under the auspices of the American Red Cross to administer relief to Armenians in Anatolia who were the vicitms of brutality and massacres.


.5 linear ft. (2 boxes)

Language of Materials



Documents relating to Quaker Edward M. Wistar's relief mission under the auspices of the American Red Cross to Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire in 1896.


Materials are arranged alphabetically and chronologically.


The Edward Morris Wistar papers were donated to Special Collections, Haverford College in 1977 and 1983 by Gay Ufford and Thomas Wistar, Jr.

Related Materials

Papers of Thomas Wistar and Family Papers (HC.MC.1188)

Processing Information

Original processing information unknown.

Edward Morris Wistar papers, 1894-1914
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • June 2022: by Nathaniel Rehm-Daly, Harmful Language Revision Project

Find It at the Library

Most of the materials in this catalog are not digitized and can only be accessed in person. Please see our website for more information about visiting or requesting repoductions from Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections Library

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