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Clara Cary Case Edwards papers, 1909-1966

Identifier: BMC-M4

Scope and Contents

The Clara Carey Case Edwards papers house the correspondence and other personal memorabilia of Clara Carey Case Edwards, Bryn Mawr College class of 1904. The collection, which ranges from 1909-1966, consists of correspondence, journals, photographs, writings, and other materials.

This collection is organized into two series: “Series I: Correspondence” and “Series II: Other Papers.”

“Series I: Correspondence” is arranged chronologically and mainly consists of letters from Clara Edwards to relatives, including her mother, Mrs. Charles L. Case; her sister, Mary C. Case; her father, Charles L. Case; and her mother-in-law, Louise Edwards. Clara's letters describe her everyday life in Iran, including housekeeping, cooking, and childcare, as well as details about the American and European community in Iran, and the local Iranian community. Her letters also describe conditions in Iran during World War I. After the Edwards moved to England, in addition to Clara's letters to her family in the United States, there are letters from Clara and Cecil to Arthur, and excerpts of Arthur's letters to them. Clara's letters during World War II again concern her daily life, as well as wartime conditions in England. When she and Cecil made their 1948 visit back to Iran, Clara wrote letters to Mary, and to Arthur and his wife, Christine. Clara's last letter is from July 1949. After Clara entered St. George's Retreat in 1951, the letters are from Cecil to Mary.

“Series II: Other Papers” is organized into four subseries: “Journals of Clara Cary Case Edwards,” “Photographs,” “Writings,” and “Other Materials.” There are fifteen journals kept by Clara, covering the years 1911 to 1941. Some of the journals were written during specific trips in Iran; others contain daily entries that document Clara's and her family's everyday routines. The journals from the 1930s onward report on war-related events and contain many pasted-in newspaper clippings. “Photographs” includes two pictures of Clara, two of Clara and Arthur together, one of Arthur's nurse in Iran, and five photographs of unidentified people. “Writings” consists of articles about Iran that Cecil published in The Geographical Magazine and that Clara published in The Yale Review and Journal of the American Oriental Society, drafts of articles and notes that Clara wrote about Persian culture, and short stories that Clara either collected or wrote herself, based on Iranian tales. “Other Materials” includes, among other items, clippings about World War II in England; a journal by Captain Morgan of a 1920 trip to Burujird with the Edwards; and printed maps of Iran and the surrounding area from the 1920s and 1930s.

In 1911, Clara and her family moved to Hamadan, Iran, so that Clara’s husband, could take charge of The Oriental Carpet Manufacturers Ltd. As such, this collection provides a fascinating view into life in Iran, especially during World War I. It would be of interest to anyone studying early twentieth century Iran (from a Western perspective) or the carpet weaving industry.


  • Creation: 1909 - 1966


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Clara Cary Case Edwards papers, 1909-1966 is the physical property of the Special Collections Department, Bryn Mawr College Library. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns.

Biographical / Historical

Clara Cary Case Edwards, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles L. Case, was a graduate of Bryn Mawr College (class of 1904). Her twin sisters, Mary C. Case and Adelaide T. Case, also attended Bryn Mawr (class of 1908). In 1909, Clara married Cecil Edwards, who worked for The Oriental Carpet Manufacturers Ltd. The business was based in Istanbul, Turkey and manufactured and exported oriental carpets, both Turkish and Persian, to the West. In 1911, the Edwards moved to Hamadan, Iran, so that Cecil could take charge of the business there, and while in Hamadan, Clara taught for some time at The American Boys' School. Their son, Arthur, was born in Hamadan on 11 February 1918. The Edwards traveled in Iran and Russia, partly for Cecil's work, and partly in reaction to events related to World War I. They also made several trips to the United States to visit Clara's family.

In 1923, they left Iran and spent eight months in India (now Pakistan) visiting carpet weaving centers before arriving in England. The Edwards settled in London, where they became friends with historian Arnold Toynbee and the William Blake bibliographer Geoffrey Keynes. During World War II, they moved to Oxford, returning to London after the war was over.

The Edwards returned to Iran once more, in 1948, so that Cecil could complete research for his book, The Persian Carpet: A Survey of the Carpet Weaving Industry of Persia (London: Duckworth, 1953). Around 1946 Clara's mind began to fail, and in 1951, she entered St. George's Retreat near Brighton. Cecil died in 1953; Clara, in 1955.


6.5 linear ft. (4 boxes)

Language of Materials



Clara Cary Case Edwards was a graduate of Bryn Mawr College (class of 1904). She married Cecil Edwards, a worker for The Oriental Carpet Manufacturers Ltd. and the author of “The Persian Carpet: A Survey of the Carpet Weaving Industry of Persia” (1953). Clara and her husband traveled throughout the Middle East; they spent several years living in Iran where Clara spent a period of time teaching at The American Boys' School at Hamadan. This collection primarily consists of letters between Clara in her family, and private journals. They describe her everyday life in Iran, including housekeeping, cooking, and childcare, as well as details about the American and European community in Iran as well as the local native community. Her papers also describe conditions in Iran during World War I.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Arthur Middleton Edwards, 1992 and 1999.

Clara Cary Case Edwards papers, 1909-1966
Miriam B. Spectre, Leah Samaru-Charles, Melissa Torquato, Cassidy Gruber Baruth
2000 April
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

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