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Women of the desert city

\ Article introduction

tree Women of the desert city

1- Article introduction
Mary Boazmanwriter Mary Boazman

Miss Mary Boazman was a British journalist and writer in the early 20th century. She was feminist and advocate of women’s rights. A number of articles written by her have been published in newspapers and magazines between 1900s and 1920s.
Lady’s Realm magazine
Cover pages of Lady’s Realm monthly magazine, issues 53 and 54, dated 1901.

1- Preface

The following text, is an article by Mary Boazman published in the Lady’s Realm monthly magazine, volume 22, issue 144, dated October 1908, in London. Parts of this article were subsequently published in other newspapers and magazines of England and America.

The Lady’s Realm illustrated monthly magazine was published in England from 1896 to 1916. This women’s magazine was popular, and distributed in America and Canada as well. Unfortunately, not much information could be found about the author of this article. All we know is that she was British, an advocate of women’s rights, and that a number of articles written by her have been published in newspapers and magazines.

Prior to the publication of this article, a number of good books about the country and people of Iran were published in England. Among them was a book entitled Five years in a Persian town published in London in 1905, three years before the publication of this article, which contained the findings of the researches of Napier Malcolm -English missionary priest- about the city and people of Yazd.

Therefore, there is the possibility that the author wrote this article without traveling to Yazd, and only by reading these books and interviewing Rev Napier Malcolm and his wife, Dr Urania Latham, who returned to England from Persia in January 1908.

Mary Bird
Traveling of Miss Mary Bird -English pioneer- in Isfahan. The activities of English Church Missionary Society officially began in Yazd in May 1898.
H. White

2- About the article

However, the author seems to have actually come to Yazd in a summer between 1901 and 1906, during the reign of Mozaffar ad-Din Shah Qajar. In Yazd, she was hosted by her fellow countrymen at the Church Missionary Society. She was assumed to have stayed in a large and luxurious house and was mostly in contact with the aristocrat women of Yazd.

The author discusses the city of Yazd and its girls, women, houses, kitchens, baths, Muslims, and Zoroastrians in this article. Her descriptions in some cases are incorrect. For example, where she speaks about andaruni (1) and biruni (2) in Yazd’s houses, she mixes up the two words and uses them incorrectly; that have been corrected in the article.

Although much information of this article could be found in other sources, it nevertheless is counted as a Qajar document, and it will be very valuable to those interested in Yazd’s culture and history.

The most interesting part of this article is a detailed description of the hen party of the wife of one of the Yazd’s high officials, as told by one of the author’s friends. This high official could be Hussein Mirza Jalal ad-Dowlah, who was Yazd’s governor for his third term between 1900 and 1904 and had a great relationship with the British residents of Yazd. However, since the narrator did not use the word governor precisely, the high official could also be Moshir al-Mamalek or someone else.

America’s newspapers
A few months after its publication in UK, this article was also published in several US newspapers.

3- Other resources

There are good books and resources on the conditions in Yazd and the status of women in the late Qajar era. For example, this article was cross-referenced with the following two books, and some of the issues were mentioned in the footnotes:

1- Five years in a persian town; by Napier Malcolm; London 1905.
2- Persian women and their ways; by Clara Colliver Rice; London 1923.

4- Final word

There may be a few misleading or offensive words in this article which are the result of inaccurate information or misconceptions of the author. This long article was published in three separate sections entitled Women of Yazd, Hen party in Yazd and Special photos.

footnote Footnotes

(1) Persian word meaning interior.
(2) Persian word meaning exterior.
Lady’s Realm; volume 22; issue 144; October 1908resource Lady’s Realm; volume 22; issue 144; October 1908

The Lady’s Realm was an illustrated monthly British women’s magazine, published from 1896 until 1916 in London. This feminist magazine was popular and sold reasonably well in United States, United Kingdom and Canada.

The magazine was including articles, photographs, poems, fiction, fashion trends, enlightened ideas on women’s life and columns by popular authors such as Marie Corelli, Frances Eliza Hodgson Burnett, Jack London, and Herbert George Wells.

Its end may have been due to the First World War in 1916; and its history and archive was destroyed during the London Blitz in the Second World War in 1940 and 1941.
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avatarcomment I started work in Iran in 1965 (I was born in Alabama educated in California) In 1967 I married a Yazdi woman. In our 52 years of marriage we lived in Yazd and Tehran about 25 years. She and our children are the best moments of my life. This article while very interesting and informative it makes me smile. The article brings back memories that make me cry. This article is genuinely worth reading for anyone with an interest in Iranian culture. Thank you!

date ۲۱ شهریور ۱۳۹۸
name nehemiah Cox
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