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Women of the desert city

\ Article introduction

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tree Women of the desert city

1- Article introduction
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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.
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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.

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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.
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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.

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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 two separate sections entitled «Women of Yazd» and «Hen party in Yazd».

fo
footnote Footnotes

(1) Persian word meaning interior.
(2) Persian word meaning exterior.
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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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