Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections


Clara Cary Case Edwards Papers, 1909-1966

Part I: Description

Special Collections Department, Bryn Mawr College Library
Collection Number:M 4

Copyright © 2000 by Special Collections Department, Bryn Mawr College Library

April 2000
Last Updated: December 18, 2013


Total Boxes: 4
Linear Feet: 6.5

Administrative Information


Gift of Arthur Middleton Edwards, 1992 and 1999. 

Ownership & Literary Rights

The Clara Cary Case Edwards Papers 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.

Cite as:

Clara Cary Case Edwards Papers, Special Collections Department, Bryn Mawr College Library

Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research.




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.


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. The letters (from both Clara and Cecil) to Clara's mother are addressed to "Mama"; those to her mother-in-law, to "Mother." The letters to her father are to "Papa." Some of Clara's letters are carbon copies only, while others include originals and carbons; Clara had a practice of sending both the original and the carbon in separate mailings, with the idea that at least one copy would make it through to her correspondents. There are a few letters that are in photocopy version only. 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 include two pictures of Clara, two of Clara and Arthur together, one of Arthur's nurse in Iran, and five photographs of unidentified people. Writings include 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 include, 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.

PART II: Box and Folder List

Processing and description by Miriam B. Spectre and Leah Samaru-Charles.



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Last Update: December 18, 2013 , Special Collections at December 18, 2013