Anne E. W. Kierstead papers
Held at: Bryn Mawr College [Contact Us]Bryn Mawr College Library, 101 N. Merion Avenue, Bryn Mawr 19010
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Bryn Mawr College. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Anne Williams (Kierstead) followed in the footsteps of her mother, Helen Elizabeth Jones (Williams), graduating from Bryn Mawr in 1943. With the thirty-five dollars that she had earned as a camp swimming counselor, she moved to New York City in hope of becoming a writer. She had earned a private pilot's license in the summer of 1940 under the Civilian Pilot's Training Program and, in 1944, passed exams for the WASPS only to be disqualified when the army raised the height requirement.
When World War II ended, Anne wanted to travel abroad and took a teaching position at the American College for Girls in Istanbul, Turkey. She remained at the school until the summer of 1948, teaching freshman math. While in Turkey she traveled extensively, learning as much as she could about the region's history and culture. She described her experience in frequent letters to her family in the United States.
The Anne E.W. Kierstead papers house the personal and family papers of Anne Kierstead, Bryn Mawr class of 1943. The collection, which ranges from 1884 to 1998, presents the travel accounts of both Kierstead and her mother.
The collection is organized into three series: "Series I: Travel Accounts of Helen Elizabeth Jones Williams," "Series II: Travel Accounts of Anne Elizabeth Williams Kierstead," and "Series III: The History of a Welsh-American Family."
"Series I: Travel Accounts of Helen Elizabeth Jones Williams" contains a postcard diary chronicling the European trip made by Williams and her sister Dorothy May Jones in the summer of 1914. It also includes Williams' short memoir, 'Experiences in the War Zone,' written just after their travels, in which she describes their efforts to leave Germany after the outbreak of World War I. "Series II: Travel Accounts of Anne Elizabeth Williams Kierstead" consists of materials documenting Kierstead's experience as a teacher in Turkey during the years 1946 - 1948. Arranged chronologically, it includes Kierstead's diaries from the years 1947 and 1948, nineteen pages of shipboard notes written as she crossed the Atlantic, letters she sent to her family, a collection of Turkish Anecdotes written in later life for her children, photographs from her travels, and miscellaneous materials relating to her life both in Turkey and in the United States. "Series III: The History of a Welsh-American Family" is a genealogical account compiled by Anne Kierstead in 1976 as a gift to her children in commemoration of the Bicentennial of the United States. This account spans the years 1791 - 1976, describing Kierstead's paternal and maternal family lines since they came to America from Wales.
This collection highlights both Kierstead's experience teaching mathematics in Turkey and the experiences of her mother, Helen Elizabeth Jones '06, during the summer of 1914 in Europe. It showcases two unique narratives, and would be of value to anyone interested in WWI history and Turkey during the late forties. It would also be of additional value to any remaining relatives of Kierstead, as it contains an extensive genealogical history.
Gift of Anne E. W. Kierstead, BMC '43. Mrs. Kierstead has dedicated her papers to her daughter, Sarah Elizabeth Kierstead Dungan.
- American College for Girls (Istanbul, Turkey)
- Bryn Mawr College -- Alumni and alumnae
- Civilian Pilot Training Program (U.S.)
- Bryn Mawr College
- Finding Aid Author
- Chloe Barnett, Leo Dolenski, Melissa Torquato, Cassidy Gruber Baruth
- Finding Aid Date
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research.
- Use Restrictions
The Anne E. W. Kierstead papers are 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.
Postcard diary of 126 holograph cards, written between June 23 and August 22, 1914, which chronicles the European trip made by Williams and her sister, Dorothy May Jones. The first postcard was sent to Miss Sarah Williams in Scranton, Pennsylvania before the ship departed from New York, but no others were mailed. Along with descriptions of travel and places visited, the diary captures the various moods and opinions prevailing in Europe during the summer of 1914 and ends with an account of the sisters' efforts to leave Germany after the outbreak of World War I.
Experiences in the War Zone. A memoir written by Williams while she and her sister were in England waiting to sail home to America. In it, she remembers their journey across Ireland, Britain, and the European Continent, the rumors of approaching war, and their daily attempts to leave Germany after the war's declaration. The collection contains both the original thirteen page holograph manuscript and a photocopied reproduction.
Small black diary purchased in Istanbul in which Kierstead made notes about appointments, events, travels, and daily life abroad.
Nearly identical diary purchased in Istanbul in which Kierstead made notes about appointments, events, travels, and daily life abroad.
Kierstead describes the arrival of the Marine Carp in Istanbul and her introduction to Robert College and the American College for Girls. She then writes of the sea voyage, giving a lively account of the passengers with whom she traveled and the stops in Beirut, Haifa, Alexandria, and Greece.
25 December - Kierstead describes how she spent Christmas Eve with friends, caroling and attending midnight Mass at the Italian Church of Saint Antonio in Istanbul. She briefly discusses the situation for women in Turkey, the interest of city youth in Western culture, and the behavior of Turkish soldiers.
26 December - Writes of Christmas dinner with other teachers and their families at the home of the Blisses at Robert College and of a night spent at a concert in Istanbul.
27 December - Describes a faculty Christmas dance. In a section that seems to be addressed to "the boys," Birkie and David, she writes of small particulars of Turkish life and customs and of the markets, or "Pazars." Ends by recounting a trip to "Aye Sophia."
Kierstead describes an attempted trip with friends to Aryfia during the New Year's holiday. She tells an amusing story about a friendly ticket man working in the train station at Hayda Pasa.
7 January - Kierstead writes of a blizzard and of the wet winter weather in Turkey, of a trip into Istanbul to hear vespers sung at the Russian Orthodox Church, and of a meeting with the American Consul-General and his family.
8 January - Writes of plans to visit Tarsus with four friends during the mid-term vacation.
10 January - Various small updates. Describes meeting a student's family in their Istanbul shop.
On the day before leaving Istanbul for the mid-term vacation, Kierstead writes of a change of plans. She will now be visiting the region surrounding Tarsus with just one friend, Dorothy Wood, since the others have come down with dysentery. She tells of a recent trip with Wood to Saint Sophia and gives detailed descriptions of the ornamented column capitals from the excavated "second Saint Sophia" that stood during the early Christian period.
30 January - Kierstead thanks her family for their letters, which have at last arrived.
31 January - Begins by inquiring about friends and family, then describes her impressions of the country around Istanbul. The rest of the letter vividly describes her travels with Dorothy Wood during the mid-term vacation. They journeyed by train to the town of Mersin, where they stayed, making day trips to Tarsus and Adana.
1 February - Provides a short update of events and plans.
The dean of the college has offered to extend Kierstead's contract, asking her to stay another year. Kierstead writes to consult her mother before making such a decision but expresses her growing love for Turkey and her desire to stay.
Kierstead writes of springtime in Istanbul and the photographs that she is sending home that were taken during her journey on the Marine Carp. She then describes a trip into the countryside with two friends, one, Stephen, an American and the other a Turkish man named Bulent. Updates her family about her daily affairs and social life and calls her "most exciting news" the fact that she has been given a horse to ride.
12 April - Kierstead primarily writes of a trip taken over a long weekend with Dorothy Wood to Edirne (Adrianople), the first European capital of the Ottoman Empire. She gives detailed descriptions of the mosques they visited.
13 April - Kierstead writes about the events of the night before and about the miserable weather. After telling of the ancient history and legend surrounding the Princes' Islands, which are a short boat ride from Istanbul, she exclaims in parentheses, "Sometimes I'm afraid that I'll wake up and find that I've fallen asleep on a subway!"
In this short letter to two children, Kierstead describes a trip to the mountain where "the Greek Gods and Goddesses used to live." She tells them about a children's parade that she and her companions watched, and explains the ritual that occurs at a Turkish mosque.
Kierstead writes of having just returned from a week's vacation to Iznik and Bursa. Describes the items, such as post cards and stamps, that she is sending home. Thanks her aunt for helping to send a suitcase of things to Turkey.
Offers a brief update on how she is and tells about items she is mailing home.
Thanks her aunt for the things she has sent. Writes that she is sending pictures of Turkish costumes from different historical periods by boat mail.
Kierstead tells of how she will be traveling for a week with a group of university students and professors who are going to study the mines near Zonguldak, on the Black Sea. Updates her family on her plans for the summer. She hopes to travel to Eastern Anatolia and to "the old Kurdistan and Armenia," returning by boat across the Black Sea and stopping at each of the ports. She writes of two of her favorite teachers who will be leaving the American College for Girls.
Kierstead describes the preparations for her summer travels, on which she will be accompanied by Dorothy Wood. She then tells of her recent trip to Zonguldak with the group of geology students from the university.
Kierstead begins with inquiries about those at home, then tells of the final preparations for her upcoming travels. Describes her route and gives a vivid portrait of the family of the Persian Consul-General. "Ramazan" (Ramadan) had begun the night before, and she explains the holy month and writes of how she saw the lighting of the mosques in Istanbul from a bridge above the Bosphorus.
Kierstead describes a trip into Eastern Anatolia and Persian Azerbijan with Dorothy Wood. They traveled during Ramadan. In Turkey, they made stops at Sivas and Erzurum, then crossed the Persian border by bus, eating and resting in Kurdish villages. They continued to travel across Persian Azerbijan by bus and befriended a Persian medical student, Raschid, and a family with two children, who aided them on the journey. They stopped at Koy and spent a good deal of time in Tabriz then traveled back to Turkey by car with a woman from the British Embassy. After stopping at Karakose, they journeyed toward Van by supply truck. Letter to be continued.
Addresses the wearing of the veil among Muslim women, Anti-American sentiment, the difficulties of being a female traveler, the political situation in Persian Azerbijan including the tensions among the populace concerning the Russian and Armenian presence in the region, issues of health in rural Turkey and Persia, and Persian theater.
Writes of her plans for Christmas and for the short holiday vacations. General update about other affairs.
Thanks the family for the telegram they sent on Christmas day and for the cards. Writes about the Christmas dinner she prepared with three other teachers, and about the events of the New Year's vacation.
Thanks her mother and aunts for the photographs of themselves and for the cards. Tells them that she also enjoyed receiving the telegram from "next-door." Writes of her plans for the winter vacation: a trip to Izmis, Ephesus, and Pergamum with three others.
Kierstead describes the various routes that she might take traveling home by ship in June. She gives a more detailed account of her plans for the winter vacation, and confirms her intention to visit Kyserie and the troglodyte caves in the spring. She informs her family that she has begun playing second violin in a string quartet.
Kierstead begins with a brief update about her life and plans. The rest of the letter is dedicated to her winter travels along the coast of Asia Minor with Janine Clement and Ahmet Donmez, a Turkish archeologist. Among locations visited were Bergama (Purgamos), Smyrna, Ephesus, Izmir, Priene, and Sardis. She describes ancient ruins and temples, including the temple of Artemis at Ephesus.
Kierstead writes of her struggle to find a ship sailing for America before her teaching contract expires on June 31. She has settled on the Noah Brown, a cargo ship, which will make stops in Piraeus, Naples, and Genoa.
Kierstead describes the six days she spent in Greece before setting sail homeward on the Noah Brown. She spent most of the time in Athens but also visited Corinth. She discusses the intense poverty in Greece after the Second World War, which has improved somewhat, and touches on the recent violence in the country.
Kierstead describes her departure from Turkey, writing of how she at last got to see the mosaics in the gallery of Saint Sophia, which was restricted to visitors. She tells of her first days on the Noah Brown, of an unexpected stop at Izmus, and of her plans to travel through Italy before re-boarding the ship to cross the Atlantic.
Kierstead's daily notes made during her nearly month long journey from New York City to Istanbul. Describes passengers on her ship, the Marine Carp, most of whom were Syrians, Greeks, Lebanese, Turks, Egyptians, and Jews traveling to Palestine. A typed transcription is included in The History of a Welsh American Family.
Kierstead provided an introduction to her notes and letters; this is included in this folder. TS 2p.
When Kierstead wrote to her family from Turkey, she left out several interesting incidents that she was afraid might upset them. These are included in the Turkish Anecdotes, which she wrote for her children at around the time that she sent her letters to the Bryn Mawr Library. The "Turkish Anecdotes" are also included in Kierstead's genealogical work, The History of a Welsh American Family.
The Marine Carp, an unconverted troop ship on which A. E. W. Kierstead sailed to Turkey in 1946. On the back of the photograph, Kierstead writes: "We sailed from New York City and stopped at Beirut, Lebanon; Haija, Palestine; Alexandria, Egypt; Piraeus, Greece, and Istanbul Turkey."
The Citadel of Van (Capital of Ancient Armenia), Turkey. Near Lake Van.
Group Photograph. From left to right: a standing boy, a seated man holding a gun, a seated Middle-Eastern woman, two seated American women, a dog. In a letter to the Bryn Mawr Library dated 9 February 1985, Kierstead writes: "I am on the extreme right. We were going from BoazKale (in central Anatolia) to the ancient Hittite fortress with the Lion Gate. The other American is Thea Wise, a teacher at the College. A third teacher, Dorothy Wood, took the picture."
United States of America, Civil Aeronautics Authority, Airman Certificate No. 26394-40. Issued for Anne E. Williams.
United States of America, Department of Commerce, Civil Aeronautics Administration, Medical Certificate. Issued for Anne Elizabeth Williams
United States of America, Department of Commerce, Civil Aeronautics Administration, Medical Certificate, Student and Private Pilot. Issued for Anne Elizabeth Williams.
United States of America, Department of Commerce, Civil Aeronautics Administration, Airman Certificate No. 26394-40. Issued for Anne Elizabeth Williams.
United States of America, Department of Commerce, Civil Aeronautics Administration, Airman Certificate No. 26394-40. Issued for Anne E. Williams
Fold-out advertisement for a fine art print reproduction of a painting depicting a model J-3 Piper Cub, entitled Sittin' Pretty, by aviation artist Sam Lyons. In 1940, Kierstead learned to fly in a Piper Cub as part of the Civilian Pilots Training Program.
Reproduced photograph (magazine clipping) of the flight instrument control panel of the Mars, a six-engine patrol bomber. In the fall of 1943, Kierstead team-taught a group of young flight engineers at PAA's School for the Navy, LaGuardia Field, using the mock up instrument panel of a PB24-3 aircraft. Because the PB24-3 had four rather than six engines, its similar control panel had two fewer sets of cell instruments.
Small card depicting the Coronado, a Consolidated PB2Y-2 aircraft similar to the PB2Y-3 aircraft on which Kierstead taught the use of the flight engineer's instrument panel to students at the PAA's School for the Navy in 1943.
Shor, Franc. "Robert College, Turkish Gateway to the Future." National Geographic Magazine. Vol. CXII. No. 3 (September, 1957): 399-418.
Photocopied article about Robert College, an American College in Istanbul that was affiliated with the American College for Girls, the school at which Kierstead taught in the years 1946-1948.
Part A: The cover page and two pages explaining the genealogical project are followed by Kierstead's documentation of her paternal family line. Among the several short biographies of relatives is Kierstead's account of the life of her father, David Philip Williams, Jr. (1868 - 1937), and her moving remembrance of his death in July, 1937 when she was fifteen years old.
Part B: Kierstead's documentation of her maternal family line. There are several inserted documents, including the writings of relatives. This section also contains Kierstead's account of her own life.
Copies of correspondence between BMC and A. E. W. Kierstead regarding her donation. These letters contain additional descriptions of the materials and events discussed in Kierstead's papers.