Edward Morris Wistar papers
Held at: Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections [Contact Us]370 Lancaster Ave, Haverford, PA 19041
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections. 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
Edward Morris Wistar (1852-1941) was born in Abington, Pennsylvania, to Quaker parents Thomas and Priscilla Foulke Wistar. He was educated at Haverford College (class of 1872) and married Margaret Cooper Collins in 1876; they had three children.
Wistar worked in banking, life insurance, and real estate. He was also an educational philanthropist, and was heavily involved with organizations which supported missions to Native Americans and African-American education. He served on the boards of the Associated Executive Committee of Friends on Indian Affairs, the Indian Rights Association, and the Pennsylvania Prison Society, among others.
In 1896, Wistar travelled to the Ottoman Empire as a special field agent under the auspices of the American Red Cross to administer relief to Armenians in Anatolia who were the vicitms of brutality and massacres.
The Edward Morris Wistar papers include general information, correspondence, diaries, reports, financial records, photos, and miscellaneous materials mostly documenting Wistar's mission to administer relief to Armenians in Anatolia in 1896. Armenians were suffering massacres and brutality, sometimes known as the Hamidian massacres. Wistar traveled from Constantinople (now Instanbul) to Ourfa, Diyarbekir, Charsanjak, and Harput.
General information includes Wistar's passport and personal documents from his trip to the Ottoman Empire, notes on politics in the region, and historical information related to the Red Cross and Armenians. Letters from Wistar are primarily to Margaret Wistar (his wife), Clara Barton, Asa Wing, and J. Bevan Braithwaite. The letters describe his work, travel, and give a general sense of his response to his surroundings. Letters to Wistar include those from other Red Cross field workers and missionaries such as H.N. Barnum, C.F. Gates, J.B. Hubbell, Corinna Shattuck, as well as Margaret Wistar. Most of these letters relate to Wistar's work and conditions in the areas where the Red Cross was working, distribution of materials and food to Armenian villagers, and petitions for aid.
Wistar's journal details his frustrations with beaurocracy and government interference, which made it difficult to carry out his work, and his despair at the suffering he was seeing. There is also both the manuscript and printed official report to the Red Cross of the mission Wistar led; financial records indicating expenditures for relief goods, distribution of cash and goods, and lists of recipients; and photographs, mostly of the areas where Wistar did relief work (although some may predate his time there), as well as photographs of the Wistars in Japan.
Miscellaneous materials include papers documenting Wistar's experience with hurricane relief in South Carolina in 1894 and notes on the Japanese Red Cross Society, based on a visit to Japan ca. 1910.
Materials are arranged alphabetically and chronologically.
The Edward Morris Wistar papers were donated to Special Collections, Haverford College in 1977 and 1983 by Gay Ufford and Thomas Wistar, Jr.
Original processing information unknown.
- Gates, Caleb Frank, 1857-1946
- Hubbell, Julian B. (Julian Bertine), 1847-1929
- Shattuck, Corinna
- Wing, Asa S. (Asa Shove), 1850-1931
- Wistar, Edward Morris (1852-1941)
- Wistar, Margaret, 1853-1937
- Barton, Clara, 1821-1912
- Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections
- Access Restrictions
The collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).
Documents which describe the history of Armenian relief and Wistar's personal documents
A number of small pieces of scrap paper on which the drafts for Wistar's telegrams to Clara Barton can be found. Also includes a card about sending donations for the relief fund to Barton to be used by Wistar.
Letters to Margaret Wistar about surroundings and general events in Asia Minor, some relating to EMW's work, often referring to Clara Barton, who was director of the Armenian expedition, as well as travel leading up to EMW's arrival.
Includes: two books of carbon copies of most of the letters to his wife Margaret Wistar as well as to Asa Wing, J. Bevan Braithwaite, and Clara Barton as well as diary entries from March-July 1896 and a small travel journal.
In general the letters concern conditions in relief areas, distribution to Armenian villagers of materiel and foodstuffs, and petitions from Armenians for aid.
Most letters were sent by George Pullman, General Secretary to the American National Red Cross
Includes letters from Corinna Shattuck, a missionary, and from members of Wistar's family
Includes report of E.M. Wistar to the American Red Cross for the period of his work in Asia Minor, March-July 1896 and the report by Red Cross in 1896 based on Wistar's report.
Includes financial records of E.M. Wistar indicating expenditures for relief goods, distribution of cash and goods, and lists of recipients as well as a cash statement to the American Red Cross.
Reports of E.M. Wistar on conditions in South Carolina in the wake of a hurricane, March 1894.
Includes notations of E. M. Wistar on the Red Cross Society of Japan, based on a visit, and miscellaneous letters to Margaret Wistar
Includes photographs and one drawing of places in the Ottoman Empire, inculding Oufra, Ayntab [Gaziantep], and Harput as well as Japan. Also includes one portrait of E. M. Wistar
Photographs of the Ottoman empire, including Oufra, Ayntab [Gaziantep], and Harput.