[Construction of the Trans-Iranian Railway.]. Edward Miles Crawford, photographer and compiler.
[Construction of the Trans-Iranian Railway.]
[Construction of the Trans-Iranian Railway.]
[Construction of the Trans-Iranian Railway.]
[Construction of the Trans-Iranian Railway.]
[Construction of the Trans-Iranian Railway.]
[Construction of the Trans-Iranian Railway.]
[Construction of the Trans-Iranian Railway.]
[Construction of the Trans-Iranian Railway.]
[Construction of the Trans-Iranian Railway.]
[Construction of the Trans-Iranian Railway.]
[Construction of the Trans-Iranian Railway.]
[Construction of the Trans-Iranian Railway.]
[Construction of the Trans-Iranian Railway.]
[Construction of the Trans-Iranian Railway.]
[Construction of the Trans-Iranian Railway.]
[Construction of the Trans-Iranian Railway.]
[Construction of the Trans-Iranian Railway.]
[Construction of the Trans-Iranian Railway.]
[Construction of the Trans-Iranian Railway.]
[Construction of the Trans-Iranian Railway.]
[Construction of the Trans-Iranian Railway.]
[Construction of the Trans-Iranian Railway.]
[Construction of the Trans-Iranian Railway.]
[Construction of the Trans-Iranian Railway.]
[Construction of the Trans-Iranian Railway.]
[Construction of the Trans-Iranian Railway.]

[Construction of the Trans-Iranian Railway.]

Ahwaz, Bandar Shapour, and other locales, Iran, ca. 1930–1933. 4to photo album (29.7 x 23.3 cm), decorative brown cloth. 87 photos including 1 five photo panorama and 3 two-photo panoramas, most photos mounted, some loose; one newspaper clipping. Photos mounted on 34 leaves. 56 additional blank leaves. Two copies of a 3 pp. typescript CV. Most images accompanied by captions.

An interesting photo album documenting an American engineer’s work on the Trans-Iranian Railway in various locales in southern Iran—the first railway to connect northern and southern Iran.

Begun in 1927 and finished in 1938, the 850 mile-long Trans-Iranian Railway was a major initiative directed by the Persian monarch Reza Shah Pahlavi following the First World War. The creation of the railway was part of Iran’s period of extensive modernization as well as the Shah’s reform movement. Spanning from Tehran to the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea, the railroad was funded entirely by Persian capital through taxes on goods such as sugar and tea. The present photo album was compiled by American engineer Edward Miles Crawford (1901–?) who was responsible for some 20 million dollars worth of infrastructure and work on the Railway. Crawford supervised the design and purchasing of some 250 kilometers of railroad and the development of the port at Bandar Shapour located on the Persian Gulf. He served as Acting Assistant Chief Engineer and Office Engineer for the Imperial Railways of Persia, a position he held from Feb. 1930 to June 1932, following which he began work as Chief Engineer for both the Santa Marta Railroad Co. and the Magdalena Fruit Co. in South America.

Most of the photos included here were taken in and around Ahwaz, a city in the southwest of Iran (and capital of the Khuzestan province) where Crawford apparently spent most of his time. Photos taken in Ahwaz show the “Shah’s Bungalow”—presumably one of Reza Shah’s multiple residences in Iran. Others feature railway bungalows; sand filter beds; railway offices; chlorinating and water pumping plants; train crew quarters; a machine shop; a soda ash water treatment plant; water tanks; a material and supplies depot, a railroad “turntable” from the U. S.; passenger equipment sheds; motor car and car repair sheds, and so on. A few images capture an Engineers Camp in Koul Moak which is populated by numerous tents. Photos taken in Salehabad show more bungalows, some apparently owned by engineers. Crawford appears to have worked on tunnels located north of Salehabad; many photos of his tunnel-work focus on various “cuts” into the earth as well as arch culverts. One photo shows “grade separation” with a small Baldwin work train from the U. S. on an overpass. The national origin of the materials used in the structures pictured is often noted. These include Sweden, Germany, England, and the U.S.

While most of these shots focus on Crawford’s engineering and construction work, a handful of photos feature other subjects. These include the Karun River, where what appear to be waterside vendors have set up tents; Iranian children in the desert, and Crawford and his fellow engineers in the field. Two images consisting of two panels each show machinery in a power house. One shot features the interior of a machine shop and another the interior of a carpenter shop, where scores of Iranians are shown working at tables.

Several bridges are featured, such as one on the Karun River which is just short of one mile long. One caption notes that the “steel erected on foundation of ruins of [the] dam used to impound water for irrigation dam believed to be built by Roman Emperor Justinian.” Shots taken in Bandar Shapour and Salehabad offer more scenes of railroad buildings and construction sites, and a handful of shots feature the mosque of Fatima at Kum. One 5-panel view shows Bandar Shapour and another 2-panel view the Bandar Shapour jetty. A laid-in newspaper illustration shows three British locomotives in Ahwaz carrying fuel and munitions to the Soviet armies; Crawford has labeled various buildings in the illustration. The album concludes with images of engineers in the office and another photo of engineers in the field; in both of these shots, roughly half of the men are Iranian.

Included along with this album are two identical copies of Crawford’s CV (composed in Dec. 1938) addressed to George T. Seabury, Secretary of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Crawford writes to Seabury in the pursuit of membership in the ASCE. He lists all of the engineering positions he has held since 1919; these include working in bridge construction and maintenance; highway and railroad location; and irrigation and drainage in locales as diverse as Illinois, Mexico, Persia and Honduras. Born in San Francisco, he attended Lincoln Memorial University before accepting a position with the State of Kentucky as a map draftsman. When he composed this CV, Crawford was working for the United Fruit Company and was stationed down in San Jose, Costa Rica.

A fine album documenting the experiences of an American engineer in Iran in the decade before WWII and the contribution of American engineering to Iranian modernization.

CONDITION: Good, some wear to the photos and some photos detached from boards.

Item #5094

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