IBNA- ‘Twenty Years in Persia’, a book by American medical doctor John G. Wishard which describes the medical services of his team and in Iran and Iranian people’s life during Qajar era (1794-1925).
Featuring two main parts, the book with the full title, ‘Twenty Years in Persia: A Narrative of Life Under the Last Three Shahs’ has been translated into Persian by Ali Pirnia and released by Persian Blue Institute in 308 pages and 700 copies. It was originally published in 1908 by F. H. Revell Company and has been reprinted several times.
The ancient land of Iran has always attracted many travelers and so far hundreds of articles, travelogues and other books have been published about our country by them. Obviously, they have considered Iranian affairs and situation from their own point of view.
Some of these historical accounts are at times not exactly similar to what Iranian people have been, and at other times they have realized many points and details in Iranian ethics and social characteristics that we ourselves have not been fully aware of them.
Arriving to Iran, Dr. Wishard went to different parts of Kurdistan for medical services in 1891, which is detailed in the first three parts of the book. in many instances, he puts forward the work of the American missionary in Persia.
Wishard describes the American Hospital in Tehran, which he had the honor and founding and conducting for many years, and which is considered by the Persians as one of their own institutions; and its philanthropies are of such a character that men of every creed could have a part in it.
The American mission had bought land in Tehran in 1887 to establish a hospital, and the Qajar king Nasser al-Din Shah (1831-1896) was very interested in the project. So he issued a construction permit.
However, his order contained conditions that the mission could not accept. One of the conditions was that a muezzin [a person who calls the faithful to prayer] be hired by the hospital and also invites them to visit patients at certain hours.
The king also stressed that women should not be admitted to the hospital. The decree delayed the establishment of the hospital for several years. Finally, Prime Minister Amina al-Dawla mediated and assured the doctors that he was ready to revoke the king's decree and take full responsibility for the aftermaths.