University of Texas
Preston Hampton Edwards
June 25, 1877–May 21, 1969

 

 

Preston Hampton Edwards


Preston Hampton Edwards was born June 25, 1877, at Darlington, SC. His son, Griffith Edwards, wrote to a nephew, Howard Berryman Edwards, Jr., 9/10/1998: "There is an indirect connection with your grandfather, Preston Hampton Edwards. He was named for the younger son of Wade Hampton III. Your great-grandfather, Berryman Wheeler Edwards, was a tutor in the household of Wade Hampton in Columbia while he (BWE) was finishing at South Carolina College (later University) , and he (BWE) spent a year or so tutoring sons Wade Hampton and Preston. During the war, they were all in the cavalry in Lee's army and Wade III took command of all the cavalry after Jeb Stuart was killed —sometime in 1864. Sons Preston and Wade IV were aides on Wade III's staff. Son Preston was killed in early 1865 at Hatcher's Run, south of Petersburg, and Wade IV severely wounded while trying to tend to him. So my father, Preston Hampton Edwards, was named by his father for Preston Hampton - the Preston being his mother's maiden name. My father told me one time that he did meet Wade Hampton III once in Charlottesville."

Preston attended private and public schools in Darlington, and studied at Furman University, Greenville, SC, for two sessions, and three sessions at the University of Virginia, where, in June, 1900, he received simultaneously the degrees of BA and MA. The University of Virginia lists him in 1895–1997 and 1899–1900. The subjects in which advanced work was taken for the master’s degree were physics, mathematics, Latin and philosophy, and after this he took an experimental courses in physics and chemistry during two summer terms at the University of Chicago. He taught two years in small schools in South Carolina, and served for two years as an instructor in physics at Miller Manual Labor School in Virginia, and from 1902–1908 as Professor of Physics at Allahabad Christian College, Allahabad, India (picture below). Picture of the college also below.

 

Returning to America, he studied at Johns Hopkins University from February 1908, to January 1910, taking physics, with applied electricity as First Subordinate and mathematics as Second Subordinate. He attended lectures under Professors Ames, Wood, Whitehead and Cohen, Doctors Anderson and Pfund, and also under Professor Bloomfield. During the session of 1908–1909 he was a Fellow in Physics, and during the rest of his stay was Fellow by Courtesy. His dissertation in 1911 was entitled A Method for the Qualitative Analysis of Musical Tone. The thesis was supervised by Professor Ames and Dr. Anderson and later published in the Physical Review, 32, No. 1, 1911. A diary from his days at the University of Virginia is below. (Supplied by his son George Griffith Edwards).

 

After completing his dissertation, he returned to India. He was there from March 1910 to December 1916 and from November 1918 to January 1920. In 1913, he was listed as an associate member of the American Physical Society in Allahabad Christian College. He grew up a Southern Baptist in Darlington, S.C. He wanted to “roam around the world,” Edwards’ son said, “an opportunity the Baptists weren’t offering at the time. So, he hooked up with the Presbyterians and traveled to India, where he met and married Mabel E. Griffith, of Utica, N.Y.” They were married June 11, 1912, in Allahabad, Bengal, India.. Mabel was born December 17, 1881, in Westernville, New York. She was educated at Smith College, 1903, Carnegie Library Training School, 1904 and YWCA Training School, 1908. She went to India in 1910 to work at the Ewing Christian College. Three of the couple’s four children (Howard Berryman(1913–89, b. Landour), mechanical engineer (later aerospace), George Griffith (1918–2000, b. Baltimore), chemical engineer, Ernest Preston (1919, b. Landour), ornithologist and professor of biology, Ruth Cary (1915-1916, Allahabad) were born in India. Ruth died there at fourteen months. Ernest Edwards described his mother as quiet and unassuming, and believed she never completely got over losing her daughter and having to leave her buried so far away.

In August 1917, Edwards took a one year position with the National Bureau of Standards in Washington, DC, “to do scientific investigation, partly in connection with war problems.” Records show Preston and Mabel arriving Vancouver aboard the Empress of Japan on January 31, 1917. He returned to India in November 1918.

They returned from India September 24, 1920 and spent further time at Johns Hopkins. A report of his activity there is contained in a Johns Hopkins University Circular “Important advances have been made by Dr. Preston H. Edwards, Johnston Scholar in Psychology, toward the perfecting of a practical acoumeter—an instrument very much needed both for research and clinical work on auditory functions. In the course of this work, Dr. Edwards has developed an instrument for the measurement of pitch changes in the human voice and other tone sources. This instrument will shortly be available for research purposes and will be employed next year in research to be begun here with the collaboration of Professor Miller of the Greek Department, on the pitch and rhythm of speech.”

While in India, Preston somehow found time to publish another paper, A Simple Apparatus for Testing Pitch Control, Physical Review, 18, p. 120, 1921. His work at Johns Hopkins was used in the research O Professor Otto Ortmann, Psychological Laboratory of the Peabody Conservatory of Music. In his book, The Physical Basis Of Piano Touch And Tone, published in 1925, he wrote, "In order to verify the fundamental variations shown in the results obtained for the vibration of the piano string, a few photogr phsgngere made, for which an improved form of vibrating reflector, invented by Preston Edwards, was used. This consists essentially of a small mirror mounted on a tuned rod and placed before the mouth of a resonator. The torsional vibration resulting serves the purpose of greatly magnifying the vibration, so that a beam of light, when reflected from the vibrating mirror, makes a considerable excursion, the amplitude of which may be further increased by increasing the distance of the recording surface from the mirror. When properly adjusted, this device is very sensitive, and will show minute variations in intensity."

In 1921, he accepted the job at the University of Texas. His son Ernest believes (regents’ minutes confirm) they stayed there two terms before accepting an appointment at Winthrop College in South Carolina for four years and then Gettysburg College (PA) for a year. He next joined Sweet Briar College where he taught from 1927 until his retirement in 1943. Mabel was a librarian. He died May 21, 1969, Darlington County, SC, USA.

 

There is a possible early connection with UT physics. During his graduate years at Johns Hopkins, 190–1911, he would have surely met Mary Lulu Bailey. She was on leave from UT for 1908–1910. She was not a degree candidate. They took many of the same courses. Both were single and older than average, Lulu being 39 and Preston 33. I speculate that a correspondence continued for a number of years. As 1920 approached, Lulu became ill and had to take a leave of absence for the year. It is likely that she suggested Preston as a temporary replacement, particularly since she was teaching the service courses. Lulu died in February of 1921. This would explain how Preston, in India, could have been recruited.

Picture below: Mabel, Preston, Howard, Griffith, and Ernest Edwards.

 

One further connection with UT: His son, Ernest Preston Edwards, an ornithologist and retired Dorys M. Duberg Professor of Ecology Emeritus at Sweet Briar College in Virginia, had a book published by the University of Texas Press: A Field Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Adjacent Areas : Belize, Guatemala, and El Salvador.

Acknowledgment: Much information in this entry generously provided by Ernest Preston Edwards, Howard Berryman Edwards and Anne Edwards (wife of Griffith Edwards).

Sadly, Ernest Preston Edwards died in September 27, 2011. He had a very distinguished career and was held in high affection by all who knew him. Below is a memorial statement from The Auk, published by the American Ornithological Society.

Ernest P. (Buck) Edwards, an Elective Member of the AOU since 1954, died a day after his 92nd birthday in Lynchburg, Virginia. He taught ornithology, ecology, and field natural history at Sweet Briar College (SBC), his boyhood home, from 1965 until his retirement in 1990. His interest in the avifauna of Mexico began when he and Stephen W. Eaton (fellow graduate students at Cornell) made a summer trip there in 1946 to study birds. Buck's account of some of their adventures in Nuevo León and Tamaulipas can be found in Moments of Discovery: Natural History Narratives from Mexico and Central America (2010, University Press of Florida), edited by Kevin Winker. Following frequent annual trips to Mexico, Buck wrote and published A Field Guide to the Birds of Mexico (1972), the third edition of which is still in print (1998, University of Texas Press).

Buck was born in Allahabad, India, on 25 September 1919, the son of Presbyterian missionaries Preston Hampton and Mabel Griffith Edwards. He grew up at SBC, where his father was a physics professor and his mother a librarian. After attending Lynchburg College, Buck transferred to the University of Virginia, where he and his older brother, George Griffith Edwards, shared a room with bunk beds on the Lawn, a particular honor at Mr. Jefferson's University, before graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 1940. He began his graduate work at the Laboratory of Ornithology at Cornell University in the summer of 1940 and immersed himself in ornithology courses taught by Arthur A. Allen and Peter Paul Kellogg. World War II intervened, and Buck served in the US Army until 1946, when he resumed his studies at Cornell; he received his PhD in the fall of 1949.

Following a teaching position at the University of Kentucky, he worked as a civilian with the U.S. Army Chemical Corps in Frederick, Maryland, where he met his wife, Mabel Thacher. After they married and before coming to SBC, he taught at Hanover College, served as associate director of the Houston Museum of Natural History, and taught for five years at the University of the Pacific in California. At SBC he was best known as the “bird man,” but his interest extended to the college's hardwood forests, where he established permanent research plots and a network of nature sanctuaries. He and Mabel knew every fern, orchid, and wildflower on SBC's 3,250 acres, and they were a distinctive pair as they rambled the forest trails. Buck, taller than six-foot-four, always wore a fedora and carried binoculars around his neck. Mabel, white-haired and diminutive, wore blouses embroidered with wild flowers and birds. Together they used their botanical knowledge to produce an exhaustive, annotated list of the vascular plants growing at SBC. The forest plots, sanctuaries, and plant list are valuable educational and research assets for the biology department and will serve as a legacy from Buck and Mabel for future generations of students.

Buck's enchantment with Mexico and its birds continued from 1946 to the end of his life. In 1955, in an effort to share his knowledge and experience, he wrote and published Finding Birds in Mexico, a book of a new genre designed to provide the traveling bird watcher with information on destinations, what birds might be found there, and where to look for them. He divided the country into regions reflecting the diverse topography of Mexico, describing the climate, vegetation, topography, and bird life of each. In 1972, having spent, in aggregate, nearly four years in the field in 31 of Mexico's 32 states, territories, and districts, he produced A Field Guide to the Birds of Mexico. For the first time, bird students had a field guide with color plates depicting nearly 500 species found south of the border. These groundbreaking books were self published and successfully marketed by the Edwards team (Buck and Mabel) over the years and in successive editions. In his retirement, Buck continued to write and publish: Checklist of the Birds of Belize and the Mexican Yucatan (2004), Birds of the Shenandoah National Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park (2006, McDonald and Woodward Publishing), and The Hummingbirds of North and Middle America (2008).

An image of this gentle and courtly southern gentlemen related by his nephew Preston from a recent trip to the Yucatan captures so well the professor and “bird man”: in the forest, the tall and slender Edwards standing alongside his Mayan counterpart, the two intently working out the identification of a bird high in the canopy.

Buck was preceded in death by his wife Mabel in 1996. He is survived by his niece, Anne Cary Edwards, and nephews Dr. H. Berryman Edwards, Jr., Dr. Preston H. Edwards, and Dr. Benjamin G. Edwards.


Mother Edwards—Smith College, Round Robin, 1950
This is a short history written by Mabel Emma Griffith Edwards, Preston Hampton Edward's wife. (Her graduation picture from Smith College is shown at left—Mel Oakes)

I joined the group in the Round Robin on graduation in 1903. Spent fall and winter of 1903–1904 in Library School in Pittsburgh. While there, my father died in spring of 1904. (George Griffith is shown at right.—Mel Oakes) After graduation there, I took a position in the Reid Memorial Library in Passaic, N. J. Our work was largely among the foreigners; we had books in about twelve languages there. The children’s room was a bright and popular spot. I lived at the YWCA where, for part of my stay, Elizabeth (Viles) McBride was General Secretary.

A few years later, I resigned to got to Chicago for YWCA work taking training there which was, in a measure, a preparation for Foreign Mission work. I became Secretary of the YWCA in Sunbury, PA, for a short time.

In summer of 1910, I was accepted as a missionary to India, by the Board of F. M. of the Presbyterian Church, USA, and sailed from NY in the fall. On the boat to England, there were three of us going out for the first time. After a few days in London, we boarded an Anchor Line boat at Liverpool. There we found other missionaries who were not new, and learned a little about the language we would have to learn, the customs and habits of the people among whom we were to live. It was a rather leisurely trip through the Mediterranean, Suez Canal, Red Sea, Gulf of Arabia on to Bombay. Our only landing en route was for a day at Port Said.

At the dock in Bombay, Elizabeth came to meet me—she was now Mrs. McBride and had one small daughter. The two of us were to go to the North India Mission (what was then the United Provinces) went first to the Annual meeting of the missionaries of that District, and were there about a week. We were assigned to Allahabad, after we spent some time getting a start learning the language. For that, we were sent to one of the small stations, where we had regular lessons, kept house, and so practiced our Hindustani on the servants, who seldom showed in any way that we ever made mistakes! In the hottest weather we went to Himalayas and continued our language study there.

In July I went down to the Girls’ School in Allahabad, and started teaching (in English).

To go back a bit—at Christmas time, for just before—Dr and Mrs. Ewing at Allahabad Christian College, had a house party “for the younger set”! This was a most unusual occasion for India, but for a few days, the American men teaching at the college gave several of us spinsters a very pleasant time. The aftermath of this party spread over several years was that the four of us who went to Indian in the fall of 1910 married men who were serving out there—not all at the College.

The great event of the year 1911 was the Durbar at Delhi, where in the city of the ancient rulers of India, their modern rulers, King George and Queen Mary, were crowned with all the splendor and pageantry that royalty, and the Orientals who love color, could crowd into the day. It was the most colorful and exciting event that I have ever seen. We had fairly good seats, and sat in the broiling sun from 11:00 AM to 2:30 PM but survived the ordeal. It was like something out of a fairy tale.

 

 

I was married to Preston Edwards in June 1912. Preston had come out earlier to help Dr. Ewing at an early stage in the history of the college. He had been home and secured his PhD at Johns Hopkins, and returned to India in the summer of 1910.

Preston is second from right on back row.

Our wedding trip was taken back in the Himalaya Mountains, toward the source of the Ganges. Most of it on foot with the towering snow-capped peaks always in view. We heard no English spoken after our first day out. We, of course, saw many Pilgrims, as the source (Gangotri) is a very sacred spot for the Hindus.( Below is Preston on the trip.—Mel Oakes)

We lived at the college until our furlough home in the winter of 1917. Howard was born in Landor (where we spent part of the hot weather) in August 1913. Ruth was born in Allahabad in October 1915. She left us in December of 1917, just as we were about to leave for the U. S. (Below are photos of Howard and his proud parents—Mel Oakes)

 

Because there was a war on, no women were allowed through the Mediterranean, so we came home via the Pacific. We met extremes of weather—left Ceylon at Christmas in great heat. Arrived at Hong Kong in the coldest weather they had experienced for years. At Shanghai, the same cold weather. Storms all the way across the Pacific, and a not-too-serious collision with another boat as we neared Vancouver, made the trip one not to be forgotten. As we landed, we heard that the US had entered the war. Through Canada there were great snow drifts which, at one place, held the train at one spot for a whole day. The snow and cold were new sensations for son Howard. We visited relatives in N. Y. State and in South Carolina, returning to Washington to live for a time. Preston was engaged in war work at the Bureau of Standards.

We were called back to India for a time until a new President of the college might be found. Our son, Griffith, born in Baltimore was just three months old when we started the long trip back via at the Pacific again. He was six months old when, after many experiences and some danger, we finally reached Madras in India. As we landed we received the news that the Armistice had been signed. Howard and Griffith are shown at right.

 

 

 

Son Ernest Preston was born in India, and was a year old as we came into N.Y. harbor—this time to stay. AT left are Ernest, Howard and Griffith are shown. We lived a year near Baltimore where the two younger boys learned English, and Preston took some refresher courses at John Hopkins. This was followed by four years at Winthrop College in Rock Hill, SC. From there to Gettysburg College, then Sweet Briar (S. B.) in 1927.

On arrival in S. B., my surprise was great to find that our old friend Miss Czarnomska was teaching English at S. B. Our boys have grown up here except for the high school years spent in their father’s home town of Darlington, SC. They all graduated from the University of Virginia (as did their father). Griffith had two years at Annapolis, then had to leave on account of his eyes. He completed his course in chemical engineering at the University. Howard is a mechanical engineer, employed at the W.N.C.A. at Langley Field, near Norfolk, VA. He married an Amherst girl, and they have our eldest grandson now 16 months old. After Griffith’s graduation from college he was at Edgeworth Arsenal for a time then, as war came on, he went into the Navy. He took training as a radar specialist. His service was on an APA (Attack Transport) boat in the Pacific. At the end of the war, he was a Senior Lt. He returned home, met and married a Sweet Briar graduate, and lives in Amherst. He is an Engineer at the Calco plant of the American Cyanamid Corp. His son is Preston Hill and is 13 months old.

Ernest went to Cornell after graduating with Phi Beta Kappa honors from the University of Virginia. He took his MA then was called into the army. He took training as a pilot but was too tall to actually fly, so taught for a time, then took officer training. He was sent to Edgewood and was engaged in the high secret work carried on there. We found out later that it was biological warfare. One of the “bugs” caught him, and he had undulant fever for some time. After his discharge, he returned to Cornell and won his PhD in ornithology. He has been teaching this year at the University of Kentucky. He has made several trips to Mexico to study bird life there and will go again this summer.

Preston was retired from S. B. several years ago, but during the war, taught winter and summer, giving the Navy recruits training in physics. His longest terms were at the University of North Carolina and at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. Then, years before last and part of last year, he substituted at S. B. He has really retired now, and at present we are both well and busy building a new home.

Written spring of 1950

 

Below are some photos and interesting documents between Preston and the college administration in India:

 

Preston Hampton Edwards Photos and Documents

Mabel Emma Griffith, Smith College, Northampton, MA, 1903
Mabel Griffith Edward and sons, Howard, age 5 and George, few months. August 1918. Passport application photo.

Preston Hampton Edwards

Instrument is a sarangi, late C19, North India,. A sarangi is a bowed stringed instrument with a skin-covered resonator. The typical sarangi is made by hand, usually from a single block of wood. The four playing strings on this instrument are made of goat gut, and the seventeen sympathetic strings are made of steel. The sarangi is used throughout India and has some regional variations, but it is a particularly important part of the Hindustani music of North India.

RECEIVED:
Jan 29, 1917
Mr. Speer
Ewing Christian College

Physics Department
P.H. Edwards, MA, PhD Allahabad, India

Personal Labor Report of

P. H. Edwards.
____________
1915-16.

There is very little variety from year to year in the reports of one whose work is largely according to a fixed routine, so my last year's report would serve with very few changes for this year.

The first part of my work, and that which shows least variety, is my teaching in the College; it has comprised as usual a Bible class in addition to those in physics, the one new feature this year being some mathematics with the Kolhapur Princes. Along with this, I may mention my work in examining for the University, which has involved something like two weeks of travel in visiting various college and schools.

The management of the Jamna School, though not my primary duty, has taken all the time I could spare from other work, and has, in a sense, been my greatest responsibility and my interest. This work naturally divides itself into two parts, the first and most urgent being the constant and close supervision of all the financial aspects in the endeavor to make ends meet, second the gathering together and building up of a strong and stable staff of teachers, of high quality both from an educational standpoint and from that of its Christian influence. This latter involves much correspondence and careful searching and testing, as well as more frequent use of the pruning knife than is pleasant, but its importance cannot be over-emphasized; and the satisfaction of seeing a fine staff building up is worth all the trouble it takes.

As Chairman of the Education Committee of the Mission, I spent about ten days in the beginning of January inspecting schools and district educational work, and found it all intensely interesting. This office has also involved considerable correspondence. The Christian Literature and Tract Societies, the Union Hymnbook Committee, the Missionary Educational Union, and various minor matters, have accounted on the whole for a considerable portion of my time.

Most of the month of May was spent with my family in Landaur, teaching two or three hours daily in the language classes. About half of June was given to a delightful walking trip to the upper Ganges Valley.

Through a large part of the year, I have had small voluntary Bible classes of non-Christian students. One of these, consisting of four students from South India, was regular throughout the year, while two or three other classes, ranging from one to three in number, were more or less irregular; the first, now reduced to three, has been continued in the new session, and meets every Sunday afternoon. This I consider to be one of the most satisfactory pieces of work I am doing, for while I see no sign of stepping across the line, I do not believe the word sown in this personal way can be without its fruit. May God give me and all his servants power to sow in all hearts without fainting, and if it be His will, to see the fruits too.

The Jamna School,
(American Presbyterian Mission.)

Allahabad.

I have also dropped back into my position of Honorary Secretary of the Christian Literature Society's branch in Allahabad, which means little more than having a weekly conference with Mr. Mukerji, who does practically all the work of secretary,- and attending a few meetings; I am glad, however, to have this touch with the literature work. Other interests which have involved some attendance of meetings, correspondence, and more or less work, are the Allahabad University, the Provincial Text-Book Committee, the United Provinces Missionary Council, the Missionary Education Union, the United Hymn Book Committee, and various minor committees.

I spent about six weeks of the vacation in Laudaur with my family, doing at the same time light work in the Language School. The health of the whole family has been good, and we have been rejoiced recently by the addition of a third boy, whom I have not yet seen.

I close another year with deep thanksgiving that God has given me a broader and deeper vision, I believe, of His will than ever before.

 

Signed
PRESTON H. EDWARDS

RECEIVED Note from P. H. Edwards You might turn Janvier's note over to Dr. Reed for file on
JUL 18 1917 the Chemistry man

FILING DEPT.
JUL 19 1917.
JUL 24 1917.

Mr. Speer
Darlington, S. C.

July 16, 1917.
transcription
Dear Dr. Speer:

I am enclosing a note from Janvier* which will show you his attitude

on the subject of the man for Chemistry. Is the Board yet on the track of anyone who would

fit the conditions? I wrote to W. W. Ewing, who was for awhile at Fatehgarh, but he was

doubtful about going back to India, and would prefer school work to college if he did go.

You saw the cablegram I had sent to Dr. Janvier, I believe, and the letter I wrote to

Mr. Day. The cable, of course, didn't represent the case in its proper proportions, but my letter

should have reached him a few days later and explained things more fully. I have written

again the subject to Janvier, Weld and others, adding little to what I wrote in the first place

except to emphasize the pull of my own country on me, and the fact that I have never been in

at all close touch with the constituency at home of the Northern Presbyterian Mission, none

too close indeed with the Mission on the field, but I have not emphasized this last. I think

perhaps I left one misapprehension with you, when I spoke of engaging in layman's work at

home; I did not mean anything like official connection with the Layman's Missionary

Movement, but simply to take some position in my own line of work, and do whatever I can, as

a layman, to forward the cause of missions, among other causes. I am now arranging to take

up such work, for one year, and I hope that with the help of this year's experience I may be led

to a wise decision for the farther future.

Yours very sincerely,

Preston H. Edwards

transcription
RECEIVED Bureau of Standards,
Washington, D. C. Filing Dept.
1 Nov., 1917. NOV 16 1917


Mr. Speer

Dear Dr. Speer:

I am afraid I have been negligent about informing the

Board of my movements. I took a position in this Bureau

for one year to do scientific investigation, partly in connection

with war problems, beginning the 9th of August. Letters may

be addressed to me there or at my street address, 3511-30th

St., N.W.

In order that you may know, if you wish, the present

status of the question of my return to India, I am sending

a copy of the resolutions passed by the College Council

with regard to my cablegram and letter which you saw, and

my reply to those resolutions.

I hope I shall see you when you are here for the Missionary

Campaign on the 18th.

Sincerely, Preston H. Edwards

STAMP
Bureau of Standards, NOV 16 1917
Washington, 6 Oct 1917

My dear Janvier:- Transcription

I want you to say to the College Council for me that I deeply appreciate
the resolutions they passed in regard to my returning to take up my work there.
With reference to these resolutions I wish to say the following:

1. It is not a matter of reopening my first letter to you on the subject
of postponing my return was not intended to close it, and I believe that I wrote you
later that I had, in taking the position at the Bureau of Standards, expressly reserved
the right to resign at the end of one year if by that time I came to the conclusion
that I ought to return to India. I believe I also wrote to Weld a few weeks ago that
it looked then as if India's pull would prevail, and the fine letters I have received
from you and him and some others in the last ten days or so have made that
pull all the stronger for my wife as well as myself. I will not go further than that
just now, but the question is certainly very much open.

2. In case I do decide to return, it will probably be very difficult to
do so by next July. I have taken up this work, as I said before, for a year, and
that year will not expire till near the end of July, 1918. If I carry out this arrangement
I could not, of course be in India in July, but could very conveniently arrange
to be on hand for the resumption of college work after the Dasebra Holidays. It would
also be pretty hard on the family to go out in June, and if I went I should probably
go without them. I haven't seen or thought of any considerations which would
make it essential that I should be there in July; if there are such, I should be glad
if you would let me know of them.

3. I quite realize the weight of the fact that I was a party to the arrangement
whereby I was to return this autumn; for that reason I tried to give sufficient notice for
you to be able to arrange for my work for this session, and I did not finally commit
myself to the engagement here till sufficient time had elapsed after I sent my cable,
for you to cable back if there were extraordinary reasons why my return should not
be postponed. But I suppose a resignation must generally mean some derangement
of plans, and I believe people are usually conceded the right to resign with proper
notice. As I said in a letter to Weld, I thought it was better for me to resign while
I was at home than to go back and then resign.

4. It is probable, or at least possible, that if I decide to return, I should want to
come in a somewhat different relation from the former one. I should like a clear
statement from the Council as to whether they would wish me to come simply as a
professor in the college, other relations to be considered after I arrived, in case I felt
that to be the proper course (Probably I should have asked for this declaration
from the Board of Directors rather than from the Council).

Thanking you all for your kind words, and for the spirit of considerateness
you have shown,

Yours affectionately,

(Signed) Preston H. Edwards.
stamp

FILING DEPT.
NOV 16 1917
Transcription


1. Resolved that we place on record our deep regret that Dr. Edwards
should have decided not to return to India for the present at least, and that we present
for his serious consideration certain aspects of the situation which we hope will lead
him to reopen the question and return to us as soon as possible, and certainly not later
than July 1918.

2. His failure to return would not only involve serious decline of
prestige and influence for the college, but would mean for himself the loss of
opportunities rare equalled. The place of influence that he has, not only in the
college, but in the high school, in the general educational work of the mission and
in the counsels both of the Provincial Department of Education and of the
University of Allahabad, lay upon him a responsibility from which, especially in this
time of India's urgent need, he cannot lightly turn aside.

3. Naturally we feel most of all the need for him in our own institution.
As Vice-Principal, as Senior American professor in the Department of
Science and as head of the Department of Physics, his presence seems all but
indispensable. Nor can we believe that any work in America can present as
great a need or as strong a claim on him personally as Ewing Christian College does.

Personal Labour Report of
Preston H. Edwards
For Year Ending 14th October, 1915
*************
The past year has seemed the most satisfactory of all I have spent in India, probably because it was spent under lighter pressure than any recent one, and because experience has given me a better grasp of the problems faced than in the earlier times. A good assistant for my college work has given me considerably lighter work there, both last session and this, and Dr. Janvier's assumption of the work of Treasurer of the College relieved me of some further work, but more especially of a considerable amount of responsibility. I now have from twelve to fifteen hours a week of teaching in the college, including a Bible class there, and also a daily Bible class in the School; the latter is in preparation for the prize examination held annually by the Missionary Educational Union, and as it contains only fourteen or fifteen boys who are keen on learning the lessons, is a most interesting class. My college class too has been more interesting and seemingly more interested than usual this session; there are two or three Christians in it , and two in my class in the school. I have also a voluntary Bible class of four Hindu students of the first year class of the college, formed by the help of one of our young Christian teachers in the school, meeting every Sunday; they are bright young fellows from Coconada, they have memorised the 1st, 23rd, 15th, and 19h Psalms, and John 3:16, and have started on the 42nd Psalm, and we are reading through the Gospel of John together. I am still Superintendent of the Janna Church Sunday School, and this, together with this voluntary Bible class, servant's prayers for the school servants and my own, and an hour with another Hindu student reading the Ramayan, keep my Sundays pretty well occupied.

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In January and February I took three trips to give practical examinations in Science for the Government and the University of Allahabad, one to Benares, once to Jhansi, Gwalior, Agra and Cawnpore, and once to Lucknow. A little of my time has been taken up with the work of the Committee appointed by the United Provinces Missionary Council, to prepare a Union Hymn Book in the vernaculars of these parts. During the summer vacation I spent five or six weeks in Landour; during the greater part of this time I was helping in the language classes for missionaries preparing for their examinations. The rest of the vacation was spent largely in trying to get the School accounts into thoroughly good shape, and I consider that this was time most profitably spent. I took two or three other short trips on committee business of various sorts.
Of course a very large portion of my time has been taken up with the management of the school; the engaging of teachers, sometimes their dismissal, consulting over questions of policy, settling difficulties, correspondence with the Inspector, and various other things which do not admit of cataloguing, have accounted in the aggregate for a great many hours of my time, non of which do I grudge, for an opportunity for guiding in the building of Christian character in 600 boys who are qualifying for leading places in the Indian Community is no mean privilege or responsibility, and all these things I have mentioned have an important place in the whole problem.
I conduct the opening prayer services in the school, the early morning prayers in the Christian Boys' Boarding House, and the closing prayers of the Workshop, each once a week, and enjoy these opportunities of coming in touch with different groups. In the workshop, I am trying to teach the workmen a number of Christian songs, hoping that the Christian truth contained in them will remain and be an influence for good in their lives.
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Mother Edwards—Smith College Round Robin 1950

I joined the group in the Round Robin on graduation in 1903. Spent fall & winter of 1903–1904 in Library School in Pittsburgh. While there, my father died in spring of 1904. After graduation there, I took a position in the Reid Memorial Library in Passaic, N. J. Our work was largely among the foreigners; we had books in about twelve languages there. The children’s room was a bright and popular spot. I lived at the YWCA where, for part of my stay, Elizabeth (Viles) McBride was General Secretary.

A few years later, I resigned to got to Chicago for YWCA work taking training there which was, in a measure, a preparation for Foreign Mission work. I became Secretary of the YWCA IN Sunbury, PA, for a short time.

In summer of 1910, I was accepted as a missionary to India, by the Board of F. M. of the Presbyterian Church, USA, and sailed from NY in the fall. On the boat to England, there were three of us going out for the first time. After a few days in London, we boarded an Anchor Line boat at Liverpool. There we found other missionaries who were not new, and learned a little about the language we would have to learn, the customs and habits of the people among whom we were to live. It was a rather leisurely trip through the Mediterranean, Suez Canal, Red Sea, Gulf of Arabia on to Bombay. Our only landing en route was for a day at Port Said.

At the dock in Bombay, Elizabeth came to meet me—she was now Mrs. McBride and had one small daughter. The two of us were to go to the North India Mission (what was then the United Provinces) went first to the Annual meeting of the missionaries of that District, and were there about a week. We were assigned to Allahabad, after we spent some time getting a start learning the language. For that, we were sent to one of the small stations, where we had regular lessons, kept house, and so practiced our Hindustani on the servants, who seldom showed in any way that we ever made mistakes! In the hottest weather we went to Himalayas and continued our language study there.

In July I went down to the Girls’ School in Allahabad, and started teaching (in English).

To go back a bit—at Christmas time, for just before—Dr and Mrs. Ewing at Allahabad Christian College, had a house party “for the younger set”! This was a most unusual occasion for India, but for a few days, the American men teaching at the college gave several of us spinsters a very pleasant time. The aftermath of this party spread over several years was that the four of us who went to Indian in the fall of 1910 married men who were serving out there—not all at the College.

The great event of the year 1911 was the Durbar at Delhi, where in the city of the ancient rulers of India, their modern rulers, King George and Queen Mary, were crowned with all the splendor and pageantry that royalty, and the Orientals who love color, could crowd into the day. It was the most colorful and exciting event that I have ever seen. We had fairly good seats, and sat in the broiling sun from 11:00 AM to 2:30 PM but survived the ordeal. It was like something out of a fairy tale.

I was married to Preston Edwards in June 1912. Preston had come out earlier to help Dr. Ewing at an early stage in the history of the college. He had been home and secured his PhD at Johns Hopkins, and returned to India in the summer of 1910. Our wedding trip was taken back in the Himalaya Mountains, toward the source of the Ganges. Most of it on foot with the towering snow-capped peaks always in view. We heard no English spoken after our first day out. We, of course, saw many Pilgrims, as the source (Gangotri) is a very sacred spot for the Hindus.

We lived at the college until our furlough home in the winter of 1917. Howard was born in Landor (where we spent part of the hot weather) in August 1913. ruth was born in Allahabad in October 1915. She left us in December of 1917, just as we were about to leave for the U. S.

Because there was a war on, no women were allowed through the Mediterranean, so we came home via the Pacific. We met extremes of weather—left Ceylon at Christmas in great heat. Arrived at Hong Kong in the coldest weather they had experienced for years. At Shanghai, the same cold weather. Storms all the way across the Pacific, and a not-too-serious collision with another boat as we neared Vancouver, made the trip one not to be forgotten. As we landed, we heard that the US had entered the war. Through Canada there were great snow drifts which, at one place, held the train at one spot for a whole day. The snow and cold were new sensations for son Howard. We visited relatives in N. Y. State and in South Carolina, returning to Washington to live for a time. Preston was engaged in war work at the Bureau of Standards.

We were called back to India for a time until a new President of the college might be found. Our son, Griffith, born in Baltimore was just three months old when we started the long trip back via at the Pacific again. He was six months old when, after many experiences and some danger, we finally reached Madras in India. As we landed we received the news that the Armistice had been signed.

Son Ernest Preston was born in India, and was a year old as we came into N.Y. harbor—this time to stay. We lived a year near Baltimore where the two younger boys learned English, and Preston took some refresher courses at John Hopkins. This was followed by four years at Winthrop College in Rock Hill, SC. From there to Gettysburg College, then Sweet Briar in 1927.

On arrival in S. B., my surprise was great to find that our old friend Miss Czarnomska was teaching English at S. B. Our boys have grown up here except for the high school years spent in their father’s home town of Darlington, SC. They all graduated from the University of Virginia (as did their father). Griffith had two years at Annapolis, then had to leave on account of his eyes. He completed his course in chemical engineering at the University. Howard is a mechanical engineer, employed at the W.N.C.A. at Langley Field, near Norfolk, VA. He married an Amherst girl, and they have our eldest grandson now 16 months old. After Griffith’s graduation from college he was at Edgeworth Arsenal for a time then, as war came on, he went into the Navy. He took training as a radar specialist. His service was on an APA (Attack Transport) boat in the Pacific. At the end of the war, he was a Senior Lt. He returned home, met and married a Sweet Briar graduate, and lives in Amherst. He is an Engineer at the Calco plant of the American Cyanamid Corp. His son is Preston Hill and is 13 months old.

Ernest went to Cornell after graduating with Phi Beta Kappa honors from the University of Virginia. He took his MA then was called into the army. He took training as a pilot but was too tall to actually fly, so taught for a time, then took officer training. He was sent to Edgewood and was engaged in the high secret work carried on there. We found out later that it was biological warfare. One of the “bugs” caught him, and he had undulant fever for some time. After his discharge, he returned to Cornell and won his PhD in ornithology. He has been teaching this year at the University of Kentucky. He has made several trips to Mexico to study bird life there and will go again this summer.

Preston was retired from S. B. several years ago, but during the war, taught winter and summer, giving the Navy recruits training in physics. His longest terms were at the University of North Carolina and at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. Then, years before last and part of last year, he substituted at S. B. He has really retired now, and at present we are both well and busy building a new home.

Written spring of 1950