Consuls, Industrial Innovations and a Walking Stick (1852–1865)
The decade following that first Parsi step onto U.S. soil saw some significant moments in cross-cultural interaction, including the establishment of formal American consular relations in Bombay. In 1852, a merchant named Dossabhoy Merwanji Wadia was nominated as acting U.S. Vice-Consul in Bombay. The journalist Bayard Taylor, in Bombay in early 1853, wrote of the hospitality shown to him by Dossabhoy and his family. Dossabhoy’s company worked with many American firms operating in the U.S., China, and Zanzibar. His nephew, Rustomji Hirjibhoy, was hosted by one such firm when he visited Boston and New York in late 1860–1861. Rustomji left America as the Civil War began. The following year, two other Parsi businessmen toured northeastern America, one of whom penned the first Parsi impressions of the United States, published in Gujarati by a Parsi-owned press. The Civil War in America had a lasting impact on Bombay commerce and banking, making and breaking the fortunes of several companies in which Parsis had a stake.