“Dear Mrs. Perdicaris”

TALIM Dear Mrs Perdicaris 2
Before Tweets, before instant messaging, texting, and Skype, before viral videos, there were letters.

And on May 20, 1904, a flood of letters, from all over the world, started to flow towards Tangier.

TALIM Dear Mrs Perdicaris 3Mr. Ion Perdicaris and his wife's son Cromwell Varley had been kidnapped by Moroccan "brigand" and chieftan Moulay Ahmed El Raisuli, in what came to be known – worldwide – as "the Perdicaris Affair."

The incident sparked a diplomatic crisis, with US President Theodore Roosevelt dispatching the Atlantic Fleet to Tangier and issuing the ultimatum "Perdicaris Alive or Raisuli Dead," which became his reelection campaign slogan.

Now these letters, painstakingly collected by Mrs. Ellen ("Nellie") Perdicaris in May-June 1904 in a bound album, are at the Tangier American Legation, along with other documents and images of an incident that the Legation helped resolve.  We wrote this up in a post last spring, and someone who could take action read it.

We have longtime Tangier resident Christopher Gibbs to thank for ensuring that this rare document has come "home" to Tangier.  Christopher Gibbs is Chairman of the J. Paul Getty Jr. Charitable Trust, and TALIM has been the recipient of a generous grant to enable the purchase of the album.

TALIM Dear Mrs Perdicaris 4

Gerald Loftus

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