Miss Weems & Miss Wolfe: Tangier Stories from the ’40s


TALIM Weems poster 2 copy

Dorothy Weems (left) as her mother, Ruth Wolfe Weems (right)

It started with a simple sentence, a comment on a TALIMblog post about the Legation during the Second World War:

My mother worked at the US Legation in the early 1940's.

That one-liner from Dorothy Weems blossomed into several months' correspondence, where it emerged that her mother, Ruth Wolfe Weems, was a code clerk at the American Legation from 1944 to 1946.

The Legation was packed with over 60 employees – military attachés, diplomats, spies – during the war years, and Ruth occupied a sensitive position, processing messages about the Legation's priorities, among them wartime activities in the strategic Strait of Gibraltar, and the ever-worrisome intentions of Franco's Spain, which until the war ended occupied Tangier.

But Ruth left something more for posterity: letters and stories, several published after her return to postwar US, about the life of a young American woman in exotic Tangier during the war, when the atmosphere resembled the Casablanca of film fame.

In our correspondence, it also turned out that Ruth's daughter Dorothy Weems was an actress in regional theater and national TV, and that her dream was to mount a one-woman show, dressed as her mother, performing a play faithfully adapted from her mother's Tangier stories.

Now, thanks to TALIM's partnership with Tangier's International Center for Performance Studies (ICPS), the Tangier public and participants in the 2012 ICPS "Performing Tangier" conference will get a chance to witness this mother-daughter partnership across the decades.

We are particularly proud that "Miss Wolfe's Tangier Stories"TM will be performed at the Legation, in the very rooms where Ruth Wolfe would have spent time almost seven decades ago.  One more illustration that the human stories behind more than two centuries of Moroccan-American relations are an integral part of the Legation experience.

Gerald Loftus

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