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McCeney Werlich Series, 1915 - 1936


Scope and Contents

Official correspondence files, financial accounts, and family papers, belonging to McCeney Werlich (1892 - 1936), career foreign service officer. The series documents Werlich's diplomatic assignments in Latvia, Poland, Costa Rica, and Liberia between 1926 - 1936. Percival McCeney Werlich was born in Cleveland, Ohio on 26 June 1892, the son of Percival Julius werlich, U.S. naval officer, and Hattie McCeney of Washington, D.C. McCeney attended parochial and private schools in the United States and Europe, before entering Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he received a degree in chemical engineering in 1915. Following graduation, Werlich joined the American Locomotive Company as a special apprentice, and , in 1917, was promoted to Inspector and Traveling Engineer. In September, 1918, Werlich enlisted for military service, securing a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant Infantry, attached to the Liaison Office of the American Expeditionary Forces in France. after an honorable discharge in 1919, Werlich remained in Europe as a representative for American Locomotive. In 1924, when ALC closed their European office, Werlich applies to the State Department for a career as a foreign service officer. He was accepted for service in 1915, after successfully completing the necessary examinations. In 1926, McCeney Werlich was sent to the american Consulate in Riga, Latvia as Vice-Consul, serving under Frederick W. B. Coleman, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. In January 1928, Werlich received a transfer to the American legation at Warsaw, "to fill an urgent vacancy," as Third Secretary. It was shortly after this date that the American legation in Warsaw was raised to the status of an embassy. In 1931, recognizing the necessity of doing, what he called, "a 'trick' in South America," Werlich secured an assignment at the American legation in San Jose, Costa Rica. Werlich remained in Costa Rica as Third Secretary until May 1933, when he was named American Charge d'Affairs to Monrovia, Liberia. The papers are of particular significance in documenting this crucial period in Liberian history. Included are numerous letters and memoranda on political, diplomatic, and economic conditions in Liberia from Werlich's arrival in June 1933 until his departure in February 1934. Contained are lengthy discussions of U.S./Liberian relations; the League Plan of Assistance; the Firestone-Davidson case; Liberia's political leaders, including former President Dunbar King and President Edwin Barclay; and the Kru uprisings. In January 1935, Werlich was relieved of his duties in Liberia and assigned to the American Embassy in Paris. Unfortunately, Werlich's career in the foreign service was cut tragically short. While in Paris, Werlich's health deteriorated as a result of malaria contracted during his service in Liberia. McCeney died the following year, at the age of forty-four. McCeney Werlich was married to the former Gladys Hinckley. They had one son, Robert O'Donnell Werlich. The McCeney Werlich Series consists primarily of official correspondecne files, organized chronologically, which document Werlich's employment with American Locomotive company; military service during World War I; and subsequent foreign service career. Folder descriptions which follow include general summaries of content, while describing in further detail selected pieces of correspondence or documents of particular interest. An index of correspondence appears at the end of the register. Also included in the series are financial records; material concerning Werlich's death and Gladys Werlich's widow compensation; and family-related papers, including correspondence from Gladys Hinckley Werlich to her husband, as well as material pertaining to Percival J. Werlich, principally concerning his estate.


  • Majority of material found within 1915 - 1936

Conditions Governing Access

Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.


2.5 Linear Feet (5 boxes)

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English

Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057