Letters to Mrs Edie Clifford of London from her fiance in Canada

Scope and Content

These 213 letters were written to Edie Clifford by her fiancé, Percy Alexander, while he was in Strathcona, Alberta, Canada, trying to establish a business before their marriage. The letters include passages relating to Percy' s daily life, their plans for the future and reflections on the husband-wife relationship.


Edie Clifford was born 18 November 1886, and trained as a teacher and later as a secretary. Her mother ran a select guesthouse in London, where, aged 14 and still at school, Edie answered the door to Percy Alexander, who was looking for rooms. Percy (born 1874) trained as a cutter in his father's textile business in Kensington. The sequence of letters begins soon after this initial meeting, and speaks of 'secret' meetings between the two. After the couple became engaged Percy left for Canada to establish his own business, where Edie was to join him when she was old enough to marry. After nine years Percy decided that living conditions in Canada were too harsh for Edie, so he returned to England and set up a furrier's business in Bournemouth. That business closed with the onset of the Great War and did not reopen. The later letters document something of their lives after Percy returned to England. Throughout, as Mrs Alexander's daughter says, the letters clearly show their 'devoted love for each other' and their 'constant life long relationship' in difficult circumstances.

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