Terrorism as It Once Was: The Miss Stone Affair, America, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire (written for ArchaeologyinBulgaria.com)

Protestant missionary Miss Ellen Stone is seen here at her arrival back in the United States after her six-month abduction by the Bulgarian freedom-fighters, i.e. the Miss Stone Affair. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
(*This history feature article was written by Ivan Dikov for Pax Glocalica's sister publication ArchaeologyinBulgaria.com)

The dramedy of the Miss Stone Affair is a stunning episode of history which teaches about courage and integrity in the struggle for freedom. And about Stockholm Syndrome.

A Major Footnote in History

Is it possible for a case of terrorism to be endearing?

Could a dramatic kidnapping end up being comic?

Could two nations – one being the United States of America – end up having good relations even though their formal ties started off on the wrong foot?

The answer to these questions is positive when it comes to what has been described “America’s first modern hostage crisis”, better known as “the Miss Stone Affair”.

This historical episode also happened to be one of the first cases of really tangible interaction between the United States and Bulgaria.

Much has been written about the Miss Stone Affair in the US, Bulgaria, and beyond but the story is absolutely worth re-examining as a reminder that it is not impossible even for what essentially was an act of international political terrorism to feature valor, honor, and… humor.

Perhaps the most comprehensive and lively account of this incredibly curious episode in history – with the best possible title – is the book “The Miss Stone Affair: America’s First Modern Hostage Crisis” (2003) by US Pulitzer Prize-winning author Teresa Carpenter.

“When I first came across this story in the form of a periodical abstract at the New York Public Library I had envisioned writing a monograph, based upon documents from the National Archives and Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. and the papers of the Congregationalist Missionaries at Harvard,” Carpenter told me in an email when I first published a version of this article several years ago.

“It was originally limited to the effects of the event upon/and responses by the US State Department and the American press,” she noted.

“The further I got into my research, however, the more real and compelling the players in this drama seemed and I realized that I would not be content without visiting the countries and sites where the events occurred, talking to descendants and friends of descendants and, in a manner of speaking, breathing the same air,” the researched said.

What was so amazing about this story, the first international crisis with an American citizen taken hostage abroad in modern times?…

Read the rest of this article on ArchaeologyinBulgaria website here

(379 words cited out of a total of 5,919 words)


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