LAURANCE AND CLAIRE PETERS,
BEG TUTE AFGHAN HOUNDS USA
by Steve Tillotson July 2012. updated 2014, 2017, 2019
(The majority of hounds bred by the Peters were registered without a kennel name. However, the Peters occasionally used "of Beg Tute" or "of Tazi", so for convenience we titled this article Beg Tute Afghan Hounds).
Laurance Armistead Peters (1905 - 1963) was born in Seattle, Washington. His parents were William Peters (from Georgia) and Francis Peters (from California). The US Census's for the years 1910, 20, ,30, 40 have "none" entered as occupations of Peters parents. So we wonder if they were independently wealthy and thus did not need to work a regular job. We'll continue to investigate this aspect. The family home for most of Peters
life was located at 1318 Minor Avenue, Seattle, King, Washington. He lived there until around sometime in the 1930's when he moved to Kitsap, Port Blakely, Washington, which is the last address we have for him. Claire Peters (1909 -2005) was born Claire Esmond Taft in Seattle, Washington. Her parents were Fred Louis Taft (from Michigan) and Floy Esmond "Nomie" Welch (from Indiana). Claire spent the entirity of her life living in Seattle, Washington, the last address we find for her was - Bainbridge Island, Kitsap, Washington.
Previous writers have described Peters occupation as a Journalist. Laurance Peters formal profession was that of an Attorney. A fact confirmed by his entry in the Seattle business directory listings confirming him as an acting Attorney and also confirmed by his 1934 travelling partner George M Taggert. . Peters was an officer and member of "Phi Delta Phi" which is an international legal honor society and is the oldest legal organization in continuous existence in the United States, pre-dating the American Bar Association. The fraternity was founded at the University of Michigan in 1869 "to promote a higher standard of professional ethics.".
The Peters have also been described as "accomplished freelance journalists and videographers who also produced documentaries". Leon B. Poullada, and Leila Poullada in their 1995 book "The kingdom of Afghanistan and the United States: 1828-1973" , described the Peters as " free-lance adventurers who financed their own expeditions". Before the famous Laurance and Clair Peters expedition to Afghanistan in 1934, Laurance Peters had visited Asia earlier in 1930 with a co-adventurer Henry Alfred Shroeder. They were two University Graduates in their early 20's seeking to visit Kashgar, the gateway between Central Asia and China. They wrote about these adventures in a book they co-authored "Shirtail and Pigtail, Nonchalant Adventures in Central Asia" published by Minton Batch and Company, New York, 1930. They really were carefree, for example, they had considerable difficulty getting paperwork approving their travels through Russia. When they eventually gained approval and the appropriate documents, they enquired whether they needed approval and documents to leave Russia to return home. The person who assisted them with the travel documents responded "I can get you into Russia, but I have no idea of how you get to leave. Apparently the potential for a permanent one-way trip didnt bother the two young adventurers, and off they went on their travels. The aforementioned book on this expedition is a lively and interesting read, almost like a journal in which they handled whatever came their way with great aplomb.
The later expedition by Laurance and his wife Claire Peters involved a visit to Afghanistan and India during 1934. They returned from Afghanistan via steamship from Bombay, India, to New York on the SS President Van Buren, arriving in New York on Sep 11th 1934. They brought back with them the two Afghan hounds (Saki Of Paghman, Tazi Of Beg Tute), which they obtained during their time in Afghanistan.
A copy of their video work produced by the Peters during their 1934 Afghanistan/India expedition was donated to the University Of Washington; we have made enquiries with the University about the video recording but have not heard back from the University as yet.
A Kennel Advertisment by
Laurance Peters, late 1930's
In his sales piece above, Peters writes - "Pals to the Pharaohs. These dogs represent one of the oldest breeds known. Tazi of Beg Tute (above) and Saki Of Paghman (a gray female) were brought back from their native Afghanistan by Claire and Laurance Peters. Afghan Hounds are intelligent, easily trained, clean, good watchdogs, affectionate, gentle with children. Their fine silky hair does not have the usual "doggy" odor. Prices of puppies and grown dogs on request. Laurance A Peters, Port Blakely, Washington"
The Peters Afghan hound imports -
Tazi Of Beg Tute and Saki Of Paghman
While in Afghanistan the Peters acquired two Afghan Hounds, A dog they named Tazi Of Beg Tute after the name of the village where they acquired Tazi and a bitch they named Saki Of Paghman after the name of the village where they acquired Saki. The village of Paghman is located in the Paghman District which is situated in the western part of Kabul Province. Since the 1930's Paghman has been developed as an area that Afghani's retreat to for weekend breaks and is a popular tourist area. It has also been referred to as the summer capital (being close to Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan). Paghman Park was developed during the late 1920's with intentional European assistance and influence. A feature of the park is "The Paghman Arc de Triomphe". We are not sure how much of this gateway to the park remains after the destruction inflicted on the area in the 1970's.
|Tazi Of Beg Tute, Afghanistan 1934|
with Mr George Taggart (L) and Laurance Peters (R)
In October 2013 we received an email from Robert H. Sheeks who found this AHT page, and in particular the photo above. The photo is of Laurence Peters and George M Taggart (of Seattle, Washington), Mr Sheeks
informed us that Mr Taggert is pictured in the snapshot above with Peters in Afghanistan 1934. Taggart and Peters traveled together to Afghanistan to make a film documentary. Mr Sheeks is co-authoring a book on the life of Mr Taggart, his co-author is George Taggart's daughter Kay Taggart Guesdon. They have established a website re Mr Taggart which you can view here
"In 1934 George Taggert returned to Seattle where he joined in a new travel partnership to help his lawyer friend, Laurance “Babe” Peters, produce a documentary film about Afghanistan. He set out for Los Angeles where they boarded a ship for Hong Kong, then on to India. They traveled across land to the Khyber Pass and into Afghanistan. They traveled overland in a Ford truck. The going was difficult to say the least. They encountered much government “red tape” about visas and problems regarding restrictions to film in the local tribal areas. On one occasion their truck broke down and they had to seek assistance by traveling on horseback to local villages to find parts and food. Some filming took place as well as a book manuscript, but not much success came of the attempt. In addition to the filming project, “Babe” Peters would procure and bring home to the US, one of the first Afghan hounds to be raised and bred in the United States. After serious discussion between Taggart and Peters about the trip’s success, George left his partner in India and traveled on his own, south by ship to Australia and on to Tahiti for his second visit there". (Source George M Taggert website - https://sites.google.com/site/georgetggart/)
We understand from the Taggart web link above that Mr Taggart was a US Navy officer and was appointed Fisheries Officer for the military government on Saipan after the invasion landings in June 1944. Laurence Peters also spent some time in the Japan/Saipan area - in 1928 Peters sailed from Yokohoma Japan to Seattle Washington USA on the SS Arabia Maru. George Moore Taggart II was born on November 29, 1902 in a suburb of Seattle,Washington. So now we can see several potential "connections" between Peters and Taggart - Both born in Seattle and of similar ages. Both had experience and/or visited Japan and surrounding area. Possibly they met and became friends via the University of Washington.
We have been unable to locate a village named "Beg Tute" but we would venture to suggest that most likely it is in the same area (Kabul Province) as Paghman. We don't know how extensively the Peters traveled around Afghanistan, hopefully if we can obtain some information in the future from the University Of Washington we may be able to track down Beg Tute Village. The Peters had been attracted to the breed Afghan Hound when they encountered one at the French Consul's office in Kabul a couple of years earlier. They had considerable difficulty obtaining these two hounds as the Afghani's stated they were not for sale. Eventually the Peters sought assistance from an Afghan Soldier friend who sufficiently smoothed the water they were able to purchase Tazi. Obtaining the bitch Saki proved equally difficult. Eventually an opportunistic native offered the Peters a somewhat scruffy, weedy hound of poor quality. However they decided to purchase Saki who later back in the USA proved herself as an important brood bitch.
Tazi has been described as "wild eyed and fawn colored" hound, who initially was very nervous of his new owners and the surround, but he eventually settled down with the Peters. Saki was said to have had a "haunting gaze" and always had a poor coat. Her color was described as gray brindle. She was not very extrovert and unlikely to develop as a show dog. These two hounds are very important in the development of the breed in the USA, which we will cover, in a later chapter. By contrast Tazi was shown occasionally and even won a best of breed in 1940 under a judge named W. B. Fletcher.
Another photograph of Tazi Of Beg Tute
|Claire Peters with Tazi and Saki, Afghanistan 1934 on a river trip|
Tazi got a mention in "Pure-bred dogs, American Kennel gazette: Volume 72, Part 1" dated 1951. We believe the author was Phyllis Robson, editor of UK Dog World who was a frequent visitor to the USA and an Afghan hound owner, and breed commentator in the UK). Here we have an early mention of colors and the difficulties of understanding them and even describing them -Phyllis Robson writes - "The confusion over color naming in this breed is quite understandable. We have so many colors with so many intermediate shades, and frequently unusual variations. The poor breeder, in listing the colors of a litter, is almost certain to have trouble distinguishing between shades like red and fawn - and if the puppies are young, he may be able to make only the wildest guess at the eventual color of the dog. The import Tazi of Beg Tute must number a goodly number of solid grays or blues amongst their many descendants. The other early import was a dog named Kush De Flandre, described as "blue gray". If he was not a brindle, then he is the only instance I know of in which the solid gray emerged from exclusively Ghazni and Bell Murray lines".
A grey coloured son of Tazi Of Beg Tute
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