Ambassador R. W. Child Signed Passport

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US passport Rome Embassy
Richard Washburn Child
 (August 5, 1881 – January 31, 1935) was an American author, diplomat, and promoter of fascism, in particular Italian Fascism, in the early 20th century.  Ambassador Child Signed Passport

Born in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1881, Child went to Harvard University and Law School where he graduated in 1906 to become a business lawyer. Child founded the Progressive Republican League in Massachusetts, a forerunner of the Progressive Party. During World War I, he worked first as a correspondent in Europe and Russia, then for the U.S. Treasury, writing propaganda.

In 1916 he published a book, calling for U.S. investment in Russia. After the war, he became editor of Collier’s Weekly (1919). In 1919 and 1920, Francis X. Bushman and Beverly Bayne successfully toured the play The Master Thief, based on a story by Child.

In 1920 he wrote campaign material for Presidential candidate Warren G. Harding, who rewarded him with the ambassadorship in Italy (from May 1921 to February 1924), where among other diplomatic activities he encouraged Benito Mussolini to start his March on Rome, as he records in his memoir A Diplomat looks at Europe (1925). He also promoted U.S. investment in Italy under Mussolini, especially from the J. P. Morgan bank. After his return to the United States, he became the editor for The Saturday Evening Post and served on the National Crime Commission in 1925. In 1926 he divorced. Ambassador Child Signed Passport

Passport US Embassy Rome 1922

In 1928 he became a paid propaganda writer for Benito Mussolini, whose notes he ghostwrote and serialized as My Autobiography in The Saturday Evening Post, and whose politics he praised in numerous articles for the Hearst press. Together with Thomas W. Lamont, he rates as one of the most influential American promoters of Italian Fascism until his death in 1935. Child also wrote a number of crime stories and promotional tracts throughout his career. His Paymaster stories, in which his anti-hero – a criminal dubbed “the Paymaster” – regularly outwitted his opponents, including the police, and other more dangerous villains, were widely known in the first decades of the 20th century. Ambassador Child Signed Passport

Ambassador Child Signature

Child was a critic of spiritualism and skeptical of paranormal claims. In his article The Will to Believe he dismissed the medium Eusapia Palladino as a fraud. Ambassador Child Signed Passport

FAQ Passport History
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1. What are the earliest known examples of passports, and how have they evolved?

The word "passport" came up only in the mid 15th Century. Before that, such documents were safe conducts, recommendations or protection letters. On a practical aspect, the earliest passport I have seen was from the mid 16th Century. Read more...

2. Are there any notable historical figures or personalities whose passports are highly sought after by collectors?

Every collector is doing well to define his collection focus, and yes, there are collectors looking for Celebrity passports and travel documents of historical figures like Winston Churchill, Brothers Grimm, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Read more...

3. How did passport designs and security features change throughout different periods in history, and what impact did these changes have on forgery prevention?

"Passports" before the 18th Century had a pure functional character. Security features were, in the best case, a watermark and a wax seal. Forgery, back then, was not an issue like it is nowadays. Only from the 1980s on, security features became a thing. A state-of-the-art passport nowadays has dozens of security features - visible and invisible. Some are known only by the security document printer itself. Read more...

4. What are some of the rarest and most valuable historical passports that have ever been sold or auctioned?

Lou Gehrig, Victor Tsoi, Marilyn Monroe, James Joyce, and Albert Einstein when it comes to the most expensive ones. Read more...

5. How do diplomatic passports differ from regular passports, and what makes them significant to collectors?

Such documents were often held by officials in high ranks, like ambassadors, consuls or special envoys. Furthermore, these travel documents are often frequently traveled. Hence, they hold a tapestry of stamps or visas. Partly from unusual places.

6. Can you provide insights into the stories behind specific historical passports that offer unique insights into past travel and migration trends?

A passport tells the story of its bearer and these stories can be everything - surprising, sad, vivid. Isabella Bird and her travels (1831-1904) or Mary Kingsley, a fearless Lady explorer.

7. What role did passports play during significant historical events, such as wartime travel restrictions or international treaties?

During war, a passport could have been a matter of life or death. Especially, when we are looking into WWII and the Holocaust. And yes, during that time, passports and similar documents were often forged to escape and save lives. Example...

8. How has the emergence of digital passports and biometric identification impacted the world of passport collecting?

Current modern passports having now often a sparkling, flashy design. This has mainly two reasons. 1. Improved security and 2. Displaying a countries' heritage, icons, and important figures or achievements. I can fully understand that those modern documents are wanted, especially by younger collectors.

9. Are there any specialized collections of passports, such as those from a specific country, era, or distinguished individuals?

Yes, the University of Western Sidney Library has e.g. a passport collection of the former prime minister Hon Edward Gough Whitlam and his wife Margaret. They are all diplomatic passports and I had the pleasure to apprise them. I hold e.g. a collection of almost all types of the German Empire passports (only 2 types are still missing). Also, my East German passport collection is quite extensive with pretty rare passport types.

10. Where can passport collectors find reliable resources and reputable sellers to expand their collection and learn more about passport history?

A good start is eBay, Delcampe, flea markets, garage or estate sales. The more significant travel documents you probably find at the classic auction houses. Sometimes I also offer documents from my archive/collection. See offers... As you are already here, you surely found a great source on the topic 😉

Other great sources are: Scottish Passports, The Nansen passport, The secret lives of diplomatic couriers

11. Is vintage passport collecting legal? What are the regulations and considerations collectors should know when acquiring historical passports?

First, it's important to stress that each country has its own laws when it comes to passports. Collecting old vintage passports for historical or educational reasons is safe and legal, or at least tolerated. More details on the legal aspects are here...

Does this article spark your curiosity about passport collecting and the history of passports? With this valuable information, you have a good basis to start your own passport collection.

Question? Contact me...