US Passport 1886 Legation London

US Passport Legation London

This large US passport was issued at the US legation in London in April 1886 to a 28-year-old Philippe Victor Lacoste traveling to Russia. The several visas and revenue stamps from Russia are wonderful and so is the whole passport with the wording LEGATION LONDON, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Unfortunately, I could not find any data about Lacoste. But he was born in 1848, a US citizen. His physical description shows he was 5 feet 6 inches tall (171 cm), brown eyes, black hairs and had a mustache. The passport has the original signature of ambassador Edward J. Phelps.

Edward John Phelps, American Lawyer, and Diplomat

PHELPS, EDWARD JOHN (1822-1900), American lawyer and diplomat, was born on the 9th of July 1822 at Middlebury, Vermont. He graduated from Middlebury College in 1840, was a schoolmaster for a year in Virginia, and was admitted to the bar in 1843. He began practice at Middlebury, but in 1845 removed to Burlington, Vermont.

From 1851 to 1853 he was the second comptroller of the United States Treasury, and then practiced law in New York City until 1857 when he returned to Burlington. Becoming a Democrat after the Whig party had ceased to exist, he was debarred from a political career in his own state, where his party was in the minority, but he served in the state constitutional convention in 1870, and in 1880 was the Democratic candidate for governor of his state. US Passport Legation London

He was one of the founders of the American Bar Association and was its president in 1880-1881. From 1881 until his death he was Kent Professor of Law at Yale University. Was minister to Great Britain from 1885 to 1889, and in 1893 served as senior counsel for the United States before the international tribunal at Paris to adjust the Bering Sea controversy. His closing argument, requiring eleven days for its delivery, was an exhaustive review of the case.

Phelps lectured on medical jurisprudence at the University of Vermont in 1881-1883, and on constitutional law at Boston University in 1882-1883, and delivered numerous addresses, among them that on “The United States Supreme Court and the Sovereignty of the People” at the centennial celebration of the Federal Judiciary in 1890 and an oration at the dedication of the Bennington Battle Monument, unveiled in 1891 at the centennial of Vermont’s admission to the Union.

In politics Phelps was always Conservative, opposing the anti-slavery movement before 1860, the free-silver movement in 1896 when he supported the Republican presidential ticket, and after 1898 became an ardent ” anti-expansionist.” He died at New Haven, Connecticut, on the 9th of March 1900.

US Passport Legation London

Though a man of proved capacity and scholarship, and of a wide and distinguished reputation as a lawyer, when President Cleveland, in 1885, appointed him minister to Great Britain he was not widely known outside of his profession so that the appointment occasioned surprise. Its wisdom was amply justified. He proved an exceedingly competent, acceptable, and successful representative of the United States, and as a minister was very popular abroad, and sincerely respected by the more discriminating of his own countrymen. He, and his wife as well, during their stay in London, contributed in a very important degree to the work in which Mr. Lowell had preceded him, and which Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Bayard continued, of bringing the British and the American peoples into more cordial and sympathetic relations. It is on the marked success of his career in London that Mr. Phelps ‘s reputation as a public man chiefly rests. That success was attained by very solid qualities, of learning and character, joined to attractive personal traits, sound judgment as to men and the merits of disputed questions, and social gifts of unusual charm. US Passport Legation London

Beautiful US Passport 1886, Legation London With Several Russian Visa

Beautiful US Passport 1886, Legation London With Several Russian Visa

US Passport Legation London

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...