This is the diplomatic passport of U.S. Army Air Corps Lt. Col. Robert Alan Zaiser of Burlington, a 1938 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, a senior B-26 bomber pilot during World War II (17th Bombardment Group), and commanding officer of Muroc Flight Test Base (Later renamed Edwards Air Force Base) in California at the dawn of jet flight. Gold Star recipient. Born on August 29, 1914 – he died in a C-45 plane crash on February 13, 1947. Diplomatic Passport WWII Bomber-Pilot
During World War II, his wife Marion Llewellyn Brown Zaiser (Snider) was an airplane spotter and weather observer and led the Junior American Red Cross. They married in 1939. The United States Foreign Service List records Zaiser as Military Air Attache in Greece in Sep. 1945 and in Prague, Czechoslovakia, in 1946 (see pictures).
His son was Major Alan Robert Zaiser, born on January 17, 1942. Graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, CO, with a B.S degree and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Air Force in 1964. After graduation, he completed Basic and Advanced Flight School at Moody Air Force Base at Valdosta, GA, and paratroop training at Ft. Benning, GA. Flew KC-135s in the Strategic Air Command at Kincheloe Air Force Base in Kinross, MI, from 1965 to 1967. Then transferred to the Tactical Air Command and was a Forward Air Controller in O-1s, O-2s, and OV-10s in Vietnam in 1967 and 1968. He flew A26-s in Special Operations in 1969, with 499 combat missions, and earned two Distinguished Flying Crosses, 29 Air Combat Medals, and two Purple Hearts during the Vietnam War. Upon returning to the United States, stationed at Hurlburt Field at Ft. Walton Beach, FL, from 1970 to 1973, he served at MacDill Air Force Base at Tampa, FL, until he retired from the Air Force in 1984. Major Alan Robert Zaiser (formerly Alan Llewellyn Zaiser, 79, a career United States Air Force Officer, died in St. Petersburg, FL, on July 21, 2021, of natural causes. Diplomatic Passport WWII Bomber-Pilot
A fantastic and rare document of a WWII Pilot and notable USAF career officer with Gold Star honors, issued on Sep 21, 1945, by the Chief of the Passport Division – Ruth .B. Shipley herself (original signature in blue ink). Shipley was a legend and led the passport office for 27 years, from 1928 to 1955.
There are several diplomatic/consular visas. Greece, France, Czechoslovakia, Italy, American Foreign Service in Athens, and Switzerland. 20 of 48 pages with entries.
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?
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 😉
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...