ADAMS, Charles Francis, (son of John Quincy Adams, grandson of John Adams), A Representative from Massachusetts; born in Boston, Mass., August 18, 1807; spent several years with his parents in St. Petersburg, Russia; attended the Boston Latin School, and was graduated from Harvard University in 1825; studied law; was admitted to the bar on January 6, 1829, and commenced practice in Boston; member of the Massachusetts house of representatives 1841-1843; member of the Massachusetts state senate 1844-1845; founded the newspaper Boston Whig in 1846; unsuccessful candidate of the Free-Soil Party for Vice President of the United States in 1848; elected as a Republican to the Thirty-sixth and Thirty-seventh Congresses and served from March 4, 1859, to May 1, 1861, when he resigned to accept a diplomatic position; chairman, Committee on Manufactures (Thirty-sixth Congress); appointed by President Lincoln as Minister to England and served from March 20, 1861, to May 13, 1868; declined the presidency of Harvard University but became one of its overseers in 1869; died in Boston, Mass., November 21, 1886; interment in Mount Wollaston Cemetery, Quincy, Norfolk County, Mass. Charles Francis Adams Passport
As the Civil War broke out, President Abraham Lincoln appointed Charles Francis Adams (CFA) (1807-1886), the third son of John.
Quincy and Louisa Catherine (Johnson) Adams, to the position of minister to the Court of St. James’s, previously held by his father and grandfather, John Adams. Charles Francis Adams served as a Republican U.S. House of Representatives member from 1858 until 1861. Along with his wife, Abigail Brooks Adams, and their kids, Brooks, Henry, and Mary, CFA sailed from East Boston on May 1, 1861. Charles Francis Adams Passport
CFA and his family arrived in London on the same day that Great Britain recognized the Confederacy as a belligerent. He was immediately responsible for upholding British neutrality and avoiding the development of Southern sympathies at the Court of St. James’s. CFA found court life uncomfortable despite his cosmopolitan upbringing (he spent many of his early years traveling on diplomatic missions with his father). Nevertheless, he crossed paths with a veritable who’s-who, including Charles Dickens, Lord Russell, the former and current Prime Minister, and Prince Albert. Charles Francis Adams Passport
These diaries, which follow CFA from January 1861 to April 1865, are a remarkable resource that hasn’t been fully utilized up to this point. They provide a foreign-based American perspective on the Civil War and insights into CFA’s adamant antislavery beliefs, his fascinating, convoluted view of President Lincoln, and his ambivalence toward Reconstruction. The Adams Family Papers at the Massachusetts Historical Society include CFA’s manuscript diaries. For more information, consult the collection guide. Charles Francis Adams 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?
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...