German Passport 1646 – Duchess of Hesse

german passport duchess 1646

german passport duchess 1646Very rare and early identification document from the final phase of the Thirty Years’ War for a duke’s messenger to Eisleben and Herringen, which probably was responsible for conveying the princely annual Christmas post. – On the lower right corner is a note found on the disbursement of wages messengers (27 guilders) of 30 Januar 1647th – Anna Eleanor, daughter of the Landgrave Ludwig V of Hesse-Darmstadt (1577-1626), later married 1617 George, Duke of Brunswick and Lüneburg (1582-1641). german passport duchess 1646

The marriage, in which a multiplicity of royal personages in Darmstadt were present, was celebrated very complex. His marriage to Anna Eleanor had a significant influence on the politics of George in the Hesse war of houses Darmstadt and Kassel to Hesse-Marburg. George knew the excellent relations of his father’s house to use for themselves. Anna Eleanor had with her father an extensive correspondence of a political nature.

The duke secured in his will that his wife Anna Eleanor, next to his brother and his brother, will be the guardian of their sons. The paternal her house devoted widow gave her brother Johann takes the command of the Brunswick-Lüneburg troops. Anna Eleanor lived until her death in her widow’s residence Schloss Herzberg where all their children were born. Anna Eleanor was buried in the royal crypt in St. Mary’s Church in Celle. german passport duchess 1646

Anna Eleonore ruled the duchy from her widow’s seat at Herzberg Castle, known as the cradle of the English royal family (House of Hanover), since Anna Eleonore gave birth there to the Elector of Hanover, Ernst August, father of the English King George I.


Reisepass aus dem Dreißigjährigen Krieg
ANNA ELEONORE v. Hessen-Darmstadt (1601-1659), Herzogin von Braunschweig-Lüneburg. Passierschein mit eigh. U. u. schwarzem Lacksiegel, Herzberg, 18. Dezember 1646. Dt. Handschrift auf Papier, c. 20 x 32 cm, 1 S.

Sehr frühes und seltenes Ausweisdokument aus der Endphase des Dreißigjährigen Krieges für einen herzoglichen Boten nach Heringen und Eisleben, dem vermutlich die Überbringung der alljährlichen fürstlichen Weihnachtspost oblag. – An der rechten unteren Ecke findet sich ein Vermerk über die Auszahlung des Botenlohns (27 Gulden) vom 30. Januar 1647. – Anna Eleonore, Tochter des Landgrafen Ludwig V. von Hessen-Darmstadt (1577–1626), ehelichte 1617 den späteren Herzog Georg von Braunschweig und Lüneburg (1582-1641). Nach dessen Tod regierte Anna Eleonore das Herzogtum von ihrem Witwensitz Schloss Herzberg, das als Wiege des englischen Königshauses (Haus Hannover) bekannt ist, da Anna Eleonore dort den Kurfürsten von Hannover, Ernst August, Vater des englischen Königs Georg I., gebar. german passport duchess 1646

Original German Text german passport duchess 1646
„Von Gottes Gnaden Anna Eleonora, Herzogin zu Braunschweig und Lüneburg, gebohrene Landgräfin zue Hessen, Wittib, etc. Demnach wir gegenwertigen unsern Botten Jacob Bierwirth naher Heringen und Eisleben abgefertiget haben, So ersuchen wir jedermenniglichen Standes gepüer nach, hiemit denselben aller endts frey sicher undt, ungehindert passiren und repassiren undt ihm allen guten beförderlichen Willen zeigen und widerfahren zu lassen. Urkuntlich unseres fürstlichen Handtzeichens undt Secrets. Geben uff unser Witthumbs Residentz Herzbergh am 18. Decembris anno 1646“ german passport duchess 1646


Anna_Eleonore_v_Hessen-Darmstadt_18_Dez 1646 Passierschein
The oldest document in my collection and 370+ years old!


incl. FREE guideline!

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...