Special Passport US Consul Keena
A fantastic document of US passport history – SPECIAL PASSPORT of Leo J. Keena, who is proceeding to his post as American consul in Chihuahua, Mexico in 1909. Accompanied by his wife Eleanor. The passport was issued and signed by ACTING Secretary of State Alvey Augustus Adee. Passports issued by Adee are very rare even though he held the position as Second Assistant Secretary for 38 years!
Leo Japathet Keena (April 12, 1878 – 1967) was an American football player and diplomat. Keena was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1878, the son of James T. Keena and Henrietta (Boyle) Keena. His father was a lawyer who later became the president of the Peoples State Bank of Detroit. He played college football as a fullback and kicker for the University of Michigan from 1897 to 1899. He served in the United States Navy as a seaman on the auxiliary cruiser USS Yosemite during the Spanish–American War.
After receiving his degree, he became a diplomat for the United States. He was married in August 1906 to Eleanor Clarke. Keena’s early diplomatic posts include service as U.S. Consul in Chihuahua, Mexico (1909–10), U.S. Counsel to Florence, Italy (1910–14), U.S. Consul General in Buenos Aires, Argentina (1914–15), U.S. Consul General in Valparaíso, Chile (1915–19), U.S. Consul General in Zürich, Switzerland (1919–20), U.S. Consul General in Warsaw, Poland (1920–22), U.S. Consul in Liverpool, England (1924–26), U.S. Consul General in Havana, Cuba (1927–29), and U.S. Consul General in Paris (1929–32). He was appointed by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and served as the United States Ambassador to Honduras from February 1935 to May 1937 and as United States Ambassador to South Africa from July 1937 to August 1942. Special Passport US Consul Keena
Alvey Augustus Adee (November 27, 1842 – July 4, 1924)
was a long-time official with the United States Department of State who served as the acting Secretary of State in 1898 during the Spanish–American War. He was the second of three senior State Department officials—the first being William Hunter and the third Wilbur J. Carr—whose overlapping careers provided continuity and good management in American foreign policy for over a century, from the administration of President Andrew Jackson until that of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Special Passport US Consul Keena
A native of Queens, New York City, Adee got his start in diplomacy by becoming the private secretary of Daniel Sickles, whom Adee accompanied to Madrid when Sickles was named the U.S. Minister to Spain in 1869. While in Madrid, Adee met and was befriended by John Hay, who was then the Secretary of the U.S. Legation there.
Adee stayed at the Legation in Madrid for eight years, then returned to the United States in 1877 to take a temporary secretary position in Washington, D.C. with the State Department. A year later, he was named the Chief of the department’s Diplomatic Bureau. In 1882, he was promoted to Third Assistant Secretary, and in 1886, he was promoted again to Second Assistant Secretary, a position he held until his death 38 years later. Special Passport US Consul Keena
The apex of Adee’s career came during the Spanish–American War in 1898. The Secretary of State, John Sherman, was old and in poor health, and the Assistant Secretary of State, William R. Day, was inexperienced in diplomacy, which meant that Adee, as the third-ranking officer in the department, effectively supervised U.S. diplomacy during a war. In September of that year, with both Sherman and Day having left the department, Adee became acting Secretary of State in name as well as fact for two weeks, until John Hay returned from England to take over as the new Secretary.
Adee was again in effective charge of the State Department during the Boxer Rebellion in 1900, because Hay was ill and the Assistant Secretary David Jayne Hill was away from Washington. After 1909, Adee’s influence (and health) steadily waned, though he was allowed to remain as Second Assistant Secretary. He continued to work until his death.
Adee never married and fathered no children. He was well known for his annual summer bicycling trips through Europe, which he continued until the outbreak of the First World War, and on which he was usually accompanied by Alexander Montgomery Thackara, American consul general at Berlin and later Paris, and his wife Eleanor, daughter of General William Tecumseh Sherman.
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...