US Passport 1900 issued at the Embassy in Paris

US passport embassy Paris

Ambassador in Paris was then Horace Porter (Appointed: March 19, 1897. Presentation of Credentials: May 26, 1897. Termination of Mission: Presented recall on May 2, 1905).

US Passport Embassy Paris 1900

Porter was not only an Ambassador in Paris but also an important figure of the American Civil War!
US passport embassy Paris

Brigadier General Horace Porter was born in Pennsylvania on April 15, 1837, and graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1860 as a Brevet Second Lieutenant of Ordnance.

He served as Secretary to President Grant from 1869 to 1873. General Porter distinguished himself in combat several times during the War Between the States and on June 26, 1902, he was awarded the Medal of Honor for gallantry at Chickamauga, Georgia on September 20, 1863.

General Porter rallied enough soldiers to hold the ground at a critical moment when the lines were broken under heavy fire – long enough to facilitate the escape of numerous wagon trains and firing batteries. He was awarded five brevets for gallantry and rose to the grade of brevet brigadier general in 1865. US passport embassy Paris

He was promoted lieutenant colonel and later colonel of volunteers, and later served as aide-de-camp to Generals Grant and Sherman from 1864 to 1873. He was briefly assistant Secretary of War in 1869.

General Porter resigned from service on December 31, 1873, to become the Vice President of the Pullman Car Company. Following his retirement, he served for many years as a railway executive and was active in politics.

He was U.S. Ambassador to France from 1897 to 1905 and was personally responsible for locating the remains of Admiral John Paul Jones in a Paris cemetery and arranging for their return to the United States. For this service, he has voted the thanks of Congress and the privileges of the floor of both houses for life. He died on May 27, 1921.


US passport embassy Paris
US passport, Paris 1900, signed by Horace Porter

US passport embassy Paris

US Passport 1796 David Humphreys

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...