Our Collection

NMAD's artifact collection is unique to the nation. At over 9,000 items, the collection reflects a wide range of people, places, and issues that make up our nation's rich diplomatic history. Collecting efforts are ongoing as we build a world-class collection.

Collection

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Fan, Postcard, and Photographs from the George W. Guthrie Collection 1913-1917
Fan A dinner party gift to Florence Guthrie during Coronation week celebrations. Postcard A commemorative postcard celebrating the coronation of the Emperor Taisho in November 1915. Photographs Portraits of Ambassador George Guthrie and his wife Florence on the occasion of the coronation of the Emperor Taisho. George W. Guthrie served as U.S. Ambassador to Japan (1913-1917) and as Mayor of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (1906-1909). As ambassador, he kept the U.S-Japan bilateral relationship on an even keel as war spread into Asia and the Pacific in 1914 and as President Woodrow Wilson attempted to maintain neutrality. Additional tensions with the bilateral relationship also mounted during this time. The Japanese government was extremely unhappy about the unfair treatment of Japanese immigrants in California. And the U.S. was making efforts to contain Japan's encroachment and potential economic control of territories in China. Guthrie and his wife Florence successfully managed this complex relationship, gaining high respect from the Japanese. They were invited to represent the United States at both the funeral of the Empress Dowager, widow of the Emperor Meiji, in April 1914, and the coronation of Emperor Taisho in November 1915. Guthrie unexpectedly died in March 1917 of apoplexy. The Japanese provided a warship to transport the beloved U.S. ambassador's body back to the United States. George and Florence Guthrie's great-great nephew Richard Tucker and his wife Lynne Tucker generously donated to the National Museum of American Diplomacy several remarkable artifacts representing the Guthrie's service in Japan. Gift of Lynn and Richard Tucker
Letter from Ambassador Adolph Dubs to his daughter Lindsay March 3, 1973
Adolph “Spike” Dubs was a career Foreign Service Officer and noted Soviet expert. In 1973-74 he served as charge d’affaires at Embassy Moscow, and in 1978, he was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan. On February 14, 1979, Ambassador Dubs and his driver were stopped in their car by armed militants posing as police. They overpowered both of them and forced the driver to take them to the downtown Kabul Hotel. There they held Ambassador Dubs at gunpoint and demanded the release of a political prisoner. Despite pleas from U.S. officials to keep the situation as calm as possible while they tried to negotiate the ambassador's release, Afghan and accompanying Soviet officials hastily mounted a heavily armed rescue attempt. Ambassador Dubs was assassinated during the attempted rescue. The exact identity and motive of these kidnappers still remains a mystery. Ambassador Dubs was a prolific letter writer during his diplomatic career. He kept in close contact with his daughter Lindsay who was in her 20s during this time. He opened his correspondence with "My Dearest Lindsay," and relayed details of his official duties, conversations, and trips to local sites. He also dispensed fatherly advice, concern, and encouragement - all communicating how much he loved and missed her. Six years prior to Dubs’ assassination, U.S. Ambassador to Sudan Cleo Noel was kidnapped and assassinated by a terrorist group. Ambassador Dubs wrote to Lindsay on March 3, 1973, and included his thoughts about this tragedy. His words sadly predicted the same situation in which he would find himself in Kabul. He wrote: “...we cannot afford to give in to the ransom demands made by thugs who direct such organizations as the Black September Group. I personally don't like to think of being any kind of a martyr; but if I were ever taken in a situation such as that which occurred in Khartoum, I would want Washington to understand that I would rather sacrifice my life than to have someone capitulate to the demands of terrorists." The next time a U.S. ambassador was killed at post was in 2012, with the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens in Benghazi, Libya. Gift of Adolph Dubs' Daughter, Lindsay
Letter from Ambassador Adolph Dubs to his daughter Lindsay March 3, 1973
Adolph “Spike” Dubs was a career Foreign Service Officer and noted Soviet expert. In 1973-74 he served as charge d’affaires at Embassy Moscow, and in 1978, he was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan. On February 14, 1979, Ambassador Dubs and his driver were stopped in their car by armed militants posing as police. They overpowered both of them and forced the driver to take them to the downtown Kabul Hotel. There they held Ambassador Dubs at gunpoint and demanded the release of a political prisoner. Despite pleas from U.S. officials to keep the situation as calm as possible while they tried to negotiate the ambassador's release, Afghan and accompanying Soviet officials hastily mounted a heavily armed rescue attempt. Ambassador Dubs was assassinated during the attempted rescue. The exact identity and motive of these kidnappers still remains a mystery. Ambassador Dubs was a prolific letter writer during his diplomatic career. He kept in close contact with his daughter Lindsay who was in her 20s during this time. He opened his correspondence with "My Dearest Lindsay," and relayed details of his official duties, conversations, and trips to local sites. He also dispensed fatherly advice, concern, and encouragement - all communicating how much he loved and missed her. Six years prior to Dubs’ assassination, U.S. Ambassador to Sudan Cleo Noel was kidnapped and assassinated by a terrorist group. Ambassador Dubs wrote to Lindsay on March 3, 1973, and included his thoughts about this tragedy. His words sadly predicted the same situation in which he would find himself in Kabul. He wrote: “...we cannot afford to give in to the ransom demands made by thugs who direct such organizations as the Black September Group. I personally don't like to think of being any kind of a martyr; but if I were ever taken in a situation such as that which occurred in Khartoum, I would want Washington to understand that I would rather sacrifice my life than to have someone capitulate to the demands of terrorists." The next time a U.S. ambassador was killed at post was in 2012, with the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens in Benghazi, Libya. Gift of Adolph Dubs' Daughter, Lindsay
Martin Van Buren's Secretary of State Commission
Martin Van Buren served as the 10th U.S. Secretary of State and the 8th President of the United States. He entered politics in 1813 and served as a New York state senator, a U.S. Senator, and later as New York governor. He resigned to join President Andrew Jackson’s cabinet as U.S. Secretary of State, serving from 1829 until 1831. Following his tenure as Secretary, Van Buren was elected Vice President under Jackson (1833-1837) and then was elected President, serving until 1841. His accomplishments as Secretary of State include a settlement with Great Britain to allow trade with the British West Indies, a settlement with France gaining reparations for property seized during the Napoleonic Wars, as well as a commercial treaty with the Ottoman Empire that granted U.S. traders access to the Black Sea. Van Buren’s Secretary of State commission is one of the oldest items in the Diplomacy Center collections. James Alexander Hamilton, the third son of founding father Alexander Hamilton, was acting Secretary of State at the time and signed this commission. Even today, the acting Secretary of State signs the incoming Secretary’s commission. Historically, several people have sought the presidency either before or after serving as Secretary of State. Martin Van Buren was one of six Secretaries of State to later successfully win the presidency. This includes: Thomas Jefferson; James Madison; James Monroe; John Quincy Adams; Martin Van Buren; and James Buchanan. Gift of the Kiplinger Family
Whitehouse passport
Sheldon Whitehouse, a career Foreign Service Officer, served as U.S. Minister to Guatemala (1929-1933) and to Colombia (1933-1934). Prior to these posts, he used this Special Passport to travel to his post at the U.S. Legation for Greece and Montenegro. The passport is signed by Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan. It was issued on June 30, 1914, just as war was about to break out in Europe. Special passports were issued to prominent officials traveling on government business. They were used during most of the 19th century and into the early 20th century. The Department of State adopted a “passeport diplomatique” in 1918 for officials traveling in the diplomatic service. Starting in 1926, currently serving diplomats as well as former ambassadors were issued Diplomatic Passports. Photographs were not required on U.S. passports until December 1914, and in the case of this passport, would have been added later if the passport was first issued before this date. A description of the bearer’s physical features is also attached on the upper left front side that includes details such as the shape of his forehead and chin, and the color of his eyes and hair. Whitehouse used this passport from 1914 to 1918. It is stamped throughout, on both sides, and additional pages were attached to the right and lower sides to accommodate his many trips. Ambassador Whitehouse entered the Foreign Service in 1908, and served until 1935. His postings included American Embassies in London, Caracas, Paris (twice), Madrid, Athens and Montenegro, St. Petersburg, Stockholm, Washington DC (Chief of the Near Eastern Division), Guatemala, and Colombia. He was witness to major post-WWI efforts to secure peace in Europe. As Counselor of the U.S. Legation in Sweden in 1919, Whitehouse was a participant in the American Commission to Negotiate Peace at Paris. In 1927, as Counselor of the embassy and Charge d’Affaires in Paris, he facilitated early discussions that would result in the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928. The Whitehouse family has a long legacy of public service. Sheldon Whitehouse’s son Charles, a career FSO, served as U.S. Ambassador to Laos (1973-1975) and Thailand (1975-1978). His son-in-law Robert Orris Blake, a career FSO, served as U.S. Ambassador to Mali (1970-1973). His grandson Robert Blake Jr., a career FSO, served as U.S. Ambassador to Maldives and Sri Lanka (2006-2009), Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs (2009-2013), and U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia (2013-2016). His grandson Sheldon Whitehouse currently serves as a U.S. Senator for Rhode Island.