Stories from the Collection

Artifacts are powerful storytelling tools which will shed light on the work and history of our nation’s diplomats that may otherwise go unnoticed by the general public. At over 8,000 items, the collection reflects a wide range of people, places, and issues that make up our nation’s rich diplomatic history. Here is a spotlight on a few of the stories the items in our collection tell.

Top front of passport
Passport Travels: Meyer Franklin Kline, globetrotting guidebook editor
Passport Travels: Meyer Franklin Kline, globetrotting guidebook editor 1024 480

Have a case of wanderlust? As you take a look at this passport from the museum’s collection, join Meyer Franklin Kline and his wife Mildred Kline as they travelled the world in 1915 and 1916. The Klines, originally from California, planned to travel to Russia, China, Japan, India, the Straits Settlements, and Great Britain, “representing…

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About glifaa
About glifaa 150 150

glifaa–then known as Gays and Lebians in Foreign Affairs Agencies (then GLIFAA) was born in the living room of David Buss and David Larson on March 8, 1992 over brunch. The need for creating an employee organization was firmly established at this first meeting. Although there has been great progress in terms of achieving equality…

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U.S. Ambassador Prudence Bushnell, center, is helped by unidentified men, as she is evacuated from the area of the U.S. Embassy following an explosion in downtown Nairobi, Friday, Aug. 7, 1998. Terrorist bombs exploded minutes apart outside the U.S. embassies in both Kenya and Tanzania Friday, killing more than 67 people, injuring 1,100 and turning buildings into mountains of shattered concrete. At least eight Americans were among the dead in Kenya and seven more were missing, U.S. Embassy spokesman Chris Scharf said. Bushnell, was cut on the lip and helped from Cooperative Bank House, near the embassy, where she had just given a news conference, embassy spokesman Bill Barr said.
Ambassador Bushnell: A Profile in Resilience
Ambassador Bushnell: A Profile in Resilience 1024 728

Woman’s suit worn by U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Prudence Bushnell, 1998. Gift of U.S. Ambassador Prudence Bushnell I was determined that we were going to get through this as a community even if as individuals we staggered and stumbled now and then.” —U.S. Ambassador Prudence Bushnell On August 7, 1998, at 10:30 AM, U.S. embassies…

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Portrait of Dudley
The Legacy of Edward R. Dudley: Civil Rights Activist and the First African American Ambassador
The Legacy of Edward R. Dudley: Civil Rights Activist and the First African American Ambassador 686 386

The Legacy of Edward R. Dudley: Civil Rights Activist and the First African American Ambassador We think we opened the door and stopped this kind of discrimination. Ambassador Edward R. Dudley Ambassador Edward R. Dudley (right) with Liberian President William Tubman, c.1949.   Collection of the National Museum of American Diplomacy. Gift of Edward R.…

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Passport Travels: Myriam Johnston, U.S. Information Agency Officer
Passport Travels: Myriam Johnston, U.S. Information Agency Officer 150 150

Passport Travels: Myriam Johnston, U.S. Information Agency Officer Spurred by a desire to see the world, Myriam Johnston joined the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) in 1955. President Eisenhower had established USIA in 1953 in a concentrated effort to engage directly with foreign publics to advance understanding of American policies and culture. USIA played a key…

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Photo of Lucys Briggs Passport
Passport Travels: Lucy Barnard Briggs, diplomatic spouse
Passport Travels: Lucy Barnard Briggs, diplomatic spouse 1024 785

The pages in the passport that include appended photos of Ellis and Lucy’s son (left) and daughter (right). Lucy Barnard Briggs used this passport in our collection for more than 12 years to travel the world. Shortly after her marriage to American diplomat Ellis O. Briggs in May 1928, Lucy received this diplomatic passport and…

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Richard Solomon, a China scholar and diplomat, during a period of “Ping-Pong diplomacy.” Here he is pictured with Zhuang Zedong in 1972. (Solomon Family Photo)
Ping Pong Diplomacy
Ping Pong Diplomacy 1024 614

Inscribed Ping Pong PaddleGift of Zhuang Zedong to Dr. Henry Kissinger | 2007. Collection of the National Museum of American Diplomacy I was as surprised as I was pleased. I had never expected that the China initiative would come to fruition in the form of a ping-pong team.” President Richard Nixon Chinese ping pong player…

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Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering
Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering 150 150

Welcoming Ambassador Pickering as the Chairman of the Diplomacy Center Foundation Board of Directors The National Museum of American Diplomacy is honored to welcome Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering as the Chairman of the Diplomacy Center Foundation Board of Directors. The Diplomacy Center Foundation (DCF) is the State Department’s private, nonprofit fundraising partner for the museum.…

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Philip C. Habib is shown speaking as chief negotiator for the United States at the Peace Talks between the U.S. and North Vietnam in Paris, France, 1970.
Philip Habib: America’s Diplomat
Philip Habib: America’s Diplomat 1024 853

Philip Habib: America’s Diplomat Born to parents who immigrated to the United States from Lebanon, Philip C. Habib grew up in New York and joined the Foreign Service in 1949. Habib became a renowned diplomat over his 30+ year career, first for his service and expertise in Southeast Asia — including a prominent role in…

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Patti Morton Meritorius Honor Award
In Memoriam: Patricia Anne (Patti) Morton
In Memoriam: Patricia Anne (Patti) Morton 1024 785

May 30, 1935 – October 16, 2019 (age 84) The first female Diplomatic Security special agent As the first female Diplomatic Security special agent, Patti Morton was very aware of the legacy she would leave for women.  The staff of the National Museum of American Diplomacy was saddened to learn of the passing of Patricia…

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Freed hostage Bruce Laingen makes ?V? signs as he steps from the first of four planes carrying the freed hostages from West Point, N.Y., to their official welcome in Washington on Tuesday, Jan. 27, 1981 at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. Laingen was the charge d?affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Iran.
Veterans in Diplomatic Service: L. Bruce Laingen, 1922-2019
Veterans in Diplomatic Service: L. Bruce Laingen, 1922-2019 1024 676

We salute our nation’s veterans! An estimated 7,100 military veterans serve our nation in diplomatic capacities at the Department of State. Throughout our nation’s history, the branches of the military and the Department of State have worked closely together to promote our national security and protect Americans at home and abroad. Building upon this partnership,…

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Items from the Secretary's office donated to National museum of american diplomacy
Madam Secretary Artifacts in the National Museum of American Diplomacy Collection
Madam Secretary Artifacts in the National Museum of American Diplomacy Collection 1000 668

Madam Secretary Artifacts in the National Museum of American Diplomacy Collection In 2019, the National Museum of American Diplomacy (NMAD) was pleased to receive a donation of set and prop items from the beloved CBS television show Madam Secretary. CBS Television Studios, Revelations Entertainment, and the show’s creators Barbara Hall, Lori McCreary, and Morgan Freeman…

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White empty new storage facility with racks
New collection storage facility completed
New collection storage facility completed 1024 768

The Diplomacy Center’s collection has a new home following completion of a custom designed 2,00  square foot museum storage space. This new space represents a significant upgrade in storage capacity, access, and preservation capabilities for the Center’s unique 8,500+ item collection —  and the only museum collection in the nation focused on preserving our diplomatic…

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Chronicle of Freedom
Chronicle of Freedom 150 150

This original August 3, 1789 issue of The Independent Gazetteer or the Chronicle of Freedom provides notice of and complete text of the July 27, 1789 act establishing the Department of Foreign Affairs. This legislation enacted what is the core law for the Department of State today. The original Department of Foreign Affairs (with the…

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Edward Dudley Jr. and Diplomacy Center Associate Curator Katie Speckat discuss items in his father’s diplomatic collection.
Archival Collection of the First African American Ambassador Comes to the National Museum of American Diplomacy
Archival Collection of the First African American Ambassador Comes to the National Museum of American Diplomacy 1024 768

We think we opened the door and stopped this kind of discrimination. Ambassador Edward R. Dudley In 1949, Edward R. Dudley became the first African American to hold the rank of ambassador. Ambassador Dudley’s son, Edward Jr., has donated his father’s extensive archival collection from his time serving as the head of the U.S. mission…

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Passport, Diplomacy Center, Rufus King
Piracy and Passports: How American merchants protected themselves from capture and enslavement
Piracy and Passports: How American merchants protected themselves from capture and enslavement 633 181

May 13 marks the 218th anniversary of President Thomas Jefferson ordering U.S. naval vessels to stop Barbary interference with American trade in the Mediterranean. Jefferson’s decision to use force against the Barbary nations of Algiers and Tripoli (semi-autonomous Ottoman Empire states) came after 15 years of negotiations and the Americans’ refusal to continue paying monetary…

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Crowd of soldiers walk by citizens in a black and white photo with Austrian Alps in background
Medal of Freedom
Medal of Freedom 1024 811

The Consulate General had its windows and doors blown in or out several times, and all of us had narrow escapes, but no one was actually hit, a miracle in view of the thousands of flying and rocket bombs directed our way. We owe our lives to Divine intervention and to the efficiency of the…

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in a case, items from the NATO treaty and accession instruments
Commemorating 70 years of the North Atlantic Treaty
Commemorating 70 years of the North Atlantic Treaty 1024 574

In 1949, the United States, Canada, and several Western European nations created the North Atlantic Treaty, to provide collective security against the Soviet Union.  April 3, 2019 marked 70 years of a strategic military alliance among the signatories of the North Atlantic Treaty. Secretary Mike Pompeo, with the 30 Foreign Ministers of the signatory countries,…

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Photograph of Wolfgang J. Lehmann (far left) in Austria in the early 1950s, sitting with former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt (far right) and fellow embassy staff member B.J. McGuigan (center) for a press conference.
Evacuation under pressure
Evacuation under pressure 1024 688

Wolfgang J. Lehmann served as a Foreign Service Officer from 1951 to 1983, experiencing significant events in diplomatic history during the cold war era. The Diplomacy Center recently collected several artifacts representing his distinguished career that spanned eight presidential administrations. Lehmann’s Foreign Service assignments included: Political Officer U.S. Embassy Vienna; supervisor of the U.S. Refugee…

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Old photograph of Washington DC bridge and crowd
The Embassy Presence in Washington D.C.
The Embassy Presence in Washington D.C. 976 710

by Priscilla R. Linn Finding embassies on a map of Washington, D.C. is a relatively straightforward task. They lie in northwest quadrant of one of the smallest capitals in the world, often lining up along (or close to) the avenues that city planner Pierre L’Enfant drew up over 200 years ago. Other locations in Washington,…

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Patti Morton stands smiling next to Diplomacy Center Mary Kane
Director’s Note: A Conversation with “Pistol Packin’ Patti”
Director’s Note: A Conversation with “Pistol Packin’ Patti” 1024 658

Patti Morton (1935 – 2019), pictured right, is presented with a Meritorious Step Increase award by Chief of Mission Hank Cohen in Kinshasa, 1968. Morton received this award for the excellent quality of her work as post security officer, which she took on in addition to her regular duties as secretary to the Administrative Counselor.…

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Document of Martin Van Buren's Secretary of State Commission
Signed by President Jackson, and Hamilton’s son
Signed by President Jackson, and Hamilton’s son 1024 765

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…

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U.S. Special Passport Issued to Sheldon Whitehouse (Sr) 1914
A very “special” passport
A very “special” passport 836 1024

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…

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United States flag and pole
A Symbol and an Inspiration
A Symbol and an Inspiration 640 386

This flag graced the office of Colonel Ron Roughead, Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office in Kenya, at U.S. Embassy Nairobi. On August 7, 1998, in coordinated attacks by al Qaeda terrorists, U.S. Embassies Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, were devastated by car bombs. Embassy Nairobi and the surrounding neighborhood suffered extensive damage and…

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Ambassador Dubs in Afghanistan holding flag
“I would rather sacrifice my life…”
“I would rather sacrifice my life…” 1024 750

Letter from Ambassador Adolph Dubs to his daughter Lindsay March 3, 1973. This letter was donated to the NMAD collection from Lindsay in 2018. 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…

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Diplomacy Center exhibit cases of Nuclear Arms including flags, artifacts, and information
Spotlight On: Nuclear Risk Reduction
Spotlight On: Nuclear Risk Reduction 1024 768

In October 2018, the National Museum of American Diplomacy hosted a spotlight on the Nuclear Risk Reduction Center. These included several of our artifacts, including: Cruise missile wing tip mounted to plaque Gift from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Delegation (INF Delegation) This wing tip was once part of a ground launched cruise missile which was eliminated at Davis…

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Sports Diplomacy
Sports Diplomacy 150 150

What do sports have to do with diplomacy? People are at the heart of diplomacy. The U.S. Department of State engages youth, students, educators, artists, athletes, and rising leaders around the world and the United States through many types of exchange programs, striving to reflect the diversity of the U.S. and the global society. Sports…

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Gift Exchange
Gift Exchange 150 150

What type of gifts do Secretaries of State receive? Secretaries of State receive wide variety gifts from many foreign officials and private citizens around the world. Gift giving is an age-old diplomatic tradition and is a common ceremonial aspect of diplomatic visits. Oftentimes, the gift reflects the tastes and personality of the giver. The gift…

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Global Issues
Global Issues 150 150

What do a fire helmet, a missile launcher, and a Carnival costume have to do with diplomacy? Each of these items represents a global issue that shapes the practice of diplomacy today. U.S. diplomats serve our nation by securing peace, increasing prosperity, promoting democracy, and sustaining development efforts worldwide, benefiting Americans at home. In practice,…

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#AskACurator
#AskACurator 150 150

Ever wonder what kind objects we use to tell the story of American diplomacy at the National Museum of American Diplomacy? Don’t wonder, ask our curator! For the first time in our museum’s history, we’ll be answering your questions about our collection. Between 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM EDT on September 12, 2018, tweet us questions about…

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Remembrance, Reflection, Resilience
Remembrance, Reflection, Resilience 150 150

Remembrance, Reflection, Resilience Twenty years ago on a summer morning, two U.S. embassies in Africa fell victim to coordinated and nearly simultaneous truck bombs – later linked to the terrorist organization Al-Qaeda. Fifty-six U.S. government employees, contractors, and family members were killed. From the ashes, countless survivors pulled together and rebuilt strengthened and resilient communities.…

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A Passport Without A Photo
A Passport Without A Photo 150 150

Before affixed photographs were required in 1914, applicants swore “solemnly and sincerely” to be U.S. citizens and identified themselves by facial features, hair, eye, and complexion color. This is one of the oldest passports in our collection from 1859-belonging to Samuel Waller (1824-1864). A New York City dry goods importer, Waller traveled frequently to Europe…

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Embassies as Safe Houses
Embassies as Safe Houses 150 150

Cardinal Jozsef Mindszenty was the highest Catholic official in Hungary in the mid-20th century, and a vociferous opponent of communism.  After WWII, as the Soviet Union’s political influence extended through Eastern Europe, Mindszenty was tried, convicted of treason in 1949, and sentenced to life in prison.  He was released in 1956 during a political reform movement,…

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Collection
Collection 150 150

2018 Collections Highlight 7 photos This flag graced the office of Colonel Ron Roughead, Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office in Kenya, at U.S. Embassy Nairobi. On August 7, 1998, in coordinated attacks by al Qaeda terrorists, U.S. Embassies Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, were devastated by car bombs. Embassy Nairobi and the surrounding…

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Camp David, Diplomacy Center, Carter
Camp David Accords
Camp David Accords 850 663

On September 17, 1978, the Camp David Peace Accords were signed by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. President Jimmy Carter facilitated the long negotiations at the presidential retreat in Maryland in 1978. The talks represented the importance of diplomacy and paved the way for the March 26, 1979 signing of a…

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Dayton Peace Accords
Dayton Peace Accords 150 150

December 14 marks the 22nd anniversary of the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords in Paris, France. For 21 days in November, Secretary of State Warren Christopher and Assistant Secretary of State for Canadian and European Affairs Richard Holbrooke led negotiations with the Presidents from Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina at Wright-Patterson Airforce Base in Dayton,…

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his 1798 passport is the oldest in our collection. It was issued to wealthy Bostonian David Hinckley.
Passports for Protection
Passports for Protection 676 1024

American passport = protection. This 1798 passport is the oldest in our collection.  It was issued to wealthy Bostonian David Hinckley. The story behind this early passport is quite interesting. Americans did not need a passport to travel abroad, yet many nations required proof of U.S. citizenship to exit their country. Many Americans “passed” through a “port” like David Hinckley did as part…

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