Thursday, March 3, 2016

Treasure Chest Thursday: Emma La Forêt's Emergency Passport

Last week I posted Emma la Forêt's application for an emergency passport to leave Europe in 1917.  This week we get to see the passport itself (yes, this is the real thing!).  It is a buff-colored 12" x 17 1/4" piece of paper, watermarked with the seal of the U.S. Department of State.  It has three impressed seals and one rubber-stamped seal of the American Embassy in Paris, France on the front.  On the back, there are, in succession, an impressed seal of the American Consulate in Algiers, Algeria; a rubber-stamped seal of the Département d'Alger Sûreté Départementale (Algeria Regional Police); an impressed seal of the American Consulate in Marseilles, France; a rubber-stamped seal from the Commissariat in Marseille, but I can't read most of it; and a rubber-stamped seal from the Ministère de l'Interieure (Minister of the Interior) in Bordeaux, France.  As usual, I have underlined the information that was entered onto the preprinted form.

-- >< -- >< -- >< -- >< --

Photo of Emma and Rosita                          This document expires Dec 14. 1917 unless
E. La Foret [signature]                                 renewed.  The holder has applied to the
[impressed Paris Embassy seal]                   Department of State for a regular passport
[rubber stamp of Paris Embassy seal]
Good only for
six months from date.

                                                                  The person to whom this passport is issued
                    printed Great Seal                 has declared under oath that he desires it for
                    of the United States              use in visiting the countries hereinafter named,
                                                                  for the following objects:
                                                                  Algeria  (name of country)    Residence (object of visit)
                                                                  France  (name of country)    en route (object of visit)
                                                                  ———  (name of country)    United (object of visit)
                                                                  ———  (name of country)     States (object of visit)
This passport is not valid for use in other countries
except for necessary transit to or from the countries
named, unless amended by an American
diplomatic or principal consular officer.

of the
United States of America,
    Paris, France   
To all to whom these presents shall come, Greeting;
The undersigned Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
of the United States of America,
hereby request all whom it may concern to permit
— Emma La Forêt — ———
Description                                                  a Citizen of the United States accompanied
Age 50 Years ______                                   by her minor child Rosita safely
Stature 5 Feet 7 Inches Eng.                       and freely to pass and in case of need to give
Forehead   high                                             them all lawful Aid and Protection.
Eyes     blue grey   
Nose    regular                                                            Given under my hand and the
Mouth    medium                                                         Seal of the Embassy of the
Chin    round                              [impressed                        United States
Hair    dark brown                         Paris                       at   Paris, France    
Complexion    fair                       Embassy                   the  14th  day of September
Face    oval                                    seal]                       in the year 1917 and of the
                                                                                     Independence of the United States
                                                                                     the one hundred and forty second
Signature of the Bearer.
  Emma La Foret.   [signature]

CANCELED [rubber stamped diagonally]

No. 1704
Wm G. Sharp [signature]

-- >< -- >< -- >< -- >< --

                     October 4, 1917.
~~~~~~            A. C. Frost [signature]
  BON           Consul of the United
                      States of America.
Service No. 214
(No fee)
[impressed           I hereby certify that
Algerian              the bearer of this
Consulate            passport is the wife
seal]                    of Jean L. La Forêt
                           Vice Consul of the
                            United States of
                            America at Algiers,
                                 A. C. Frost [signature]
                                 Consul of the
                    United States of America.

No 3454.
Vu à la PRÉFECTURE d'Alger
Bon pour se rendre = en Amérique
via Marseille - Bordeaux - New. York
Objet du voyage = rentre dans son pays.

Alger, le 4 Octobre 1917
Le Chef de la Sûreté Départementale délégué.
Algeria Regional Police                Imaranos(?) [signature]

BON  Consulat Général des États - Unis
          d'Amérique à Marseille, France.
          Vu le 9th of October 1917
          Le Consul Général des États- Unis
No fee
Service No. 838.                  John Q.(?) Moody(?) [signature]

VU [illegible]
Marseille, le 9 [illegible] 1917.
Giraud(?) [signature]

[illegible] la Préfecture
                  VU au départ pour les
Marseille, le 9/10/17    Etats-Unis
[rubber-stamped      Pour le Préfet           via Bordeaux
Marseille                 et par délégation
Commissariat          Le Commissaire Spécial
seal]                              Morelli(?) [signature]

VU pour se rendre à New. York
Bordeaux, le 12/10/ 1917 .
La Commissaire Spécial délégué.
[illegible signature]
Minister of the Interior

-- >< -- >< -- >< -- >< --

Wow!  I think this passport is very cool, and I am lucky to have it, even if it isn't for a member of my own family.  It's fairly straightforward; most of the information came directly from the passport application Emma submitted September 7.  It was processed very quickly, being dated September 14 in Paris.

The two sentences that were struck through on the front of the passport were probably for standard emergency passport procedures.  As Emma seemingly did not plan to travel again, they were not relevant for her.

The back of the passport has the same types of stamps that one might see in a passport today, and we can see Emma and Rosita's route from Algeria to Marseille to Bordeaux to New York.  I wish I could read the French signatures better, but c'est la vie!

My guess is that the "Canceled" stamp was put on the passport after Emma and Rosita arrived in New York.  As there is no date by the stamp, however, that is only a guess.

I have noticed that Emma consistently does not use the accent on Forêt.  (I wonder if that bothered Jean?)  As the passport was processed in Paris, I'm not surprised that they did include it.

When I received this gift of documents, the passport was folded and in the envelope in which it appears to have been sent:

This is pretty easy to read, so I won't transcribe it, but in the upper-right corner is a note in pencil:

Left Alger Oct 7/17

This was the only part of Emma and Rosita's trip not present on the passport.  So they left Algeria three weeks after the passport was dated.  There's no indication when they received it.

A second notation in the upper-right corner is "103" in pen.  This isn't the passport number, and no other number on the passport matches it.  It's a mystery what it refers to.

The other item that was in the envelope was Jean La Forêt's business card:

Jean L. La Forêt
Vice Consul Américain à Alger
6, Rue Henricet                 St. Eugène (Alger)

The reason it was included was because of the handwritten note on the back:

Emma La Foret
and minor child Rosita.
Issued by Embassy of
the United States at
Paris, France, on
Sept. 14-1917, for
three months, to go
from Algiers to New
York via France.
No. 1704.
Signed = Wm. G. Sharp

This writing looks similar to that of Emma's handwritten narrative, and the name of Wm. G. Sharp bears no resemblance to the signature on the passport.  So Emma wrote a short note describing the passport, even though all of the information she wrote was included on the passport itself.  I know documentation is good, but I don't understand the purpose of her note.  On the other hand, it's nice to have one of Jean La Forêt's Vice Consul business cards.

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