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19th Century U.S. Passport -- Lemuel B. Norton

A fine example of a U.S. passport from 1894. The document shows a standardized, printable form with various identifying information like the age, height, and complexion of the bearer. Notable descriptors for this passport include a description of the forehead, a "prominent" nose, and a "long" face. Across from this information is a paragraph that states this form was issued by the State Department in Washington on the 4th of May, 1894 in the 108th year of American independence. There is a nicely engraved bald eagle clutching an American flag in its talons below the title. A note above the eagle says the passport is only good for two years from the date of May 4th. 

The passport was obviously issued to a Lemuel B. Norton, likely the son of the esteemed Civil War general Lemuel B. Norton Senior. Norton Sr. served as the Chief Signal Officer for the Army of the Potomac starting in 1863 seeing notable action at Gettysburg. Lemuel Norton Jr. was born in the Philidelphia area in 1867 to Lemuel Norton Senior and Mary R. Norton. After the death of Norton Senior in 1871, the household consisted of Mary and Lemuel Jr. as seen in this 1880 census. Due to the similarities in name and age, there is a fairly good chance this document was indeed issued to Lemuel Junior

This particular style of passport was in use from the American Revolution to 1900. Gradually, changes were made to standardize U.S. passports with the familiar booklet design initially released in 1926. The U.S. began requiring passports for entry and exit once the country entered into World War II.  

A very nice piece of U.S. history that shows the industrial bureaucracy of late 19th century America. The possibility this came from the son of a respected Civil War general only enhances the intrigue.  

Condition Description
Information on left filled in with contemporary pen. Signature of Norton in black ink. Watermark of the seal of the United States faintly in middle. Slight offsetting as pictured. Expected wear where folded. Toning throughout.