The Foreign Service Journal, January-February 2022
44 JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2022 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL FS HERITAGE A LABOR OF LOVE Rediscovering State’s Lost History A project to unearth the lives and legacies of the earliest diplomats is awakening a shared understanding of the U.S. Foreign Service and its history. BY L I NDSAY HENDERSON Lindsay Henderson is a consular officer and a found- ing member of the Consular Affairs History Project. In addition to assignments in Washington, D.C., she has served in Frankfurt, Tbilisi, Toronto, Tirana and Lima. She can be reached at HendersonLN@state.gov. E xcellent documentation has captured the State Department’s work since 1789, but less well preserved is the history of the indi- viduals who made U.S. diplomacy possible. Working together and pooling resources, some department employees are dedicated to changing that. Did you know that the first rhinoceros brought to the United States was shipped home by a U.S. consul (the curiously named Marmaduke Bur- rough) on home leave between his overseas tours in India and Mexico in June 1830? Or that the U.S. government first started adding photos to passports in 1914 after a German spy was caught using a purloined U.S. passport in the United Kingdom? Neither did we until recently, when a small group of consular professionals sought to document the human side of our history. Who were the individuals who built and ran the department? Who opened and closed posts, conducted negotiations, reported on political and economic conditions, provided services to their fellow citizens in need and lived—and sometimes died—in the Foreign Service? Read on to learn about a handful of these fasci- nating figures whose lives and legacies we’re rediscovering. But first, we would like to share how this project took shape.