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Dear Ms. McManus,
Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!
We searched the National Archives Catalog and located Passport Applications, 1/6/1906 - 3/31/1925 in the General Records of the Department of State (Record Group 59) that contain a digitized box list of passport numbers issued before 1926. There are 155 additional passport applications for you to review. However, these records are not digitized yet in the Catalog. For access to and/or copies of any of those additional passports, please contact the National Archives in Washington - Textual Reference (RDT1) via email at email@example.com.
The State Department has custody of passport applications dated after 1925. For information on
how to request an application, please visit their website at https://travel.state.gov/passport/services/copies/copies_872.html. All requests for passport records issued from 1925 to the present should be mailed to the Department of State, Passport
Services, Research and Liaison Section, Room 500, 1111 19th Street, NW, Washington, DC
We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!
Hi, and best wishes to you for a Happy New Year!
This answer comes from my personal experience, which suggests that old and/or expired passports may not be kept.
I was working for a nonprofit in the Washington area, and one of our disabled clients had been given a temporary job with a federal agency, I suspect the State Department, to assist in destroying old passports. These were as best I recall from the 1930's and maybe a little later, and they were civilian passports as opposed to the slightly different versions issued to some by the State Department.
I was chatting with the person attempting to find out what the job duties were, and one of my questions was did they ever find things inside the passports. The answer was 'money,' with no elaboration. I took that to mean foreign currency, which fit in with how I would sometimes carry a few extra bills when I was traveling in Europe.
I then asked did the person ever recognize any of the passport photos, as photos in days gone by in passports were at times very good examples of the photographer's art. The answer was 'movie stars,' with no elaboration. When asked no names were given, just that the person was recognized.
So, if your desired passport is of a civilian from before 1950, it may be that the government did not retain the old passport when it expired. Presently they punch holes in them and return them to you, I suppose as a memento of your travel.
If this person was so prominent that their personal papers might have been retained in a library collection, then you might ID the collection by a web search and then ask if the passport is in the personal papers and if they would copy it for you.
Hope this helps.