I am half way through the Welles Collection at the Luzerne County Historical Society. I have seen many interesting personal objects the Welles owned and many documents pertaining to each individual thus far. This week I came across an interesting document that was Edward Welles’ passport. The passport was only a folded up document that listed Edward Welles’ height, eye color, etc. and requesting that any location Edward Welles travels to provides him with safe passage. The document is interesting to me because it is extremely different than a passport today. A passport today is a small booklet containing an image of the individual, their date of birth, nationality, and sex, as well as other important information pertaining to the passport. Furthermore, the passport has American symbols on it such as the bald eagle and American flag, and the start of the Declaration of Independence. Edward Welles’ passport did not have an image of the American flag; there was only an image of a Roman woman in classical attire leaning on a pillar and a stone wall with a shield leaning on it. I understand that Edward Welles passport would have details of his physical features because of the lack of photography. However, I think it is interesting to compare Edward Welles’ passport to a fairly recent one in order to identify similarities and differences.
Since I finished inventorying the boxes that held objects and documents of the Welles, I started inventorying objects and documents in the first filling cabinet. I have come across interesting information about the Alexander family. The Alexander family were friends with the Welles, and have an interesting family history. The Alexander family came originally from a noble family in England, starting with an individual named Andrew, the son of Archibald Alexander of Ballybigley. Andrew of Ballybigley purchased the estate of Crew from a parish in Ireland and raised a large family. Andrew’s son, Thomas, emigrated to America, where his family would be a part of many events in early America. For instance, Andrew’s descendants took part in the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Additionally, Emily Alexander, one individual from the Alexander family, was related to Captain William Burritt. Captain William Burritt worked alongside George Washington and a member of the Order of the Cincinnati. In conclusion, I am looking forward to learning more about the Welles and their collection of objects from other prominent families in Wilkes-Barre, PA.