Delicate white gloves cover Shane Morris Sparks’ hands as she carefully opens the bound pages of an old document. The first French words read, “Traite De Paix.”
“Each nation who signed the Treaty of Versailles got a copy,” she explains. “Certain individual members who were part of the peace process also did. This is Amos J. Peaslee’s personal copy.”
An unfamiliar name to many, but not to Sparks.
“I’m a Diplomatic Courier. I transport classified material from Washington D.C. to our embassies and consulates overseas.”
It's a job that stared with Amos J. Peaslee. Major Peaslee founded the U.S. Diplomatic Courier Service at the end of World War I. General Pershing’s handpicked group of Army couriers (known during the war as the Silver Greyhounds) were tasked to continue their job as diplomats.
Peaslee, who led the group during the war was tasked to lead the group. They helped open routes to U.S. Embassies across Europe after the war. Their work contributed to the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.
“What I think is really cool,” says Sparks, “our job is the same now as it was when Amos J. Peaslee founded it.”
Sparks wanted to find out more about the founder of the Couriers on its hundredth year of service. She reached out to the Peaslee family hoping for a few stories or memories of Amos. She found way more.
“Sparks was totally unaware of any of this,” says Robin Peaslee Dougall, Amos’ grandson.
Wednesday, he stood in a room full of artifacts that belonged to his grandfather. When Amos passed, and his estate in New Jersey was sold, Dougall’s mother (Amos’ sister) inherited his collection. She took it to Washington State in the early 90s, where it stayed until Dougall inherited it in 2016.
When he moved to Colorado Springs last year, the collection moved with him.
“When I found out Dougall had a whole collection of artifacts,” remembers Sparks, “I was very excited!”
There was Amos’ original passport, his copy of the Treaty of Versailles and dozens of other documents from his long career. It was more than Sparks could have ever hoped for. She’s taking it back to the U.S. Diplomatic Center in Washington D.C. Thursday. They’ll be able to study and catalog it there, and it will be on display for the anniversary in November.
“I feel like a lot of our story has been lost to history,” says a relieved Sparks.
Now a portion of that story will endure. Peaslee’s family couldn’t be happier.
“Trying to find a home for it has been a big issue,” says Dougall. “It’s going to be a huge thing to the whole family. A very big benefit to us to bring closure to it. Knowing it’s at the best possible place it could go.”