Maria Mitchell In Her Own Words

AGE: 54 years; Stature: 5 feet 5 ½ inches; Forehead: High;

EYES; Dark; NOSE: Straight; MOUTH: Medium; CHIN: Square;

HAIR: Grey; COMPLEXION: Dark; FACE: Round.

{Issued} 23 day of June 1873.

While it is not her own words, it is a description of Maria Mitchell.  It is her passport – a very large document in the neighborhood of roughly 16 inches by 22 inches with great swirls and the “United States of America” and official seals.  No photograph.  You have to remember that by this date, photographs were roughly only about twenty or so years in existence so having an attached photograph didn’t work, unless you wanted your tintype or daguerreotype to rip the passport in half!