By Stan Bush
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – A treasure trove of World War I artifacts tracing back to the origin of the U.S. Diplomatic Couriers Service have been uncovered in Colorado Springs.
This year the State Department is commemorating 100 years of the that service.
The family of Amos J. Peaslee donated the collection of medals, maps, thousands of letters, and what may be an original printing of the Treaty of Versailles to the State Department for preservation. Peaslee was one of the service’s original members.
“In the back of my mind I was like ‘what am I going to do about this collection?’” said Rob Peaslee Dougall, the courier’s grandson.
Amos was a member of the Army’s Silver Greyhound couriers, who delivered correspondence to the war’s frontlines. He helped found the 100 member Diplomatic Courier Service operating through the State Department from U.S. Embassies around the globe.
The collection survived years of moves across country and was being held in a series of storage boxes for years.
Peaslee is most famous for serving as the U.S. Ambassador to Australia, appointed by President Eisenhower. His family knew the materials were important, but did not fully realize its historic value to the service he founded.
“I think it’s fascinating that we found this and it survived all this time,” said Shane Morris Sparks, a current diplomatic courier who found Peaslee’s collection.
The collection is being shipped to the State Department Museum in Washington, D.C. for preservation, study, and eventually display.
“A lot of it could have ended up in a dust bin somewhere,” said Peaslee’s grandson.