Seeking Foreign Service Family Stories and Memorabilia

I am seeking stories and memorabilia from your family’s life in the Foreign Service for inclusion in an exhibit showcasing the contributions of Foreign Service families as “diplomats behind the scenes.”

Artifacts may include invitations, postcards, scrapbooks, paintings, drawings, sculpture, jewelry, textiles, costumes, musical instruments, video, photos, and other tangible items that bring to life the contributions of Foreign Service families.

As an Una Chapman Cox fellow (, I am creating a multimedia exhibit to document the stories of Foreign Service families to reveal and record their compelling, but often challenging journeys. The exhibit will showcase perspectives on Foreign Service life, personal adventures, and reflections from within the community aimed at reaching a broad audience, including the Foreign Service and the general public.

For example, when Penne Laingen tied a yellow ribbon around a tree to support her husband, Bruce Laingen, who was being held hostage in Iran, it sparked a movement across the United States. I am looking for your family’s “yellow ribbon” that symbolizes how Foreign Service families contribute to our nation’s interests abroad and at home.  

Please share this invitation widely with other Foreign Service friends and colleagues to reflect an inclusive and diverse representation of the Foreign Service experience. 

 I can be reached at and look forward to hearing from you!  

Claire Smolick