For years, we here in Miami believed the consular corps was somehow “founded” in the 1950s (quotation marks are appropriate because, as readers of my book know, a corps is sui generis – by itself – unique in that it doesn’t require a special act to come into being). So when I started digging into old records I was thrilled that they reached back to the 40s, not in an official sense but nevertheless.
My research was difficult because of – you guessed it! – the frequently wrong terms used by filers and other people in charge of records. Finding “counsel of X” in alpha lists of consulates established in the Miami area can send any researcher on a dead-end road. Also, the fact that consuls lacked credibility in past decades, so that newspapers wrote about them from a frivolous, social standpoint (“consul X loves soccer”) that didn’t include any mention of when and where the consular office was established.
Eventually, I dug my way into the 20s but the history doesn’t end there. There’s that much-ignored and misunderstood matter of consular territory which can mean a consul attached to a consulate established in Key West but with functional jurisdiction in Miami would be a member of any corps in KW and Miami. Miami. I discuss all this in Tequesta (Nr. LXXVII, Dec. 2017), the journal of HistoryMiami Museum.
My piece is titled A Corps of Foreign Consuls: Looking at its Miami Roots. Check it out to learn about how any effort to pinpoint the exact beginning date of any consular corps depends on a variety of factors, most of which are matters of interpretation. The only way to get a copy of the piece is by purchasing the whole journal on Amazon; any profits go to the Museum.