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U.S. battleship OREGON

Date: 1908
88 x 140 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Classification:Posters and postcards
Object Name: Postcard
Object No: 00040666

User Terms

    This postcard features a black and white photographic image of the United States battleship OREGON. It was one of a series of cards by Waldon Fawcett who photographed ships of the Spanish American War and vessels that later participated in the Great White Fleet. This series was created before 1908, some as early as 1904. Patriotic postcards such as this were produced to commemorate the Great White Fleet world tour in 1907 - 1909.
    SignificanceThe tour of the American Great White Fleet in 1908 was an event of enormous proportions. Souvenir items such as this postcard demonstrate the excitement the visit generated around the world.
    HistoryIn December 1907 United States President Theodore Roosevelt sent the US Atlantic Battle Fleet of 16 battleships on a 14 month goodwill cruise around the world. The fleet was a chance for the Navy to practice seamanship and express America's world power. Roosevelt was also concerned about rising Japanese aggression and their expansionist foreign policy. The cruise would be a political and public relations exercise to build domestic support for more naval construction.

    Led by the flagship, USS CONNECTICUT, the Great White Fleet as it became known, consisted of 16 battleships painted white, as was the practice of all US Navy ships in times of peace. The ships sailed in four divisions of four ships each. Early in the voyage the order of the ships was altered to allow the best-looking vessels to be at the front of the fleet. The cruise incorporated six continents, 26 countries and 32 ports with 614 officers and 13,504 crew. It consumed 435,000 tons of coal, more than any other naval expedition and was the largest fleet to ever accomplish a circumnavigation of the globe.

    The Great White Fleet began its tour on 16 December 1907 from Hampton Roads, Virginia. The Fleet sailed to Trinidad, the British West Indies, Brazil, Chile, Peru and Mexico before sailing up the West Coast of America. The Fleet landed at San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Monterey and then San Francisco, California. The Fleet departed San Francisco on 7 July 1908 for the third and final legs of its tour, visiting Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia, the Philippine’s, Japan, Ceylon and Egypt. The Fleet visited Messina, Italy in January 1909 to offer support and assistance following an earthquake, and after departing Messina, the Fleet visited Naples and Gibraltar before returning home to Hampton Roads, Virginia on 22 February 1909.

    Vast arrays of souvenirs were produced for a population caught up in the euphoria generated by the Great White Fleet's world tour. Badges, medallions, pins, postcards and photographs all reflected the enthusiasm surrounding the tour.

    The Indiana-class pre-Dreadnought battleship USS OREGON was launched on 26 October 1893 at Union Iron Works in San Francisco. The first commission undertaken by OREGON was to the Pacific Station, under the command of Captain H. L. Howison. In 1898 the battleship was sent to reinforce the North Atlantic Squadron on the East Coast of America, due to the impending threat of war with Spain. Under the command of Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, OREGON became involved in the blockade and Battle of Santiago de Cuba in which the Spanish fleet was destroyed. From 1899 - 1900 OREGON was assigned to the Asiatic Squadron until it grounded on a rock near China and underwent extensive repairs. In 1906 the battleship was refitted and modernised, decommissioned in April of that year, then recommissioned in 1911. OREGON spent a number of years in reserve before sailing to San Francisco in 1915 to attend the Panama-Pacific Exposition. From 1916 - 1919 USS OREGON was placed in reserve, decommissioned and recommissioned until in 1925, the battleship was loaned to the State of Oregon to become a floating museum and monument. In 1942 the ship was sold for scrap metal due to the impending threat of World War II.
    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: US Battleship OREGON

    Web title: U.S. battleship OREGON

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