Search the Collection
Advanced Search

U.S. cruiser CHICAGO

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: 00040671

User Terms

    This postcard features a black and white photographic image of the United States cruiser CHICAGO. 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 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 United States Navy protected cruiser USS CHICAGO was launched on 5 December 1885 by John Roach and Sons in Pennsylvania. Under the command of Captain Henry Bellows Robeson, CHICAGO undertook its first commission as flagship of the Squadron of Evolution from 1889, and then until 1893 as flagship of the North Atlantic Squadron. From 1893 CHICAGO, under the command of Alfred Thayer Mahan, became the flagship of the European Station before being decommissioned in 1895. In 1898 CHICAGO was recommisioned and again assigned to the European Station, before serving as the flagship of the South Atlantic Station in 1901, and then returning to the European Station. After undergoing repairs from 1903 - 1904, CHICAGO was assigned to the Pacific Squadron in 1905 as flagship where it played an integral part in the evacuation of refugees from San Francisco during the Great Earthquake and Fire of 1906. After a brief stint in the Naval Academy Practice Squadron in 1908, CHICAGO was placed in reserve until 1909. From 1910 - 1916 CHICAGO served with the Massachusetts Naval Militia and then the Pennsylvania Naval Militia until April 1917. From April 1917 - 1919, CHICAGO served as flagship for the Submarine Force in the Atlantic and the Cruiser Division 2 in the Pacific, before serving with Submarine Division 14. Reclassified CA-14 and CL-14 in 1920 and 1921 respectively, USS CHICAGO was decommissioned in 1923.
    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: US Cruiser CHICAGO

    Web title: U.S. cruiser CHICAGO

    Discuss this Object


    Please log in to add a comment.