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US battleship KENTUCKY

Date: c 1908
Overall: 89 x 139 mm
Medium: Paper, inks, light card, silver gelatin emulsion layer
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Classification:Posters and postcards
Object Name: Postcard
Object No: 00003243

User Terms

    The portside of USS KENTUCKY is shown in this photograph. Many versions of postcards that were produced to coincide with the visit of the American Great White Fleet to Australia in 1908. Postcards were cheap and readily available souvenirs of the occasion.
    SignificanceAustralia welcomed the arrival of the United State’s Great White Fleet in 1908 through the production of souvenir items such as this postcard, which demonstrate the excitement the visit generated in the Australian public.
    HistoryIn December 1907 United States President Theodore Roosevelt sent a 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.

    Australia was not originally on the itinerary route of the Great White Fleet, who only decided to visit after receiving a direct invitation from the Prime Minister Alfred Deakin. One quarter of the Australian population, over one million people, saw the Great White Fleet during its three-week visit to Sydney, Melbourne and Albany. Public holidays were declared and enthusiastic crowds flocked to see the ships and parades. Vast arrays of souvenirs were produced for a population caught up in the euphoria.

    USS KENTUCKY was a Kearsarge-class battleship commissioned on 15 May 1900. Soon after its commission KENTUCKY joined the Asiatic Station and was one of the battleships used in the Great White Fleet. It was involved in subsequent operations in Mexico and acted as a training vessel during World War I. KENTUCKY was decommissioned on 29 May 1920 and sold for scrap.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: US battleship KENTUCKY

    Primary title: US battleship KENTUCKY

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