Search the Collection
Advanced Search

US battleship ILLINOIS

Date: c 1908
Dimensions:
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: 00003246

User Terms

    Description
    In 1908 the American President Theodore Roosevelt sent a fleet of battleships on a peace time world tour to demonstrate American naval sea power. USS ILLINOIS is shown in this photographic print. All 16 battleships of the American Great White fleet were printed on commemorative postcards, a popular and readily available souvenir of the tour.
    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 generated by the Great White Fleet's world tour. Badges, medallions, pins, postcards and photographs all reflected the enthusiasm surrounding a potential new and powerful ally. These postcards typically represent America and Australia as cooperative partners and commonly depict national motifs including flags, emblems and banners.

    USS ILLINOIS was launched on 4 October 1898. It served in the European squadron as part of the Atlantic Fleet. Following this ILLINOIS took part in the Great White Fleet world peace tour between 1907 and 1909. It was decommissioned on 15 May 1920 to comply with the Washington Treaty. However it was used as a naval armoury until being renamed PRAIRE STATE on 8 January 1941 and then was eventually scrapped on 18 May 1956.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: US Battleship ILLINOIS

    Web title: US battleship ILLINOIS

    Discuss this Object

    Comments

    Please log in to add a comment.