It is a rainy Christmas Eve morning here in Brooklyn. Listening to the rain is quite relaxing. I just wrapped up and emailed off a small project that hopefully will see the light of day in the next few weeks. I don’t want to give too much away for the moment but I will say here that it is about the USS New York. Yesterday I came across these incredible images at the Library of Congress Prints and Images website and thought I would share them today. They were taken aboard the New York in the Brooklyn Navy Yard one hundred years ago, on Christmas Day 1916.
I am submitting them with little comment but will note that the funds for the gifts and toys were provided by the crew. On his own dime the ship photographer printed 1917 calendars with images of Captain Hughes and others, which he then sold for 30 cents apiece. The ship tailor raffled off a custom made suit, and so forth. For its endeavor, which it had begun the year before after returning from the blockade of Veracruz, the New York became known as the Christmas Ship. For Christmas 1916 they raised $1000–over $22,000 in today’s currency–and provided toys and Christmas dinner to 500 needy New York children. One year after these images were taken the United States was in the Great War and the dreadnought was attached to Britain’s Grand Fleet, keeping the Germans in check in the North Sea.
A few things: notice the Williamsburg Bridge in the background of some of the images; also note the stamps in some of the images, which I intentionally did not crop out. I could not tell if these were revenue stamps, and if so why they would be necessary. If anyone knows, I’d be interested to learn.
Merry Christmas, everyone.