A post-Christmas blizzard! What a perfect excuse to stay in pajamas all day and play with Christmas gifts (or in my case, antiques). All of the snow coming down outside made me think of a winter postcard I have.
This beautiful postcard is handwritten in German. Unfortunately, I could only translate the first line of it, as the cursive is too hard to read. If you can read any more of it, you’re welcome to help me out!
The postcard is part of a very big story. It was addressed to Walter Krueck by a woman named Clara and postmarked on February 16, 1909 in Ludenscheid, Germany. Walter was a crew member aboard the U.S.S. New Jersey.
The U.S.S. New Jersey was part of the Great White Fleet, which consisted of sixteen battleships painted in white and spar (golden tan) to represent peacetime. In December 1907, the fleet began a journey around the world as an exercise of American “strategic mobility.” By May 1908, the fleet arrived in San Francisco for a large celebration. The entire cruise took a year and two months to complete. At the end of February 1909, the fleet entered Hampton Roads, Virginia. Teddy Roosevelt greeted the ships (just as he had seen them off in 1907), as did passenger ships and excursion vessels.
It seems that Clara timed the mailing of this postcard to coincide with the end of Walter’s voyage around the world.
The Great White Fleet was manned by a crew of approximately 14,000 and covered a distance close to 43,000 miles. After the journey around the world, the U.S.S. New Jersey was updated and went on to become a training vessel for the Navy during World War I. It was decommissioned in 1920 and sunk off Cape Hatteras in 1923. To see the full list of crew members aboard the U.S.S. New Jersey in 1908, click here. If you’re interested in seeing postcards and photos that feature the Great White Fleet, check out the writeup by Jack Daly and The Cruise of the Great White Fleet.
That does it for this post. Happy snow day!