|The Great White Fleet was a United States Navy force that completed a circumnavigation of the globe from December 16, 1907, to February 22, 1909. The journey took place at the bidding and under the direction of Commander and Chief, President Theodore Roosevelt. It consisted of four squadrons of four battleships each, with associated escorts.
Through deployment of the Great White Fleet, the president sought to demonstrate growing American military power. This was largely fueled by an ongoing show of force by the Japanese Royal Navy. Japanese-American relations were tense and the Pacific Fleet was rather small. Roosevelt felt that action was required. In addition to several U.S. destinations and Japan, the ports visited during the round-the-world tour included Trinidad, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, the Philippine Islands, China, Ceylon, Italy, Egypt, and Gibraltar. It was a great honor for military personnel to participate in the auspicious event.
This rare, commemorative kerchief, printed on silk, was made to celebrate the arrival of Teddy Roosevelt's Great White Fleet in San Francisco on May 6th, 1908. At the top, set within an oval window, is a portrait of Roosevelt, decorated with crossed flags and laurel leaves. In the bottom corner, also set within an oval window, with a single canted flag behind, is a portrait of senior officer, Rear Admiral R.D. Evans. In the center is a ship (maybe the lead vessel or maybe one typical of the fleet), flanked on either side by text that reads “California’s Welcome to the Fleet” and “Souvenir San Francisco, May, 1908.”
Mounting: The textile has been hand-stitched to a background of 100% cotton twill, black in color, that has been washed to reduce excess dye. An acid-free agent was added to the wash to further set the dye and the fabric was heat-treated for the same purpose. The mount was then placed in a gilded French molding of excellent quality, with an early American profile, to which a very dark brown (almost black) scooped profile liner with red highlights was added. The glazing is U.V. protective plexiglass.
Condition: Minor soiling and one minor tear in the white field.