Ca. 1925. Oblong Quarto album (ca. 18,5x28,5 cm). 46 card stock leaves. With over 320 gelatin silver photos, including over 160 mounted gelatin silver photos of various sizes from ca. 11,5x16 cm (4 ½ x 6 ¼ in) to ca. 5x8 cm (2x3 in), several captioned in negative or on versos, over seventy with period white ink captions on the mounts. And with over 130 souvenir photos and real photo postcards from ca. 8,5x13,5 cm (3 ¼ x 5 ¼ in) to ca. 4,5x7 cm (1 ¾ x 2 ¾ in), the majority captioned in negative. With thirty-two loose real photo postcards ca. 8,5x13,5 cm (3 ¼ x 5 ¼ in), all with period ink or pencil notes on verso. With two pieces of printed ephemera: one ca. 28x19 cm (11 x 7 ½ in), completed in manuscript; the other one ca. 27,5x21 cm (10 ¾ x 8 ¼ in). Period brown full sheep album fastened with a string, soft covers, gilt-lettered title “Photographs” on the front cover. Album mildly rubbed on extremities, several mounts with minor tears on the margins, the last leaf detached from the stub and loosely inserted, several images have been removed from the album, A few photos mildly faded, but overall a very good album of interesting strong images.
Extensive collection documenting the US Navy exercise in Hawaii and its good-will tour to Australia and New Zealand in April-October 1925. “This movement to Hawaii was the first occasion since before WW1 that the entire U.S. Fleet had conducted a major transoceanic deployment. The voyage, which involved over 75 ships (eleven battleships, Langley and two seaplane tenders, several cruisers, some 50 destroyers, and a number of auxiliaries), was the larges transoceanic movement in the history of the U.S. Navy to that time” (Nofi, A.A. To Train the Fleet for War: The U.S. Navy Fleet Problems, 1923-1940. Newport, Rhode Island: Naval War College Press, 2010, p. 76). The Fleet conducted major joint Army-Navy exercise no. 3 around Hawaii in April, fleet type and tactical exercise in May and June, and “the Antipodean cruise” in July-September 1925, visiting Australia, New Zealand, and Samoa. “…the fleet’s visit to Australia and New Zealand, the largest extra-hemispheric movement in the history of the U.S. Navy until World War II, was also the only occasion between the wars that a substantial part of the entire fleet travelled outside the Western Hemisphere” (ibid., p. 81).
The album’s compiler was one Ed. J. Nafeih, a musician 2nd Class from USS “Oklahoma.” The majority of the original snapshot photos (over a hundred) relate to his time in Hawaii during the naval maneuvres and exercise. One of the first photos in the album is a portrait of Willis McDowell (USS “Oklahoma’s” captain in June 1925 - May 1927). Interesting photos of Hilo show a welcome arch on the Main Street, wharf, post office, library, two American sailors trying to overturn the Naha Stone, Peepee Falls, Boiling Pots falls, and Onomea Arch which will collapse during the 1956 earthquake. Twenty-five photos from the trip to the Hawaii Volcanoes National park show a sailor in front of the “Volcano House” hotel, two side views of the hotel, Halemaumau, Keanakakoi and Kilauea Iki craters, “1924 lava flow,” “Sarrick & I in a pit,” lava fields, “looking down 1800 ft.,” a group portrait of four sailors who came to the park, etc. Two studio photos show the “Little Beggar” and “Eruption of cloud dusts of Kilauea volcano, 3:15 p.m., May 23, 1924” (the latter was taken by Tai Sing Loo, the official US Navy photographer in Pearl Harbour in 1919-1949).
The photos of Maui show Lahaina street views, “fleet service tent, Y.M.C.A.,” a street banner “Aloha Officers & Men of the U.S. Fleet,” “courthouse, jail & P.O.,” harbour with U.S. naval ships, “site of first printing press east of Rocky Mts.,” Lahainaluna High School, Pioneer Hotel, etc. A studio photo captioned in negative depicts the “Fleet illumination, Lahaina, Maui, 5-23-25.”
The photos of Oahu depict Honolulu (harbour, coastal views, landing wharf, “view near civic center,” Waikiki Park, Iolani Palace, tomb of Kamehameha, sailors dining in a restaurant, Mission Memorial building, “fleet service home,” “Kawaiahao” or “coral” church, post office, Bishop museum, library, Oahu College, Moana hotel, Waikiki beach, two sailors “dead drunk”), views from Pali, the Rainbow Bridge over the Anahulu stream (1921), “oldest frame house” (Ka Hale La’au mission house, 1821). There are also scenes of a hula dance, sailors watching a hula show, standing at the entrance of the “Fleet entertainment center,” etc.
Twenty-five photos document the celebration of the crossing of the Equator on July 6, 1925: “Royal Parade, royal trumpeters,” “The Royal Family” (“Royal nursemaid, princess Mickey Dursch, King Neptune A. McCurry, Queen MacJ., Baby…”), group portrait of “royal judges,” “the royal band,” a scene of “royal navigator shooting the stars,” convicts, “drinking the royal baby’s milk,” jumping to the tank with seawater, etc. The snapshot photos of Samoa include scenes of onboard the ship, views of Pago Pago waterfront, fale houses, a public gathering with natives and sailors, etc. Six interesting views show the parade of American marines in Melbourne, one of the photos has a caption in negative “Okey’s Band passing in review, Melbourne, Australia.”
The souvenir photos depict sites and landmarks of Hawaii, Samoa, Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide, Wellington, Hobart, Tasmania, etc., various Hawaiian fruits, portraits of Hawaiians, etc. Interesting real photo postcards show “Snow on Haleakala Mt.”, Captain Cook’s monument of the Big Island, “Siva-Siva dance, Samoa,” “Knife dance, Samoa,” etc. Thirty-two loose real photo postcards depict Samoans in traditional costumes, scenes of Samoan dance, views of the harbour and streets of “Pango Pango” (Pago Pago, the territorial capital of American Samoa), Apia (harbour, wrecks of German cruisers which sank during the 1889 Apia cyclone, lighthouse, a nearby village), Honolulu (Moana Hotel, port, Iolani Palace, Diamond Head), an eruption of Kilauea volcano (four day and night views), etc.
The printed ephemera includes a humorous document addressed to “Nafeih, E.J., musician 2nd class, U.S. Navy” and dated July 6, 1925. The document is titled “Subpoena and Summons Extraordinary. The Royal High Court of the Raging Main. County of Oklahomans, Vale of Pacificus, Domain of Neptunus Rex.” Among several charges to Nafeih are (manuscript text): “Charge II. He hails from Arkasas [sic!], which is an insult to our Royal Scribe. He has also turned out many bum pictures in the photo-shop. Charge III. This apple knocker has imposed on our good nature by hocking all the ship’s instruments and leading our ex-bands to drink.” The document bears a printed signature of “Neptunus Rex,” is attested by “Scribe Davy Jones,” and has an embossed stamp of “Department of the Navy, S.S. Oklahoma.”
The second document is a printed form for a letter, with the letterhead “United States Fleet Maneuvres, 1925, Hilo, Island of Hawaii, U.S.A.” The form has a printed “Table of Distances from Hawaii to the leading ports of the Pacific” and a printed text at the bottom: “P.S. I am having such a good time I can’t write anymore, but the good people of this town have printed all that I would like to say on the back of this letter for me.” The verso has a dense-printed article with the main information about Hawaii’s Big Island. Overall an interesting content-rich source on the history of the US fleet exercise and tours in Hawaii and western Pacific in 1925.
Price: $3,250.00 USD