A Heavy Sea


Real Photo Postcard, unused with writing. “A Heavy Sea.” Circa 1914. Photo Roto, Inc. stamp box. Photographer:  unknown.

Price:  $10.00

If the postcard image above was doctored somewhat before production, it would not have been unusual. (Would the smokestack stripes of the ship on our left be this clear from a distance?)  On the reverse is written,  “From Back U.S.S. Wyoming.”  In checking online for same or similar postcards, we found one at Card Cow (among other sites) of a slightly different view of the sea and ships and titled “A Heavy Sea-Way” copyrighted by N. Moser, N.Y.  On the back of that card is written “USS Vermont.”   So, there’s no guarantee, but a chance that we’re looking at the U.S.S. Vermont from the deck of the U.S.S. Wyoming and from further research, the original photo may have been captured during the storm that damaged Vermont in December 1913.

A slightly earlier around-the-world detour…..

If our postcard photo’s vantage point from on board Wyoming is correct, then the photo would not have been taken during the around-the-world voyage of the Great White Fleet, as Wyoming wasn’t on that tour. Plus, per Playle’s, the stamp box on our card is circa 1910 – 1917. But if you’ve never heard of said fleet, check it out! Imagine, even knowing in advance that they were on their way to your area (there must have been a lot of hoopla)……you round a bend and get your first glance at the ocean and there, like some kind of magic conjuring trick…the impressive line of sixteen U.S. battleships with hulls painted white!

Getting back to the possible time-frame of our postcard…..

Public attention was caught by the report of heavy seas partially damaging the U.S.S. Vermont in December 1913 as she and other ships in the Atlantic Fleet, including Wyoming, were voyaging homeward.


Seeing triple….

The image below of Vermont’s battle with the elements, became well-known in its day, and was published in at least two magazines (The Outlook and Popular Mechanics) as well as being made into a Real Photo Postcard. The RPPC appearing online (various sites) shows copyright N. Moser. And Moser could have been the sailor that took the photo, or not. (Maybe his descendants have proof either way somewhere. We’ll put up a post for him next.) Anyway, you can see how the images below slightly vary, and one source (first example below) calls it a painting done from a photo. But maybe it was just that the publication and altering of the photo rendered something that looks more painting than photo-like.


Above, described as a painting from a black and white photo (courtesy Naval History and Heritage Command.)


Above, from Popular Mechanics magazine, March 1914, Page 372 (courtesy Wikimedia Commons).


Above, as appearing in the New York publication The Outlook on 10 January 1914. (courtesy Wikimedia Commons).


U.S.S. Vermont (BB-20) in calmer water (courtesy Wikipedia).

Sources:  USS Wyoming (BB-32). n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Wyoming_(BB-32) (accessed November 16, 2016).

U.S. Military: Great White Fleet (Atlantic Fleet bound for the Pacific, 16 December 1907) http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=5542. (accessed November 19, 2016).

Great White Fleet. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_White_Fleet. (accessed November 16, 2016).

Real Photo Postcard Stamp Boxes (P-Q). Playle.com. (accessed November 19, 2016).

USS Vermont (BB-20). n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Vermont_(BB-20) (accessed November 16, 2016).

“NH 60506 USS VERMONT (BB-20) – Painting of a ship In a storm.” Naval History and Heritage Command. (accessed November 19, 2016).

File: USS Vermont (BB-20) Returning home from Med Cruise 1913.JPG. n.d. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:USS_Vermont_(BB-20)_Returning_home_from_Med_Cruise_1913.JPG. (accessed November 19, 2016).