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    Haddon Township, New Jersey, USA
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    Masonic, Central Powers, photography (American Civil War, World War 1, whatever catches my interest)

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  1. She is an incredible ship and we are very proud to have her open to the public. Her history is amazing not just because of her role in the Span Am but also in World War, the Spanish Flu epidemic, service during the Russian Revolution and carrying the Unknown Soldier. She also tested our rudimentary underwater detection gear for the Navy!!! https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2021/04/30/unknown-soldier-arlington-uss-olympia/
  2. Resurrecting this thread for an update. As the CEO of the Independence Seaport Museum, who operates and restores the ship, I can report that all of threats from back in 2010 about sinking her as a reef were just talk. Since then, we have invested several million dollars in restoration work including an annual project to use a cofferdam to expose parts of the hull along the water line to ensure she is water tight. Right now we are finishing up studies to begin a campaign to raise money to replace the deck and keep the interior of the ship dry. We also will need to remove layers of asbestos, concrete and other assorted "miracle products" that were applied to the deck over the years. Not easy or inexpensive to do. Work will continue on the hull and we also want to begin restoration work on various interior spaces of the ship. This year we have been hosting a number of celebrations commemorating the 100th anniversary of the return of the American Unknown Soldier from France to the United States. We installed a lovely memorial to the unknown solider in the exact spot where the coffin was placed (see the photo below) The saga of the transport of the unknown soldier is truly memorable. When the coffin was brought aboard the Olympia in France, it was found that it could not fit inside the structure of the ship. No one wished to tip the coffin upright and thus disturb the body. So they elected to place the coffin in a place of honor on the upper deck of the ship. During the trip, the Olympia was lashed by two significant storms (today they would probably be called hurricanes). The Marine Corps honor guard was concerned about losing the coffin so they posted a continuous guard on the deck of the ship and lashed themselves to the area around the body. Thankfully no one was lost and the ship arrived in Washington and the coffin was transported to Arlington National Cemetery. Olympia is an incredible ship and we are so proud to be able to showcase her to the public. If you come to Philadelphia, plan to spend an afternoon visiting what is truly one of the most unique ships still afloat. Her present configuration is a bit of a hybrid between her appearance in the Spanish American War period and that of her time during World War One. Most of the current profile of the ship, however, most closely resembles the World War 1 period. She is open for visitors and there is a special exhibit on her right now about the American Unknown Soldier. We are rolling out a new website today so I will share the new link once it populates out a bit more.
  3. Just back on the forum having moved this year from Wyoming to New Jersey. Thank you for the information on the photographs. They popped up on eBay without provenance but clearly of quality and interest so this is wonderful to know. They are treasured parts of my collection.
  4. I just acquired this photograph of a young Captain in the Pennsylvania National Guard dated 1898. He is wearing the regulation uniform for national guard officer. One can see the double silver bars of his rank--Captain--on the paddle form shoulder boards. Why I purchased the photograph was the row of medals on his chest. Wearing military and civilian hereditary society medals on your uniform was permitted during this period. So what is he wearing....from viewer's left to right: 1) Members medal of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States. Founded in 1865 by Union army officers who served as pall bearers for President Abraham Lincoln, it became a hereditary society that still exists for male descendants of Civil War officers. Our subject, based upon his age, was probably the son of a Union army officer who was a member of MOLLUS. The original sons had a blue center on the ribbon while heredity members had a red center ribbon. 2) Members medal of the General Society of the Sons of the Revolution. There is a great deal of misunderstanding between the Sons of the Revolution (founded 1876) and the Sons of the American Revolution (founded in 1889). While both organizations are hereditary societies of men who are descended from soldiers (and by extension certain others who supported the American Revolution), the Sons of the Revolution is a smaller and some would argue more prestigious invitational organization. The badge is a gold circle of stars with a central figure of a standing figure of a patriot. The suspension is a golden eagle. The Sons of the Revolution were, and still are, strong in Pennsylvania and particularly in the Philadelphia area. 3) Members medal of the General Society of the War of 1812. This handsome medal was worn by those who are descended from American veterans of the War of 1812. This is the smallest of the three noted hereditary societies. Founded in 1815, the General Society evolved over the 19th century and still exists today. 4) Pennsylvania National Guard marksman medal. This medal (probably more correctly called a badge) is the only official National Guard medal on his uniform. The badge is in the shape of a keystone (Pennsylvania is known as the keystone state) and a pendant was hung from it with the number of years qualifying as a marksman. It probably was silver. The national guard in many states, particularly Pennsylvania, was a very social organization in the late 19th century. I recall reading about the funeral of one National Guard officer ---not this young man--who was both a Civil War veteran and a high ranking Freemason. The newspaper story noted that his funeral reached the cemetery before the last elements had left the church which was almost a mile away! A fascinating image that reveals the social side of National Guard service in Victorian America.
  5. So maybe its my innate desire to acquire weird stuff but I do appreciate everyone's help in my prior identification. This is a group of items that I recently purchased for my own collection. The lot consists of: 1) A post WW2 miniature chain consisting of an Eastern Front medal, War Merit Second with swords, War Merit First with Swords, Iron Cross Second (1939), black wound badge, Infantry Assault Badge, Kurland shield, Demjask shield. 2) Two stickpins--both post War--32nd Infantry Division and 122nd Infantry Division 3) Copy of Greif Rundbrief-December 1975--for veterans of the 122nd Infantry Division 4) Photocopy of an image of four German soldiers with text on the reverse. I have little faith that I can identify this fellow but would be incredibly grateful for any opinions that folks could offer to us. Happy New Year to everyone and thanks in advance for any help in solving this mystery!
  6. Thanks. I find it really fascinating how the tribal artisans came together to abandon the use of the swastika on the eve of the Second World War.
  7. Thanks Eric. Harvey and his contemporaries farmed a lot of their work out exclusively to Navajo and Pueblo makers. Harvey had a real interest in supporting Native American artisans although some of his competitors were not quite so supportive and paid low wages for their work. Interestingly, the Mexican arts were actually more expensive and in some cases sold really well in his stores than the Native goods. In the years after the Mexican Revolution, Mexico became a really hot tourist destination particularly for those who had $$ from the West Coast. Movies were filmed there and the Spanish style of architecture really took off here in the west. As a result, Mexican curios (as the shops sold them) were in hot demand and real Mexican antiques brought premium prices. As you quite correctly noted, the swastika (backwards and forwards) was used by a lot of businesses in the US before Hitler. In my hometown of Harrisburg Pennsylvania, Doutrich's Mens store produced good luck tokens probably in the 1920s with the swastika on them. I suspect they were made in Philly or one of the larger cities where there was the ability to cheaply produce quantities of them. I was always surprised so many survived that one used to see them at flea markets frequently. The Navajos referred to the swastika as whirling logs and one still sees that referenced by collectors and dealers who sell these older wares. The major southwestern tribes agreed to stop using the whiling logs or swastika symbol in 1940. Its a really fascinating topic for sure. I ran a museum in northern New Mexico and we had to always explain the swastikas that appeared on weavings and jewelry to the visitors who came in to see our exhibits.
  8. Sorry, I should have been more clear in my original posting. The Navajos were not required to mark items .925 or sterling so it is very common to see, from this period, unmarked examples of their silver. One does not usually associate either the sterling or .925 until the late 20th century. So I am not surprised that this piece is unmarked. Similarly, maker's marks became common after the Second World War when buyers sought out particular silversmiths. This piece, in my estimation, comes from that an early 20th century period--pre Hitler--when the swastika was commonly used. I have seen the reverse swastika on not only bar pins like this but also on rugs and baskets as well. The topic of Mexican silver is fascinating unto itself. The Mexican government attempted at various times to regular the shops by assigning an eagle mark with a unique number to each workshop. Unfortunately there was no consistency in the issuing of the numbers so there are duplications. Items intended for export to the U.S. were, however, often marked with the maker name, sterling or .925, and to comply with requirements of the McKinley Act--Hecho in Mexico. In Albuquerque and Gallup (both New Mexico) there were large shops (one could describe them as sweatshops) that employed banks of silversmiths (mostly Native American) to crank out jewelry in bulk for the tourist trade. Some did get marked both with the name of the firm and either sterling or .925 but much was done quickly. They produced a fairly limited range of jewelry styles and decorations (a postcard was available to buy that gave great "symbolic" (mythical) meanings to the various emblems/symbols used on the jewelry. Today, collectors often call this work "Fred Harvey Jewelry" and there are several excellent publications on it.
  9. I think I can help on this piece. Native American tribes in the American Southwest, used the reverse swastika on jewelry from the early 1900s until the rise of Hitler when they ceased incorporating the symbol into items. This piece is unusual in that it is marked .925 which is not common on much handmade Navajo jewelry from this period. My guess is that the piece may have been Indian made but for one of the larger jewelry production companies working in Albuquerque New Mexico. Much of this jewelry was retailed in the shops of famed pioneer hotelier/restauranteur/tourism pioneer Fred Harvey. Such pins were offered in gift shops from Chicago to San Diego to tourists heading west on Santa Fe railroad trains.
  10. We now come to the three armies of the U.S. Army that fought in Europe. First Army's patch was a large letter A in black. It was organized on August 10, 1918 under the command of General Pershing to carry out the St. Mihiel offensive. Second Army's patch was a split red and white "2" It was created on October 12, 1918 to assist with the Meuse-Argonne offensive campaign. Major General Robert L. Bullard was assigned the command of the 2nd Army and Major General Hunter Liggett commanded 1st. Army. Both were under the command of General Pershing. The Third Army had a white letter A within a red circle on a blue circle. It was organized on November 14, 1918 under the command of Major General Joseph T. Dickman. It was formed to be the unit of the Army of Occupation after the war. Of course, I forgot some folks and so my apologies for adding onto this list out of numerical order. The 79th Division was made up of men from Maryland and Pennsylvania and left for overseas in July of 1918. Their patch is the Lorraine Cross on a blue shield.
  11. The patch of the 80th division shows three stylized blue mountains for the Blue Mountain Division made up of men from Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. Organized at Camp Lee Virginia. The 81st Division's patch (hard to see in this image) is a wildcat on a khaki circle. It was composed of National Army soldiers from North and South Carolina along with Tennessee. Organized in September 1917 at Camp Jackson South Carolina, it arrived overseas in August 1918. The 82nd Division was the All American Division and had the letters AA in circle of blue on a red square as it's patch. It was initially organized with men from Georgia, Alabama and Florida. In October 1917 the majority of the men were transferred out to other divisions and replaced with men from Camp Devens Massachusetts, Camp Upton New York, Camp Dix New Jersey, Camp Meade Maryland and Camp Lee Virginia. It arrived overseas in May of 1918. The 88th Division patch has two figure 8's in blue crossed at right angles. It was made up of men from North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois. Organized at Camp Dodge Iowa in September 1917, the division arrived in Europe in August of 1918.
  12. This is great information and thanks to everyone. I am making notes as fast as folks are posting! Peter
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