Archive for the 'Ship Covers' Category
Guest post by Glenn Smith:
Prior to the American Civil War, Naval personnel medical needs were met in a rudimentary way at a makeshift facility that was in three separate buildings, one at the Navy Yard, one at the Marine Barracks, and one at the Government Hospital for the Insane of the Army and Navy (later St. Elizabeth’s Hospital). In 1866, a large brick building was built on Capitol Hill and it served as the Naval Hospital until 1906, today it is referred to as the Old Navy Hospital. New Navy Hospital opened on Observatory Hill in 1942 and it served the Navy until Bethesda Naval Hospital (now National Naval Medical Center).
In Christmas 1938, naval cachet maker and pharmacist’s mate, J. N. Lawrence, was stationed at the New Naval Hospital, Washington, DC. According to the USCS Naval Cachet Maker Catalog: “Lawrence (ANCS #154) was a prolific and very good cachet maker from 1934 to 1945. He produced a wide variety of commemorative, anniversary, and patriotic cacheted envelopes – printed, thermographed, photo, and hand done for himself and jointly sponsored cacheted covers with Marshall Hall, ANCS #1, and Louis Nix, ANCS #29. Alex Hesse, ANCS #81, printed some of Lawrence’s thermographed cachets.
During WWII, Lawrence issued a series of patriotic cachets identified “JNL-#”. For the most part, Lawrence did not sign his cachets; however his covers may be identified by his name on the reverse, printed, stamped, or, most often, typewritten.”
This example is a hand screen-printed card from U. S Naval Hospital, Washington, DC. It has an embossed seal “Department of the Navy, USNH Washington DC. The cover is an exception; because it is signed by J. N. Lawrence is the upper left corner using the same purple ink that Lawrence used in the candelabra in the lower left of the card.
Appropriately, the stamp used is the 1931 50 th Anniversary of the American Red Cross US commemorative stamp. The card was mailed to Robert V. Walton, who was a cousin by marriage of Glenn Smith (USCS-8073), and was a gift from Robert Walton’s widow, May Walton, to Glenn’s wife, Ann Marie Smith, in whose collection of Christmas cachets it now resides.
Welcome to the premiere installment of Saturday Ship Cover on The Naval History Blog. Each Saturday we will feature a different cover so please add us to your blogroll.
According to the Universal Ship Cancellation Society:
Originally, a “navy cover” was just a letter from a sailor, or even a postcard, with the postmark from the ship’s post office (Navy ships have had their own post offices since 1908). By the 1930’s collectors began sending their own envelopes, or “covers”, to ships for examples of these postmarks. Many have been decorated with designs called cachets, some of which are true works of art.
This week’s feature is the USS Boise (CL-47).