Nov 3

President Roosevelt's Gone Fishin'

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 12:01 AM

By

Map charting the course from San Diego, California, to Pensacola, Florida

Map charting the course from San Diego, California, to Pensacola, Florida

In the summer of 1938, President Franklin D. Roosevelt came aboard the USS Houston (CA-30) for a fishing trip. He and his party, which included scientists from the Smithsonian Institute, boarded the cruiser on 17 July in San Diego. The scientists were invited to collect specimens from Central and South America while the President fished.

The ship sailed south for the Galapagos Islands, and stopped along the way in Mexico and several islands. Before arriving at the final destination on 24 July, the Houston crossed the equator, which involved the traditional line-crossing celebration. After leaving the Galapagos, the ship turned east, sailing through the Panama Canal before ending her voyage on 9 August in Pensacola, Florida.

The images below represent a small selection of photos taken during the voyage. The collection was donated in 1995 by N. Joseph Zahn, a sailor on board the Houston during the cruise.

The Houston at the Cocos Islands

The Houston at the Cocos Islands

The President displays the shark he caught

The President displays the shark he caught

The President and his party on board

The President and his party on board

A mess of fish caught by the President and Party

A mess of fish caught by the President and Party

“Pollywog” officers on watch. (Pollywogs are sailors who have not crossed the equator before and are presumably looking for the equator as part of their initiation. The donor of this collection was a pollywog on this cruise.)

“Pollywog” officers on watch. (Pollywogs are sailors who have not crossed the equator before and are presumably looking for the equator as part of their initiation. The donor of this collection was a pollywog on this cruise.)

The President and King Neptune and Party during the line-crossing celebrations

The President and King Neptune and Party during the line-crossing celebrations

Galapagos Islands

Galapagos Islands

A landing party on the Galapagos

A landing party on the Galapagos

Members of ship’s crew with albatross

Members of ship’s crew with an albatross

A landing party on the Galapagos Islands

A landing party on the Galapagos Islands

Galapagos Islands

Galapagos Islands

To read the cruise book from the voyage, see the link below, made available by the FDR Presidential Library from the Grace Tully Collection.

http://www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/_resources/images/tully/7_03.pdf

To learn more about President Roosevelt’s interest in sailing, see Sailor in the White House: The Seafaring Life of FDR by Robert F. Cross, now available in paperback from the U.S. Naval Institute Press.

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