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Great White Fleet Souvenir Folk Art

We’ve Never Seen One This Size!




A Great White Fleet Souvenir, folk art created with feathers and silk floss.

President Roosevelt sent Admiral George Dewey on a diplomatic mission to the Pacific–later expanded to circumvent the globe–with a fleet of 16 battleships and numerous escort vessels. It was called “The Great White Fleet,” because the ship’s hulls were painted white, with dramatically painted scrollwork and ribbons.

This enterprise was both a goodwill mission and to showcase American naval force.  The United States had acquired several islands courtesy of the Spanish-American war. Roosevelt wanted the world to know he was able and prepared to protect them.

The sailors on board bought souvenirs from their journey; many handcrafted by the people at the various ports-of-call.  American patriotic themes dominated these woven pieces. Favorite materials include feathers, abalone, silk, and glass beads.  Real Gold cording was occasionally used, too. The American eagle was one of the more popular motifs.

This charming artifact is quite unusual because of its diminutive size. It’s the first we’ve seen — the vast majority being much larger.  A delightful piece!

Excellent condition; colors of red, white, blue, brown, black, and gold are bright with no signs of wear.

Folk Art. Great White Fleet Souvenir c1905. Feathers and Silk, 9 1/2″ x 71/2″,
Overall 15 1/2″ x 13 1/2″.