Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Maritime Metaphors: Collecting Memories

(by Lisbit Bailey, Archivist and Pop Music Aficionado)

This edition of Maritime Metaphors is about collecting memories.  The song lyrics to Bookends by Paul Simon conjure treasures of the past, the halcyon days perhaps.  Photographs are the iconic form of "memory," but we collect many other things to remind us of shared experiences of all kinds.

What do you collect?  What are the stories you tell?


Time it was
And what a time it was, it was
A time of innocence
A time of confidences

Long ago it must be
I have a photograph
Preserve your memories
They're all that's left you

Check out the YouTube video of Simon & Garfunkel performing Old Friends and Bookends in medley, 1977.

Here is a variety of items selected from the Collections at San Francisco Maritime NHP evocative of the past, memories, and souvenirs.  Enjoy!

Photograph: This portrait of the Rasmussen family is a shipboard souvenir with hand coloring. Shown are Captain Rasmussen, his wife and children arriving in Honolulu aboard a Matson Lines vessel, taken between 1925 and 1935. (SAFR 22239, P09-011)

Bookmarks: These hand-painted lanceolate-type leaves are from an unidentified plant from Cape Town.
(SAFR 8680)

Christening Bottle: This square-section short-necked bottle is wrapped with blue and gold ribbons.  Inscribed on a brass plaque:  "Presented to SALLY ZUCKERMAN, sponsor / Rechristening S.S. HAWAIIAN MOTORIST / Honolulu, November 7, 1962." This vessel was originally a freighter built in 1945. It was rebuilt as a containership in 1960-61. (SAFR 20573)

Souvenir Handkerchief:  This item commemorates the Great White Fleet visitation to California in 1908. There is a starboard view of the flagship Connecticut at center and portraits of President Roosevelt above and Rear Admiral Evans below. (SAFR 17014)

Uniform Hat: An Officer of Matson Navigation Company wore this cap. (SAFR 19825)

This is a menu for the Aquatic Park Casino, circa 1940. (SAFR 15567)

Cocktail Napkin: This is a souvenir of Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco, California, with drawings of the Golden Hinde (II) and Balclutha, circa 1970. (SAFR 19933)

Pillowcase:  Made of pink fabric with fringe and printed in blue. There is a spread-eagle symbol, a picture of a liberty ship and the legend "Souvenir of Kaiser Ship Yards, Richmond, Calif., Liberty Ships, Victory by Production,” circa 1943-1945. (SAFR 19364)

Postcard: This is a First Day Cover commemorating Drake’s vessel the GOLDEN HIND, 1580. (SAFR 15568)

Souvenir Program: Liberty Ship JIM OTIS was launched from Richmond Shipbuilding Corporation, Richmond, California, on December 31, 1941. (SAFR  17005)

Purse: A small purse or etui made from a coconut shell with hand-painted decoration, undated. (SAFR 3394)

Photograph: This is one photo from the William A. Dougan collection of albums and loose prints dating from 1916 to 1935.  Dougan, a Chief Engineer compiled the albums, included family, and voyage photographs aboard the steamer Roanoke. (SAFR 22304, P92-083)

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