The Cards Mailed by Harry Groswell, USS Wisconsin

Harry Groswell was an Ordinary Seaman on the USS Wisconsin (His name is not on the roster of crewmembers when the ships left Hampton Roads, however two ships joined the fleet in San Francisco, Nebraska and Wisconsin.  In the cards below he mentioned visiting Lahaina, Maui, which was 4th Division, USS Wisconsin).  The cards in my collection are a group that he sent to Mrs. A. Goswell, probably his mother, back in Rochester, New York.  The first cards in the group were sent from Hawaii, and the last from Egypt.  The nice thing about finding a group like this is that there are always a couple of cards that you have never seen before, in this case, the one from Amoy, China and the "Sailor's Ball" card from Hawaii.

cards from the hawaiian islands


This group of cards were mailed on July 21st and 23rd while the ship was in Honolulu.  The card above is particularly unique in that it was published for the "Sailor's Ball" during the fleet's visit.  On the right, the cards are "Private Mailing Cards" although the postal service now allowed for writing on the back.  The first card "84 Pa'u Rider refers to the Hawaiian wahine (women) horseback riders who wear long, colorful skirts, pa'u.  The second card, "Royal Palm Avenue" shows a beautiful path lined with Royal Palms.  It was said they were brought to the islands in 1850 from the West Indies by the Judd family who planted them on their property.  The Haleiwa Hotel, was constructed in 1898 by Hawaiian industrialist Benjamin Dillingham in the plantation town of Waialua, named after the girls dormitory built by Protestant missionaries on the site.  The last card shows Washington Place, the home of the Ex-Queen Lilinkalani and where she was arrested during the overthrow of the Hawaiian Islands.  The house was built by an American merchant sea captain, John Dominis in the 1840s and named after the first president.  It was designed by master carpenter Isaac Hart who helped build the first Iolani Palace.



cards of the maori wahine from new zealand

Polynesian settlers first arrive on the shores of New Zealand sometime before 1000 AD and settled in on the best land of the North Island.  By the 18th and 19th centuries, know as the Maori, they had created an impressive culture.  The Dutch explorer Able Tasman reported a skirmish with them in 1642.  After Captain James Cook's arrival in 1769 things got much worse and the Maori tribes were attacking settlers.

Postcards were first issued in New Zealand in 1897 and were an immediate success. By 1909 over 9-million postcards were sent through the New Zealand postal system.  Pictures of the Maori people and their culture were popular subjects.  The cards of woman were posed to present beautiful and innocent character with long, open hair and a direct gaze to sell cards to a male audience. 

tinted postcards from yokohama and tokyo

This is a group of cards, all by the same publisher, none mailed, buy all initialed by Harry in the lower right corner.  The quality of the tinting is very good on all of the cards with scenes of everyday life in Japan.

palace hotel, shanghi

This is probably the most interesting card of the group, Palace Hotel, Shanghai.  Caterers for the U.S. Fleet in Amoy, October - November, 1908.  The compound that was erected at Amoy was not popular with the local people who wanted no part of the welcoming of the Americans.  The local people felt that the Japanese might  hold this against them in the future a choose not to support the construction or services to the compound.  This card is from the Palace Hotel which catered food for the fleet's visit.  And because it was in this sailors collection in must have been given out in Amoy.  It is the first one that I have seen.

The history of the hotel - now the Peace Hotel - is interesting.  The site dates back to the 1850s when the first hotel, Central Hotel, was built.  In 1903, the building was restructured and renamed the Palace Hotel.  In 1926 a second building, the North Building was constructed as the Cathay Hotel.  After the Communist takeover in 1949, both buildings were operated by the municipal government and was used by the Gang of Four.  In 1956 it once again became a hotel under the name "Peace Hotel" and today the north building is called Sassoon House and the south, The Swatch Art Peace Hotel.

cards from ceylon

About 75 miles and 2,000 feet in elevation from Colombo is the City of Kandy, home to the Temple of the Tooth, where the sacred tooth of Buddha is kept.  An eye tooth, fully two-inches long, it is enshrined in the temple at Kandy.  Each year in August they take the tooth out and parde it around the streets of the city, traditionally with a 40-elephant procession with priests and ceremony.

When visiting Kandy in 1908, and today, the place to stay is the Queen's Hotel.  Situated close to the temple and parks in the city it was originally opened under the name Queen's Hotel in 1869 and was established as a traditional British Hotel with smoking rooms, billard tables and constructed to include a Royal Ball Room and The Pub Royal.  The drink, "The Lord Moutbatten" served in the lounge after the gent who frequently visited while Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia, based in Kandy!

cairo, native water seller


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