UPDATE: This item has sold.
Here’s a preview of another interesting item I’ll be offering for sale at the Pasadena Book Fair this coming weekend. Unfortunately, I unthinkingly wrapped and packed it for the fair before writing this post, so it now sits ensconced among other books and a nest of bubble wrap that I don’t dare disturb and re-pack before I leave. In short, I don’t have photos of this item at this time. If you have queries about this item, please leave a comment or contact me directly at chris AT bookhuntersholiday DOT com.
Calkins, Carlos, Navigator, U.S.S. Olympia. SCRAPBOOK OF THE BATTLE OF MANILA BAY AND THE BATTLE OF CAVITE, 1898 (SPANISH AMERICAN WAR). 1898. THE SCRAPBOOK OF THE NAVIGATOR OF THE FLAGSHIP OF THE GREAT WHITE FLEET WITH OFFICIAL, SIGNED SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR DOCUMENTS TIPPED IN.
9” x 13”. 54 pages, without numbers. Quarter leather, marbled green boards. Most of leather missing from spine, but spine still present and item still bound. Rubbed through at corners, boards a bit warped. Still, a significant compilation of historical records.
Every page filled with clippings of maps, charts, newspaper articles and editorials, and poems written by authors such as Ambrose Bierce (p. 4) and Rudyard Kipling (p.5). This scrapbook is filled with clippings from newspapers all over the world: The San Francisco Examiner, The American Soldier, El Comercio (in Spanish), The Hong Kong Telegraph, The Japan Weekly Gazette, and The China Mail. The diversity of articles and illustrations along with the variety of perspectives offered by the many different newspapers provide a fascinating picture of the part of the Spanish American War that ultimately led to Philippine independence.
Carlos Calkins, the man who assembled the scrapbook, was the Navigator on one of the most famous ships in the U.S. Navy when it was known as The Great White Fleet – the U.S.S. Olympia. Captained by Captain (later Admiral) Charles Gridley, the Olympia led the United States’ Asiatic Squadron in an attack on the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay on May 1, 1898. At 5:40 a.m., the Commander of the Squadron, Commodore George Dewey, who watched from atop the Olympia’s flying bridge, hailed Gridley with the now famous words, “You may fire when ready, Gridley.”
The ensuing Battle of Manila Bay ended with the destruction of the Spanish fleet and the surrender of the Philippine capital of Manila. It signaled to the word that the United States was a major naval power.
Tipped-in to the center of the scrapbook are five official documents, many bearing numerous signatures on the verso, written in Spanish. Some of the documents are on the letterhead of the Spanish Chief of the Philippine State. The documents mention a Mass to be said on the eve of a court trial of two Spanish sailors being tried for desertion and for smuggling weapons. Another document, giving an order to transfer a cannon from ship to land is boldly signed by the Spanish Admiral Patricio Montojo. Yet another document, which, judging from the handwriting, was likely written in a hurry, orders the ships in the Spanish Navy to immediately paint their hulls, masts, and smokestacks like a “wet tarpaulin” (greenish/gray – the color of the sea) in order to camouflage themselves. This order is signed on the verso by the commanders of some of the Spanish ships. Also included is a formal Proclamation of the Governor of the Philippines, Polavieja, dated January of 1897. The proclamation decrees that criminals shall be given amnesty as long as they remain loyal to Spain. Criminals not loyal to Spain would be punished by death. Finally, there are three Proclamations from Emilio Aguinaldo, the first president of the Philippines, two of which bear official seals of the “Gobierno Dictatorial Filipinos”.
A very unusual and very interesting artifact of the Spanish-American War, compiled by a person with a bird’s-eye view of the events of the Battle of Manila Bay.
See you at the fair!