1. USS Solace photograph album 
- Seckeman, S.J., compiler.
- Haiti, 1916
- Image — 1 photograph album ; 18 x 28 cm
The album documents activities of the men of the United States Naval Hospital Ship USS Solace, which was sent to Haiti in May 1916 to provide medical aid to U.S. Marines. After the assassination of the Haitian president the previous year, President Woodrow Wilson had sent 340 sailors and marines to Haiti to restore order. His goal was to protect American interests and and maintain political and economic stability in the Caribbean. The New York Times reported on May 16, 1916, that the Solace was being rushed to Haiti, where "an epidemic has broken out among United States marines." The nature of the epidemic is not explicitly stated in the article, but it notes that "black water fever, a malarial disease, is one of the troubles among the marines who will be taken aboard the Solace for treatment. This photo album clearly belonged to someone stationed aboard the Solace. There are many images of the officers and crew and photograph of a typed list identifying all of the medical personnel on board (six surgeons, a dental surgeon, pharmacist, six hospital stewards, and about 50 Hospital Apprentices. A number of interesting shots showing the inside of the ship and its medical facilities. In two, an operation appears to be in progress. Before the section of the album showing Haiti, there are several excellent images taken in New York City, including Navy Yard, a line of ten ships of the Atlantic Fleet sailing down a river, the launch of the USS Arizona, and an ambulance boat on the water, with the Williamsburg Bridge in the background. There are also several photos of Newport, Rhode Island (Naval YMCA, War College, some tourist sites), which is where the Solace was docked before heading to Haiti. Oddly, there are a few shots from a trip to someplace in the American West interspersed within the NY and Rhode Island photos. After this comes a sequence of about 35 fascinating images of Port au Prince. Most are captioned and credited "Seckelman, Solace." This is S.J. Seckelman, one of the hospital stewards, who may be the compiler of this album. There are images of the medical school, the military hospital, the President's palace, Hospice St. Francis de Sales, the federal prison, "Federal barracks now used by American Marines & guns captured from revolutionists," "revolutionary prisoners," several street scenes, markets, and a new sewer system under construction. Interspersed among these are shots of military ships and men of the Solace out and about in Port au Prince. Although the entire album is quite interesting, these shots of Port au Price are of particular value for their documentation of conditions in the city and American activity there at the very beginning of what would turn out to be more nearly two decades of occupation. [From dealer description]
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