Saturday, July 9, 2011
Rare poster - The Success at Pittsburgh, 1919
One of the benefits of giving talks on the Success is the many wonderful people you meet and the stories they have to tell. After my talk for the Port Clinton Museum here a week ago today, Dave, one of the folks who came to watch approached me holding a large framed picture. When I saw it I almost did a back flip! (Which would be practically a physical impossibility at my age, but I digress.) The picture in the frame was actually an original posted on thick poster board adverting the appearance of the Success in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, when the ship was there in 1919. Dave had bought it off an antique dealer friend of his some 25 years ago here in northern Ohio. Dave was kind enough to let me come out to his house this past week and photograph it.
Part of what makes the poster so unique is that it shows how the manager of the ship cleverly adapted the ship's exhibition to the current place and time. As the poster indicates, the ship was also doing duty at that time as a 'U.S. Marine Recruiting Station' and that the showing of the ship was a 'Benefit for the Fatherless Children of France.' This was a brilliant strategy, meant to dispel any suggestion that the exhibition was intended to exploit the people in time of war. This strategy was employed to good effect during the war years, 1917 through 1919, while the ship was touring the inland rivers.
Dave and I spent a most pleasant afternoon talking about the Success, but also (and mostly) about the Civil War. His personal collection of Civil War memorabilia was most impressive. Mostly, though, I felt as though I'd found a friend, and that's worth far more than any musket, or poster.