Artifact Spotlight: Mayflower Ship's Telescope, c. 1896

---John Pentangelo, Curator/Registrar

This ship’s telescope once belonged to the yacht Mayflower. Originally built for owner Ogden Goelet in 1896. Goelet acquired the telescope at Pascall Atkey & Sons, a yacht chandlery located in Cowes, Isle of Wight, where he sailed the yacht on occasion. Upon Goelet's untimely death in 1897, the vessel was sold to the Navy at which time the telescope was undoubtably removed by the family. After serving in the Spanish American War, the vessel eventually became a presidential yacht. Mayflower (PY-1), then under the command of NWC alum and future faculty member Cameron McRae Winslow, was used by President Theodore Roosevelt during negotiations to end the Russo-Japanese War in 1905. He also used the yacht when he visited the Naval War College to chair the 22 July session of the 1908 Battleship Conference.

Roosevelt ordered the General Board to convene a joint conference with the Naval War College to study the designs of the latest all-big gun battleships USS Delaware (BB-28) and USS North Dakota (BB-29) and make recommendations for the next class of ships, starting with USS Utah and USS Florida. In the photograph below Rear Admiral John P. Merrell, President of the Naval War College (right), and Commander William S. Sims, the president’s naval aide (left), welcome President Roosevelt as he steps ashore at the Coasters Harbor Island pier from the Mayflower's barge.


Gift of Mr. Robert Goelet to the Naval War College                                        1979.17.01

Images courtesy of the Naval War College Museum


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