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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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U.S.S. Kentucky: 1900

U.S.S. Kentucky: 1900

Circa 1900. "U.S.S. Kentucky -- quarter deck and after gun turrets." 8x10 inch glass negative by Edward Hart, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

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Eyeball liberty

What caught my eye was the sailor in the upper left of this image getting a bit of what we called "Eyeball Liberty." I spent many a duty day in may ports across the world in just that posture. Good to see that activity has deep roots, that I am sure go back thousands of years for many a sailor stuck on the boat, and wanting to be ashore.

Hollywood Magic

Brent, I think it is safe to say that Eleanor Powell is dancing on a Hollywood set, not a real battleship. Pay no attention to the set's gun layout.

Fore and Aft

As noted by several sharp-eyed commenters, the photo shows the aft turret. The negative bears two contradictory labels, the bottom one used by the Library of Congress.


The guns in the photo with Eleanor Powell aren't the same as the ones on the Kentucky, as near as I can tell; I don't think I've ever seen the movie. The guns on the Kentucky were a main battery of two 13" guns on the bottom and a secondary battery of two 8" guns physically on top of the gun hosing of the 13" guns. The guns in the photo with Eleanor Powell are two sets of guns of the same size in "turrets" one behind the other as was standard in US Navy ships.

What's of interest to me in the Eleanor Powell photo is that there appears to be one turret of three guns in front of one turret of two. What I can't tell is whether the rear battery actually has two guns or whether there are two three gun turrets and the center gun of the rear turret is hidden by the center gun of the forward battery. There was only one class of US battleships with the "three & two" arrangement and that was the Nevada class.

The evil that men do?

I've heard of Satan's Army, but Satan's Navy? If you look at the barrel caps on the guns, all the stars are upside down; it's the same configuration that devil worshippers use in drawing a pentagram.

[The inverted star has a long history of use in U.S. military emblems and insignia; for example, the Navy Medal of Honor, a design dating from 1862. - tterrace]

Had my father and uncles known this, they never would have joined the US Military in WWII. :-) My grandfather (a Baptist minister) would have cringed at the thought.

Re: Good enough for Hollywood

When I saw your photo, I thought it was a clip from "The Producers." That scene was (obviously stolen by Mel Brooks) right out of "Springtime For Hitler"! Oops! Hope I didn't inadvertently trigger Godwin's Law!

Good enough for Hollywood

This gun turret arrangement may not have worked well at sea, but it suited Hollywood just fine. Here's Eleanor Powell in the Warner Brothers musical "Born to Dance," 1936. Of course, since it was Hollywood, someone must have said,"If four guns look good, more guns will look even better!"


There is a very good chance that this photo was taken just prior to the first cruise of the Kentucky. Notice how everything is really spiffed up.Kentucky BB-6 & Kearsarge BB-5 were launched in 1898
BB-6 was laid down by Newport News, Shipbuilding, Newport News, VA., on June 30 1896, Launched March 24 1898, Commissioned May 15 1900

Doesn't quite show

It doesn't quite show on this photograph but these two turrets are arranged like a wedding cake, a not so successful design according to the Wikipedia article.

The Great White Fleet

included The Kentucky. Seeing a battleship is a special memory, but viewing 16 of them must have left people with mouths open.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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