Here is a most interesting ditty box once owned by an American sailor, G.J. Rodemick of the USS Maryland, who apparently also served on the Constellation. The owner’s name is confirmed by a brass plate on the lid of the box which states ,’G.J. Rodemick USS Maryland 06.U.S.N. 10’. We have been told that the muster roll of the crew of the USS Maryland states that his rank was Ordinary Seaman to Seaman. He enlisted 1 June, 1906 at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and served until 8 March, 1910. The exterior of the box is of a plain darkened timber with fine dovetailing at the four corners. Inside the box there is incorporated a drop down writing slope in the lid and a tray with space for an inkwell (included but partly broken) and tools above a deep lower compartment. Below the top tray, Mr Rodemick's box holds The Petty Officer's Drill Book United States Navy 1902, another book, The Young Sailor’s Assistant (1883) which features many instructions on etiquette, knot-tying, parts of a boat etc, a leather pouch with belt strap marked USN 1902, a blank The Excelsior Diary 1898 with a calendar and general information including “Help in Case of Accidents” which deals with such catastrophes as cinders in the eye, stings of venomous insects, lightening and suffocating from inhaling illuminating gas! There is also a sewing kit “The Army and Navy Needle Book, Maryland”, a knife marked Maryland (plus a mark for the Mexican maker), a card case, and a small canvas bag. There are also three cabinet cards; one of the ship on which he presumably served, a photograph of Admiral WM.T. Sampson and the third image is presumably the owner with the cabinet card photographed by United States Portrait Co., Brooklyn NY. The overall condition is good for age but most items bear signs of expected wear and tear. This is a fascinating item of historical interest and a testament to the pieces treasured and favoured by a seaman of the late 19th – early 20th century.
Width 14 ins (35.6cm) x 10 ins (25.4cm) x 9 ins (22.8cm). Weight 5920 grams. This item appears in my book, “Antique Boxes, Inside and Out” on page 203. Air Mail Post with tracking to the USA would be $75.00 USD - with no tracking is cheaper. This item is covered by our own insurance policy. For shipping cost to other countries, please contact us.
Remarkable US Navy Ditty Box with Fascinating Contents, late 19th–early 20th Century
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