1904 – Two cabinet card photographs of a wrecking steamer’s crew including its deep-sea diver.
Sparrows Point, Md: 1904. Card. Two photographs: one measuring approximately 7” x 4½“, the other 4½” x 6¾”. Both are mounted on cabinet cards measuring 8” x 10”. The photographs are in nice shape, just a tad overexposed. The cards are dirty and stained with edgewear; the upper left corner of one is missing.
One photo shows a deep-sea diver dressed-in without his helmet standing on the deck of a ship. The other show’s the ship’s crew six including the dressed-in diver holding his helmet.
There are no notes on the reverse of the card showing the entire crew. Ink annotations on the rear of the card showing only the diver read:
“Wm. Gammon Sr.” (presumably the diver)
“Wrecking Steamer Breakwater”
“Sparrows Point Md”
“Diving for tug boat Gearny”
“May 24 1904 approx.”
A later pencil ‘ownership’ annotation in a different hand reads: “Gammon, Mr. Rich [presumably a descendant] / 105-C Mt Ephraim Avenue / Mt. Ephraim, N.J./236-636”. Good to Very Good. Item #009956
A half-dozen-or-so online newspaper articles written between 1907 and 1911 identify the ship as having been owned by the “Breakwater Company of Philadelphia.” It operated primarily within the Chesapeake Bay area and raised sunken barges, tug boats and other craft in the bay, at the Baltimore harbor, and even rescued a yacht stranded in open ocean off Greens Run, Virginia.
Scarce. At the time of listing, no similar photographs are for sale in the trade, nor are any auctions listed a the Rare Book Hub. Worthpoint show sales of several diver post cards (only one was a real photo post card) at eBay. While OCLC shows several digital diver images are held by institutions, only one (in Australia) has physical photographs (two) in its collection.