With the Battle Fleet: Cruise of the Sixteen Battleships of the United States Atlantic Fleet from Hampton Roads to the Golden Gate, December, 1907—May, 1908.

p. 103, on the bluejackets in Rio: The first thing that greeted the eye of every man who landed at the beautiful park that used to be an eyesore in the central part of the waterfront was a big sign reading : "Information Bureau for American Seamen." It was an information bureau, a real one. It was the most useful kind of a welcome ever provided in a foreign port for the sailors of any people. The American and English residents, aided by those of other countries, had been busy preparing for weeks for the visit of Jack ashore. Every safeguard, every assistance that was possible to make his liberty comfortable, profitable, enjoyable was looked after. It took hard cash to do it, but the money was raised and it amounted to thousands of dollars. In the first place, the ferry company to Nictheroy set apart a large room in its commodious new building. Counters were put up for information booths, postal card booths, exchange of money, sale of various kinds of tickets for things with guides by the score and attendants anxious to answer all kinds of questions. Men and women worked there from twelve to fourteen hours a day for ten days in the stifling heat, all eager to be of assistance to Jack ashore. A pamphlet was provided giving a map of the city and displaying all the chief places of interest. Full information was printed about everything that a man bent on rational enjoyment could desire. The pamphlets told all about transportation, about the places to see, about postage and the many general and special excursions that had been planned.

p. 197: Whatever may have been the motive that impelled President Roosevelt to send this fleet on its long journey to the Pacific — whether it was to dare Japan to resent it or to serve notice on that nation to be good; whether it was for political effect on the Pacific Coast in the hope of rounding up delegates for some one candidate for President or electing some man United States Senator; whether it was in accord with some suggestion perhaps that Secretary Root made in his trip to South America; whether it was simply a desire to be spectacular; whether it was a sincere belief that the navy needed just such a cruise to fit it for its best work and the Pacific was as much entitled to see how it could be protected as the Atlantic; whether it was for any or all of these, and all have been suggested in print —whatever it was, let this be said as to the unexpected and to some extent unforeseen advantages that have resulted: The Monroe Doctrine is today more of a living, vital thing with the nations of South America because of the cruise of this fleet than it has ever been since President Monroe penned its words.

p. 301-03: Take the libraries nowadays. There are two of them on every ship, the ship’s library and the crew’s library. The officers use the ship’s library. It is scattered about the officers’ quarters in various cases some in the wardroom, some in the Captain’s or Admiral’s quarters, some in the steerage. There are about thirty classifications, dealing with history, travel, adventure, poetry, a limited amount of fiction and so on. The crew’s library is three times larger. There is a great deal of history and travel and adventures and some science in it, but the larger part is made up0 of as good fiction as the English language provides. The classic authors are represented, but a large amount of the newer fiction is also represented. You find Kipling, Anthony Hope, E.W. Hornung, W.W. Jacobs, Jack London, Weir Mitchell, Booth Tarkington, S.J. Walong with Bret Harte, Mark Twain, R.L. Stevenson, Scott, Thackeray, Charles Reade, Washington Irving, Bulwer-Lytton and so on.

And the men read these books! Far into the night you will come across some youngsters whose hammock is near a light and who cannot sleep straining his eyes in reading some book. At any time when the smoking lamp is lit and the men have knocked off work if you walk through the ship you will probably find 150 men reading books. Their association with the best fiction and best history is constant. They discuss these books and they get a fund of information that no other grade of men in a factory receive.

And how was it in the old days? Melville tells about it in his “White Jacket,” the book that relates to the old frigate United States in 1843. He says:

"There was a public library on board paid for by Government and entrusted to the custody of one of the marine corporals, a little, dried up man of a somewhat literary turn. He had once been a clerk in a post office ashore, and having been long accustomed to hand over letters when called for he was now just the man to hand over books . He kept them in a large cask on the berth deck, and when seeking a particular volume had to capsize it like a barrel of potatoes. This made him very cross and irritable, as most all librarians are. Who had the selection of these books I do not know, but some of them must have been selected by our chaplain, who so pranced on Coleridge’s ‘High German Horse.’"

"Mason Good’s ‘ Book of Nature,’ a very good book, to be sure, but not precisely adapted to literary tastes, was one of these volumes; and Macchiavelli’s ‘Art of War,’ which was very dry fighting; and a folio of Tillotson’s sermons, the best of reading for divines indeed, but with little relish for a main top man; and Locke’s Essays, incomparable essays, everybody knows, but miserable reading at sea; and Plutarch’s Lives — superexcellent biographies, which pit Greek against Roman in beautiful style, but then, in a sailor’s estimation, not to be mentioned with the lives of the Admirals; and Blair’s Lectures, University Edition, a fine treatise on rhetoric, but having nothing to say about nautical phrases, such as ‘splicing the main brace,’ ‘passing a gammoning,’ ‘puddin’ing the dolphin,’ and ‘making a carrick-bend,’ besides numerous invaluable but unreadable tomes that might have been purchased cheap at the auction of some college professor’s library."

[White Jacket, citation?]