USS Maine Commemorative Memorial Plaque

Accession number:
1998.01

Maker:
Charles Keck
(1875-1951)

Historical period:
1913

Miltary branch:

Wars and Conflicts:

Type:

Dimensions:
H x W: 13 in. / 17.5 in.

Acquisition date:
1998

Credit line:
Gift of Sumner K. Moore

Location:
,

Provenance:

1913: Cast from metal that had been salvaged from the USS Maine after it was raised in Havana harbor the previous year.

From ca. 1986-1998:
Naval Historical Center (redesignated as the Naval History and Heritage Command in 2008)

From 1998: The Army and Navy Club, gift of Commander Sumner Kittelle Moore, USN, Club member and great grandson of Rear Admiral Charles D. Sigsbee, USN (Captain of the USS Maine on February 5 1898).

Label:

Sent to protect U.S. interests during the Cuban revolt against Spain, USS Maine exploded suddenly and without warning on February 15, 1898, sinking quickly and killing nearly three quarters of her crew. The cause and responsibility for her sinking remained unclear after a board of inquiry investigated. Nevertheless, popular opinion in the U.S., fanned by inflammatory articles printed in the "yellow press" by William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, blamed Spain. The phrase, "Remember the Maine! To hell with Spain!", became a rallying cry for action, which came with the Spanish–American War later that year. While the sinking of Maine was not a direct cause for action, it served as a catalyst, accelerating the approach to a diplomatic impasse between the U.S. and Spain. The cause of Maine’s sinking remains the subject of speculation to this day.

This commemorative plaque was cast from metal that was salvaged from the Maine after it was raised in Havana harbor in 1912. Over one thousand are said to have been produced. It reads:

“USS Maine. Destroyed in Havana Harbor. February 15, 1898. This tablet is cast from metal recovered from the USS Maine.”