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December 26, 2011


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Great post, I recently posted on Abbott Thayer...artist, naturalist and "father of camouflage."


While living in Virginia years ago, stopping by your shop when visiting my sister in Georgetown was such a treat and adventure. Prints I purchased there still hang in my studio/office

Enjoying your blog, happy to have discovered it

John F. Ptak

Thanks very much for the rememberance and for the link to Thayer. I was thinking about him for the post but then it got away a bit; also he was a little outside the razzle part of what I was interested in, though there are of course examples of razzle camo in the natural world as well.


The photo you have on this blog page was taken in Union Square in New York City on July 11-12, 1918. It shows members of the Women’s Reserve Camouflage Corps, in the process of applying a brightly-colored “dazzle camouflage” scheme (which they designed) to the outer surface of the USS Recruit. This was not a functioning ship; it was a wooden recruiting station in the shape of a battleship. As described by Bessie Rowland James in For God, For Country, For Home (NY: G.P Putnam’s Sons, 1920), this proved to be an effective way of recruiting: “Tanks, ambulances, and trucks were camouflaged at the request of different branches of the Government to encourage recruiting, for wherever the [women] camoufleurs went in their uniforms, spreading their bright paints, a crowd was sure to gather.” James’ eyewitness description of this camouflage unit for women, along with other photographs and news reports, are included in a new anthology of writings about WWI ship camouflage, titled SHIP SHAPE: A Dazzle Camouflage Sourcebook, due out in early 2012.

John F. Ptak

Thanks very much for this piece of information-I hadn't any idea they were working on the Recuit. As a matter of fact I made a short post here about the Recruit about two years ago: http://longstreet.typepad.com/thesciencebookstore/2009/03/a-battleship-in-union-square-the-uss-recruit-1917-the-invention-of-the-word-landship.html
IF you look closely at the bottom picture you can see the work on the razzle beginning... AGAIN, THANKS so much for this assistance.

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