Where did such a big figurehead come from? A big ship? In this case, it was made for a relatively small vessel — The 88-foot schooner yacht Freedom. But yacht designer John G. Alden never intended Freedom to have a figurehead when she was built in 1931.
Just before World War II, the schooner was given to the U.S. Naval Academy to train midshipmen in sailing. One of Freedom's captains requested a figurehead, and the Academy's patternmaker, John M. Cook, made a big one. After a few years, it was removed to the Naval Academy Museum as it added 450 pounds to the bow and was vulnerable to damage.
"Midshipmen entered the Museum where the Freedom figurehead was and rubbed their hands on the large bosoms for luck. One Midshipman wrote his mother and told her what he did and the luck he had Apparently his mother didn't agree. She wrote the Admiral a letter and the Admiral's orders were, 'Move it.'" — From a 1984 letter by carver John M. Cook, describing Freedom's loan to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.