Wilma Parker’s The Amazing Grace, an oil painting that hung in an exhibition of a selection of the artist’s work at the Naval War College Museum from August to November 2010 (and which the author subsequently donated to the Naval War College Foundation). The painting commemorates the commissioning of USS Hopper (DDG 70) on 6 September 1997, to which the artist was invited. She found the ceremony an especially “joyous occasion,” she writes, as the ship had been named for Grace Hopper (1906–92), a pioneering computer scientist and “the incredible Rear Admiral . . . who computerized the Navy.” Rear Admiral Hopper famously invented the word “debugging,” on the occasion of actually removing a moth from within the early Harvard Mark I computer. The new destroyer, writes Parker, “is affectionately known as the ‘Amazing Grace,’ and it’s the joy of her achievement, expressed in the jaunty flags and good wishes on Commissioning Day, that I hoped to capture in this work.”
The Amazing Grace, 36 by59 inches, oil on linen, by Wilma Parker. Collection of the artist. Photograph courtesy of the Naval War College Museum.
Volume 64, Number 1