The large swift cruiser was given the name Columbia, and her remarkable speed and beautiful appearance have combined to make her the pride of the new navy and have won for her the popular appellation, "The Gem of the Ocean.'' The name bestowed upon her is in accordance with a law requiring vessels of her size to be named after states of the Union, the District of Columbia being regarded as a state for this purpose.
Bennett, Frank M.
"The Great Sea Race,"
Naval War College Review: Vol. 35
, Article 8.
Available at: http://digital-commons.usnwc.edu/nwc-review/vol35/iss2/8