Larkin, Joseph F.

Joseph F. Larkin papers, 1953–1999.
1 box, plus 1 oversize folder (0.2 linear feet).
About Joseph F. Larkin

Joseph F. Larkin was a collector of materials realted to SS United States, and the designer of a model of the ocean liner. His model was featured in a 1953 issue of Popular Mechanics. SS United States (also known as “The Big U”) is an ocean liner built in 1952 for the United States Lines. At 53,329 gross tons, she is the largest ocean liner to date built entirely in the United States and still holds the record for the fastest westbound transatlantic crossing. In 1952, on her maiden voyage as the new flagship of the United States Lines, the United States captured the Blue Riband with the fastest eastbound and westbound transatlantic crossings on record. The entry of the United States marked the first time a U.S.-flagged ship held the Blue Riband, surpassing European speed records which had stood for decades. The United States lost the eastbound record in 1990, but still holds the westbound record. The United States plied the transatlantic with passenger service until 1969. The ship is currently docked in Philadelphia.

About the collection

This is a collection of papers of Joseph Larkin related to SS United States. Materials include: correspondence from the public relations department of the United States Lines company, related to Larkin’s model of SS United States and a visit made by the Larkin family to the ship; a photo of the Larkin family with Commodore Anderson during their 1954 visit to the ship; photographs of Larkin working on a model of SS United States, 1953; and an issue of Popular Mechanics, Jan. 1953, featuring part two of an article on building a 36″ model of SS United States; plans for a model of SS United States; and a plan for the rowboat Snuffy. Memorabilia in the collection includes: a brochure; a menu; paper napkins; envelopes; postcards; visitor’s pass; a news release listing notable passengers on a 1954 sailing; and a Westinghouse brochure featuring an image of SS United States on the cover. Other items in the collection include: a copy of The Superliner United States, Rand McNally, 1953; newspaper clippings, 1991-1999, about efforts to refurbish SS United States; and a handwritten address by Larkin about his model of and visit to the ship, 1996.

  • Ocean liners
  • United States Lines Company
  • United States (Steamship)
Types of material
  • Clippings
  • Ephemera
  • Photographs
  • Ships plans
Reference files
  • Blue Riband (?)
  • Passenger Ships
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