New York Shipbuilding Corporation (ISM collection)

Independent Seaport Museum collection on New York Shipbuilding Corporation, 1919–1964.
4 boxes, 1 volume, and 1 flat box (1.5 linear feet).
Abstract

The New York Shipbuilding Corporation (NYS) was founded in 1899 by Henry G. Morse (1850-1903), who served as the company’s first president. The company held significant government contracts during both World Wars, and built ships for the United States Navy, Coast Guard, and Emergency Fleet Corporation as well as the Department of Commerce and Labor. During the 1930s, the company built luxury ocean liners, such as the Manhattan and the Washington for the United States Lines, and also built ships for Pennsylvania Railroad, Reading Railroad, Standard Oil and American Export Lines. During its tenure, the New York Shipbuilding Corporation constructed over 500 ships. NYS completed its last ship in 1967 and went out of business shortly thereafter. The collection houses small caches of documentation relating to the history and operations of the New York Shipbuilding Corporation from 1919 to 1964. Of note, is an oversized scrapbook of newspaper clippings about the New York Shipbuilding Corporation and files containing information on specific ships. Ships covered are: The Nuclear Ship Savannah, USS Arkansas, USS Camden, USS Kitty Hawk, USS Truxtun and the USS Utah.

About New York Shipbuilding Corporation

The New York Shipbuilding Corporation (NYS) was founded in 1899 by Henry G. Morse (1850-1903), who served as the company’s first president. The name reflects its originally intended location on Staten Island; although the name was already incorporated, land was cheaper in Camden, New Jersey, so Morse built the shipyard there. According to the history of the first fifty years of the New York Shipbuilding Corporation, “at the outset, it was decided to break away from the old century’s accepted practices of ship building and build a yard in which could be applied the most up-to-date labor-saving machinery and advanced methods of structural steel construction,” (NYS, page 11). As a result, “a revolutionary idea of connecting all the parts of the yard with overhead cranes, making the transportation of materials significantly easier,” (ELSLAW) was implemented. During its tenure, the New York Shipbuilding Corporation constructed over 500 ships.

The company held significant government contracts during both World Wars, and built ships for the U. S. Navy, the Coast Guard, the Emergency Fleet Corporation and the Department of Commerce and Labor. However, NYS did not rely only on governmental commissions. During the 1930s the company was responsible for the completion of luxury ocean liners, such as the Manhattan and the Washington of the United States Lines, and also built ships for Pennsylvania Railroad, Reading Railroad, Standard Oil and American Export Lines. In addition to American contracts, some notable commissions came from international clients. NYS built a battleship for Argentina, a fuel ship for Japan, and a Protected Cruiser for Greece.

NYS completed its last ship in 1967 and went out of business shortly thereafter.

About the collection

The collection houses small caches of documentation relating to the history and operations of the New York Shipbuilding Corporation from 1919 to 1964. In particular, there are two books of inventories of measured drawings or blueprints that date from 1940 to 1941 (the blueprints themselves are not included); papers related to company contracts from 1944 and 1964; and minimal information pertaining to shipyard employees and unions. There is an inventory for the USNX (United States Department of Defense – Military Traffic Management Command) facility and two inventories related to fuel consumption. There are also a handful of publications, including two that discuss the history of the corporation. Of note, is an oversized scrapbook of newspaper clippings about the New York Shipbuilding Corporation and files containing information on specific ships. Ship information is typically provided in a few brochures or pamphlets. Ships covered are: The Nuclear Ship Savannah, USS Arkansas, USS Camden, USS Kitty Hawk, USS Truxtun and USS Utah.

Finally, there are a few files on shipyard layout and ship design, and work and purchase orders.

Please review the collection inventory for more details.

Subjects
  • New York Shipbuilding Corporation
  • Camden (N.J.)
  • Arkansas (Battleship)
  • Kitty Hawk (Aircraft carrier)
  • Savannah (Nuclear ship)
  • Shipbuilding
  • Shipbuilding industry
  • Shipyards
  • Truxton (Ship)
  • Utah (Ship)
Types of material
  • Business records
  • Clippings
  • Contracts
  • Employees’ manuals
  • Publications
Related collections
  • Independence Seaport Museum: New York Shipbuilding Corporation records, 1895-1967 (1967.310)
  • Ward Collection of New York Shipbuilding Corporation materials, 1919-1967
  • Other materials are available at Hagley Museum and Library
  • Camden County Historical Society
  • South Jersey Port Corporation.
Reference files
  • New York Shipbuilding
  • NS Savannah
This entry was posted in Aircraft Carriers, Battleships, Destroyers, Large Vessel Builders, Shipbuilding and Shipyards, Tankers and Cargo Vessels. Bookmark the permalink.

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