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Ward collection of New York Shipbuilding Corporation material


Held at: Independence Seaport Museum, J. Welles Henderson Archives and Library [Contact Us]Penn's Landing on the Delaware River, 211 South Columbus Blvd. and Walnut St., Philadelphia, PA, 19106

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Independence Seaport Museum, J. Welles Henderson Archives and Library. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

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 instead. 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 US 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, both 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.

Merritt-Chapman & Scott, a marine salvage and construction firm, acquired NYS in 1953. The shipyard completed its last ship in 1967 and went out of business shortly thereafter.

The bulk of the collection appears to have been work-related materials used by John F. Ward, a New York Shipbuilding employee in the 1950s and 1960s. The collection includes material from 1919 to 1969, with the bulk of the material from the 1950s and 1960s. Much of the material covers technical and engineering aspects of work being performed at the shipyard, but also includes some items that many employees of the shipyard would have received, such as a 1959 "Rules of Safety" manual. The collection contains a number of publications, written histories, and clippings that detail the history of the shipyard at several times throughout its existence.

This collection is arranged into seven series: "Shipbuilding Contract Material," "New York Shipbuilding Publications," "Merritt-Chapman & Scott Publications," "Histories and Clippings regarding New York Shipbuilding," "US Navy Publications on Policies, Procedures, and Specifications," "Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company Materials," and "Other Publications."

"Shipbuilding Contract Material" includes correspondence regarding ship construction and publications featuring the USS Kitty Hawk and Nuclear Ship Savannah. It also includes lists of all New York Shipbuilding contracts as well as plans of the shipyard property. Related materials published by the Navy between 1939 and 1969 are included in the series "US Navy Publications on Policies, Procedures, and Specifications."

"New York Shipbuilding Publications" include yard newsletters from 1919 to 1921 and a single issue from 1959. The published marketing material includes several New York Shipbuilding histories, promotional brochures, annual reports -- these items, while not comprehensive, give a roughly once-a-decade view of how the company was marketing itself between the 1920s and 1960s. This information is supplemented by the material in the "Histories and Clippings Regarding New York Shipbuilding" series, which also contains vessel-specific information. The collection includes several shipyard reports, technical reports, and guidelines, including a 1919 "Information for Employees" booklet.

The collection includes several marketing items from Merritt-Chapman & Scott, a marine salvage and construction firm that acquired New York Shipbuilding in 1953.

The collection contains a small amount of material on the Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company of Chester, PA, as well as a handful of other publications, including a 1920 report, Delaware River Ship Builders' Council published by American Federation of Labor.

Gift of Clare Ward, 1998

The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources’ “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” Project.

This collection is minimally processed to the folder level.

Independence Seaport Museum, J. Welles Henderson Archives and Library
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Matt Herbison
Finding Aid Date
May 2010
The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources’ “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” Project.
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may apply. Please contact the Archives with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote or reproduce the material.

Collection Inventory

Contract lists, After 1967.
Box 1 Folder 1
Correspondence, 1954-1964.
Box 1 Folder 2
USS Kitty Hawk launching material, 1960.
Box 1 Folder 3
"Claim of New York Shipbuilding Corporation for equitable adjustment for increases in cost resulting from changes ordered by the Bureau of Ships in connection with construction of the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk", 1961 October.
Box 1 Folder 4
"Technical operation and economic report on the N.S. Savannah first year of experimental commercial operation", 1965-1966.
Box 1 Folder 5
"Delay in vessel delivery, DLG(N)35", 1967 August 11.
Box 1 Folder 6
Plans of shipyard, 1960s, undated.
Box 1 Folder 7

"York Ship News," Volume 1, 1919-1920.
Box 2 Folder 1
"York Ship News," Volume 2, 1920-1921.
Box 2 Folder 2
"York Ship News," Volume 3 (incomplete), 1921.
Box 2 Folder 3
"Shipways," Volume 2 Number 2, 1959.
Box 2 Folder 4
History and development of New York Shipbuilding Corporation, Reprint of American International Corporation Bulletin, 1920 June.
Box 2 Folder 5
New York Shipbuilding Corporation: Photographic impressions of the world's largest shipyard, 1921.
Box 2 Folder 6
New York Shipbuilding Corporation: A history and record, 1931.
Box 2 Folder 7
New York Shipbuilding president's address and history, published by Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, 1943.
Box 2 Folder 8
50 Years: New York Shipbuilding Corporation, 1949.
Box 2 Folder 9
Promotional brochure, after 1949.
Box 2 Folder 10
Annual report, 1958.
Box 2 Folder 11
Careers in shipbuilding, after 1960.
Box 2 Folder 12
Steel fabrication, circa 1960.
Box 2 Folder 13
Promotional report regarding off-shore platform drilling tender, undated.
Box 2 Folder 14
"Information for employees" booklet, 1919.
Box 3 Folder 1
"Distribution of costs: New York Shipbuilding Corporation", circa 1947.
Box 3 Folder 2
"Report of organization and yard conditions at New York Shipbuilding Corporation", 1951 February 9.
Box 3 Folder 3
"Manual of standard time study procedure", 1953 February 12.
Box 3 Folder 4
"Rules of safety", 1959.
Box 3 Folder 5
"A modern ten cubic yard dipper dredge," paper presented by Merville Willis, 1958 April 18.
Box 3 Folder 6
"Full scale closure test, Dresden nuclear power station pressure vessel", 1958 August 6.
Box 3 Folder 7
"Welding and allied processes", 1962-1965.
Box 3 Folder 8
"Naval nuclear engineering procedures (NNEP) 40-7 and 40-8", 1963.
Box 3 Folder 9

Black horse of the sea, by Robert D. MacMillen, 1929.
Box 3 Folder 10
Merritt-Chapman & Scott Corporation: Engineering construction on land and water front, marine salvage and heavy hoisting, 1946.
Box 4 Folder 1
Merritt-Chapman & Scott history and photograph album, after 1953.
Box 4 Folder 2
Merritt-Chapman & Scott Corporation annual report, 1962.
Box 4 Folder 3
Merritt-Chapman & Scott Corporation construction and marine services, circa 1966.
Box 4 Folder 4

Clippings, 1930-1966.
Box 4 Folder 5
"Shipbuilding in New Jersey" school bulletin, by Arthur M. Taylor, 1938 October 27.
Box 4 Folder 6
Histories of ships built at New York Shipbuilding, from Navy histories, 1950s - 1967.
Box 4 Folder 7

US Navy publication regarding naval vessels (461 pages), circa 1939.
Box 5 Folder 1
"Specifications for welding: Part 1, General", 1940 April.
Box 5 Folder 2
"Nomenclature of naval vessels", 1942 February.
Box 5 Folder 3
"Stage building and ship carpentry" (Bulletin 345-R) Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Public Instruction, 1943 February.
Box 5 Folder 4
"Shipyard welding workmanship, recommendations for welders and welding leadermen" (NAVCG 137), prepared by US Coast Guard, 1945 June.
Box 5 Folder 5
"Principles of naval engineering" (NAVPERS 10788), 1958.
Box 5 Folder 6
Rudiments of nuclear submarines, after 1959.
Box 5 Folder 7
"Training aid booklet - Volume 1, Piping, SS(N)593" (NAVSHIPS TAB - SS(N)593-1), 1960 December.
Box 5 Folder 8
"Fabrication, welding and inspection of HY-80 submarine hulls" (250-637-3), 1963.
Box 5 Folder 9
"Fabrication, welding and inspection of ship hulls" (NAVSHIPS 0900-000-1000), 1964 November 1.
Box 6 Folder 1
"Ultrasonic inspection procedures and acceptance standards: Hull structure production and repair welds" (NAVSHIPS 0900-009-3010), 1966 January.
Box 6 Folder 2
"Visual inspection of welds on reactor plant components" (NAVSHIPS 250-1500-1), 1966 August 5.
Box 6 Folder 3
"Fabrication, welding and inspection of ship hulls" (NAVSHIPS 0900-000-1000), 1967 March 1.
Box 6 Folder 4
"Navigation and vessel inspection circular" (NVC 7-68), 1968 October.
Box 6 Folder 5
"Military standard welded joint design" (MIL-STD-0022B (SHIPS)), 1969 May 8.
Box 6 Folder 6

"Our Yard" newsletters, 1964.
Box 6 Folder 7
Plan for Contract 529 (Tanker Pawcatuck, launched 1946 February 19), undated.
Box 6 Folder 8
"A new member of the aerospace team" promotional booklet, after 1969.
Box 6 Folder 9

"Delaware River Ship Builders' Council, Report," published by American Federation of Labor, 1920.
Box 6 Folder 10
"US Naval Institute Proceedings," Volume 88 Number 8, 1962.
Box 6 Folder 11
"American Merchant Marine: Hero in war, stepchild in peace," published by Committee of American Steamship Lines, 1966 May.
Box 6 Folder 12
"Marine Technology," Volume 4 Number 1, 1967 January.
Box 6 Folder 13

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