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
Robert L. and Lydia A. Pollack traveled extensively on ocean liners during the 1940s through the 1960s. Robert L. Pollack met Lydia Aureli at the original International House which was located at 3905 Spruce Street while she was a student majoring in art and interior design at the Museum College of Art and he was majoring in chemistry at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science. After marrying, they were the parents of Janine and Linda Pollack.
The Pollacks traveled mainly on the French Lines, the Cunard Line, and the United States Lines. Some of the ships on which they sailed were the S.S. Flandre, the S.S. France, the S.S. Ile de France, the RMS Queen Elizabeth, the M.V. Georgic, the RMS Caronia, the John Ericcson, the S.S. United States, and the S.S. America.
The Cunard Line was established in 1839 by Samuel Cunard as the British and North American Steam Packet Company to carry the Royal Mail to Canada and the United States. Famous ships of the early Cunard Line include the Lusitania, the Mauretania, and the Carpathia, which recovered survivors from the Titanic. In 1922, the first ever World Cruise ship Laconia was launched, and in the 1930s, the Queen Mary, the Queen Elizabeth and the Mauretania 2 were launched. By the 1950s, the Cunard line carried “one third of all passengers crossing the Atlantic,” (Cunard Line). The Queen Elizabeth 2 was launched and made her maiden voyage during the 1960s. In 1971, the Cunard Steamship Company was taken over by Trafalger House PLC which was acquired by Kvaerner/ASA in 1996. In 1998, Cunard was purchased from Kvaerner by a Carnival Corporation consortium and is currently a member of World’s Leading Cruise Lines.
The French Lines included the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique, which was incorporated in 1855 as the Compagnie Générale Maritime by brothers Emile and Isaac Pereire. In 1861, the name was changed to Compagnie Générale Transatlantique and the location was established at Penhoët, near Saint-Nazaire in France. From 1897 to 1904, facing strong European competition the Companie Générale Transatlantique struggled to stay in business, and changed its focus from speed to quality of service. During World War I, the Line participated in the war effort by the “transformation of vessels into warships, hospital vessels and troopships,” (French Lines) and lost approximately one third of its fleet. World War II again brought about a change in operation and more than a third of the Line’s staff was drafted and the fleet was either chartered or requisitioned. The liner Flanders, at sea from 1952 to 1968, was intended for the West Indies Line, but was instead assigned to the New York Line. The liner France was active from 1962 to 1977, when the Compangie Générale Transatlantique and the Compagnie des Messageries Maritimes merged into a new company named Compagnie Générale Maritime.
The United States Lines was established after the United States Mail Steamship Company was taken over by the United States Shipping Board due to heavy losses in profits. In August 1932, the United States Lines built the Manhattan, its first ship that was designed to be a passenger ship. In 1933, the Washington was also launched. During World War II, the majority of ships were Army transport vessels or were sailed for the Navy. The S.S. United States, in 1952, was the “largest and fastest liner ever built in the United States,” (Maritime Matters). By 1969, the transatlantic cruise line demand had lessened as a result of air travel and the S.S. United States was withdrawn from service.
Cunard Line. http://www.cunard.com/images/Content/History.pdf
French Lines. http://www.frenchlines.com/histoire/histoire_cgt_dates_en.php
Maritime Matters. “United States Lines.” http://www.maritimematters.com/united-states- lines.html (accessed May 17, 2010).
The Pollack collection of ocean liner ephemera (1935-1967) consists largely of menus, but the collection also contains a variety of brochures, postcards, souvenir programs, deck plans, ship passenger lists, ocean liner newspapers, newspaper clippings, and luggage stamps from numerous ocean liners. The Pollack collection documents ocean liners within the United States Lines, the French Lines, and the Cunard Line. These ships include the SS Ile de France, SS Brazil, the MS John Ericcson (later known as the Kungsholm), the SS Washington, the MV Georgic, the RMS Queen Elizabeth, the RMS Caronia, the SS Flandre, the SS United States, the SS France, and the SS America. Materials in the collection range from 1935 to 1967, but every year in that span is not represented. The bulk of the material is from 1954, 1963, and 1967.
The collections menus are ornately decorated with either a site attraction for the destination of the ocean liner or artwork. The postcards document ships' features, especially cabins, bars, dining halls, pools, and other amenities. The ocean liners' newspapers are publications by the SS Brazil and the Cunard Line that give synopsis of world news events for passengers.
Researchers interested in the culture of ocean liner travel and the many interesting features of ocean liners from this period will find this collection to be of value. The collection also provides insight into the typical experience of passengers traveling in this fashion via menus and programs of activities. The collection also provides information on specific ocean liners, which, after the wars, were luxuriously refitted for this type of travel and recreation. This collection complements additional ocean liner materials held by the Independence Seaport Museum, including the Park collection of Ocean Liner Ephemera.
Gift of Gino Aureli in memory of Lydia Pollack, 1989.
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 was minimally processed in 2009-2011, as part of an experimental project conducted under the auspices of the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries to help eliminate processing backlog in Philadelphia repositories. A minimally processed collection is one processed at a less intensive rate than traditionally thought necessary to make a collection ready for use by researchers. When citing sources from this collection, researchers are advised to defer to folder titles provided in the finding aid rather than those provided on the physical folder.
Employing processing strategies outlined in Mark Greene's and Dennis Meissner's 2005 article, More Product, Less Process: Revamping Traditional Processing Approaches to Deal With Late 20th-Century Collections, the project team tested the limits of minimal processing on collections of all types and ages, in 23 Philadelphia area repositories. A primary goal of the project, the team processed at an average rate of 2-3 hours per linear foot of records, a fraction of the time ordinarily reserved for the arrangement and description of collections. Among other time saving strategies, the project team did not extensively review the content of the collections, replace acidic folders or complete any preservation work.
- America (Ship).
- Compagnie générale transatlantique.
- Cunard Line, ltd.
- France (Ship).
- Ile de France (Steamship).
- Queen Elizabeth (Ship).
- United States (Ship).
- United States Lines Company.
- Independence Seaport Museum, J. Welles Henderson Archives and Library
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Megan Good and Megan M. Atkinson
- Finding Aid Date
- 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 J. Welles Henderson Archives and Library with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote or reproduce the material.