Papers of California Shipbuilding Corporation 1941-1976

i Jun 9th No Comments by
CalShip Log cover, September 1, 1941

The first bi-monthly issue of CalShip Log, September 1, 1941.

Los Angeles Maritime Museum Research Library Collection 75.

The collection contains 10.5 cubic feet of photographic prints and negatives, 17.75 linear feet of oversized photographic prints, and 3 cubic feet of documents.

Read the collection guide at Online Archive of California.

Description: California Shipbuilding Corporation built 467 Liberty and Victory ships for the U.S. Maritime Commission.

This collection contains documents, correspondence, personnel lists, publications, motion pictures, and photographs of ship launchings and activities and events at the shipyard. The photographic prints and negatives in the collection were created to publicize the ships in local media. CalShip Log, a bi-weekly magazine for employees was published by the firm from September 1941 to September 1945.

Biographical Notes: California Shipbuilding Corporation was created by the United States Maritime Commission as an emergency shipyard to build cargo and transport ships for World War II. The shipyard, built in January 1941, was located on Terminal Island, near Long Beach and San Pedro, California. The first ship was launched later that year on September 27th. Each completed ship was launched with pomp and circumstance. Each ship had a sponsor who christened the ship by breaking a champagne bottle over the bow. The sponsors ranged from employees to contest winners to film and radio stars.

The photographic collection includes a range of images and subjects: employees, managers and personnel, events, guests, sponsors, ship launches, ships underway, ships construction, and aerial photographs of the shipyard were featured. The photographic prints are 5” x 7” and form the bulk of the collection. Additionally, prints in large format (8” x 10” up to 16” x 20”) include thematic groups of images selected to illustrate company history and ships underway. Graphic posters were created to urge employees to maintain and use good on-the-job habits–a campaign to make CalShip a safe place to work.

Highlights include portraits of women whose acquired skills were once considered the domain of men, such as arc welding, portraits of sponsors, and those of managers, lend a personal side to the collection.

A selection of images from this collection can be viewed on this website at Online Exhibits.

Copyright Notice: Copyright restrictions may apply. See the copyright notice here.

Request Library Appointment: To view the collection in person, please make an appointment online.

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